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Yoshitaka Kuroda

Kuroda Yoshitaka (黒田孝高, December 22, 1546 – 1604), other name Kuroda Kanbei (黒田官兵衛), was a Japanese daimyo of the late Sengoku through early Edo periods. Renowned as a man of great ambition, he was a chief strategist under Toyotomi Hideyoshi.


Early life

Kuroda Yoshitaka was born in Himeji on December 22, 1546, the son of Kuroda Mototaka. The Kuroda clan are believed to have originated in Ōmi Province. Yoshitaka's grandfather Shigetaka brought the family to Himeji and took up residence at Otsuki Castle (御着城), east of Himeji Castle.

Shigetaka served as a senior retainer of Kodera Masamoto, the lord of Himeji, and was so highly praised that Shigetaka's son Mototaka was allowed to marry Masamoto's adopted daughter and to use the Kodera name.

Maturity and career

Yoshitaka succeeded to the family headship in 1567. A few years later, with Toyotomi Hideyoshi spearheading the Oda clan's advance into the Chugoku region, he pledged loyalty to the Oda. Yoshitaka, together with the sickly Takenaka Hanbei, served as Hideyoshi's strategists and assisted in the campaign against the Mōri clan.

Shortly before 1587, Yoshitaka was ordered by Toyotomi Hideyoshi to lead an attack into Kyushu. Along with him was the famous Christian daimyo Takayama Ukon. After seeing the thriving Christian population of Kyushu and under Ukon's influence, Yoshitaka was baptized with the name ドン・シメオン (Dom Simeão = Don Simeon). After a visit to the Jesuit-controlled port of Nagasaki, Toyotomi Hideyoshi became fearful of the powerful influence that Jesuits and the Christian daimyos wielded and in 1587 made his famous edict that expelled foreign missionaries and ordered all the Christian samurai under his rule to abandon their faith. While Takayama Ukon resisted the edict and lost his fief, Yoshitaka shrewdly gave up his new religion and adopted a monk's habit calling himself (如水) Josui. His most prominent act during his short time as a Christian was his arrangement to save a Jesuit mission from Bungo when the Christian daimyo of that province, Otomo Sorin, was under attack from the Shimazu clan.

Later life

Yoshitaka made an attempt to conquer the region of Kyūshū during the Battle of Sekigahara, but this ended up in failure. After his son Nagamasa succeeded him, Yoshitaka died in 1604.

Kuroda Yoshitaka in fiction

See People of the Sengoku period in popular culture for more information on Kuroda Yoshitaka .

External links

Further reading

  • Andō Hideo 安藤英男. Shiden Kuroda Josui 史伝黒田如水. Tokyo: Nichibō Shuppansha, 1975.
  • Harada Tanemasa 原田種眞. Kuroda Josui 黒田如水. Tokyo: Benseisha 勉誠社, 1996.
  • Kaneko Kentarō 金子堅太郎. Kuroda Josui den 黒田如水伝. Tokyo: Bunken Shuppan 文献出版, 1976.
  • Motoyama Kazuki 本山一城. Jitsuroku Takenaka Hanbei to Kuroda Kanbei 実錄竹中半兵衛と黒田官兵衛. Tokyo: Murata Shoten 村田書店, 1988.
  • Yoshikawa, Eiji. (1989) Yoshikawa Eiji Rekishi Jidai Bunko (Eiji Yoshikawa's Historical Fiction), Vol. 44: Kuroda Yoshitaka (黒田如水). Tokyo: Kodansha. 10-ISBN 4-0619-6577-8; 13-ISBN 978-4-0619-6577-5

See also

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