Kikuchi clan (菊池氏)

The Kikuchi clan is one of Japanese clans. The principal family lines are as follows.

For the Higo-Kikuchi clan of the Fujiwara (Kukuchi) family, a family in Higo Province, refer to this section.

For the Hoki Kikuchi clan, local samurai lord in Hoki Province, refer to the 'Kikuchi clan' (Hoki Province).

The Tono Kikuchi clan, a family settled in Mutsu Province, belonged to the Higo Kikuchi clan.

The Hitachi Kikuchi clan, a family settled in Hitachi Province, belonged to the Higo Kikuchi clan.

The Bizen Kikuchi clan, a family settled in Bizen Province, belonged to the Higo Kikuchi clan.

The Kikuchi clan was a family settled in Kikuchi Country, Higo Province (Kikuchi City, Kumamoto Prefecture) as its home base.

Higo Kikuchi clan

The Kikuchi clan proclaimed itself that the family originated from that FUJIWARA no Noritaka, the grandson of FUJIWARA no Takaie of Fujiwara-hokke, Dazai no gon no sochi, who came down to Higo Province and settled himself there. However, in his study on the diaries left by nobles and The Tale of Genji, Masakazu SHIKATA found that Noritaka's father, FUJIWARA no Masanori, who was Dazai no shoni (junior assistant governor of Dazaifu, local government office in Kyushu region) under FUJIWARA no Takaie, was mentioned as a resident of Higo Province, and on this finding, Shikata presented a theory that the family was settled in the vicinity of Kikuchi around 1070, during the generations of Masanori and Noritaka, and since then, this is considered as a theory with high credibility.

Genpei Teiritsu (the Minamoto clan and the Taira clan confrontation) era
All the families belonging to the local ruling class in Japan in the Insei period (the period of the government by a retired emperor) tried to extend their influence as warriors of the retired emperors, receiving the protection from those powerful figures in the center by donating them their estates. It can be assumed that the Kikuchi clan was not an exception based on the record in which the fourth head, Tsunemune KIKKUCHI, and the fifth head, Tsunenao KIKUCHI, were registered as the warriors of the Retired Emperor Toba. By that time, it was known that some members of the Kikuchi family began to call themselves by the local land names, and the family gradually established its position and extended its influence as a local potential in Higo Province.

After the rise of the Taira family, TAIRA no Kiyomori, who was enthusiastic about the trade between Japan and the Sung Dynasty in China took the post of the Governor of Higo Province, thus the Taira family's controlling over Higo Province was strengthened. The Kikuchi clan became a retainer of the Taira family, however, when MINAMOTO no Yoritomo raised an army, the following sixth head, Takanao KIKUCHI opened up the Yowa War against the Taira family. The following year, Takanao surrendered the army of TAIRA no Sadayoshi which was for searching and killing him, and he took part in the Genpei War as a retainer of the Taira family, but during the Battle of Dannoura, he changed sides to the Seiwa Genji of the Minamoto clan and became its gokenin (an immediate vassal of the shogunate in the Kamakura and Muromachi through Edo Periods). His inconstancy between the Minamoto clan and the Taira clan caused Yoritomo's distrust, and he was granted a reward far less than those of the Shoni clan, the Otomo clan and the Shimazu clan, which were appointed Shugo (provincial governors), and on the contrary, Takanao came to be checked by the gokenin from Kanto provinces, who were placed around his home base.

Kamakura Period
The eighth head, Takayoshi KIKUCHI was reduced his territory by Yoshitoki HOJO, since he supported the Retired Emperor Gotoba side in the Jokyu War. After the War, the Kamakura bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun) set up Chinzei tandai (office of the military governor of Kyushu) to control the western region. The 10th head, Takefusa KIKUCHI was called from the Kamakura bakufu to be Hakata to participate in Bunei War and Koan War, and fought against the army of Yuan leading the whole family and defeated the enemy.

The Kikuchi clan, who was originally keeping a certain distance between the powers of Minamoto clan and the Taira clan, showing its spirit as a leading local potentials, however, as the Kamakura bakufu's decline became visible, the clan strengthened the relation with the Imperial Court. The 12th head, Taketoki KIKUCHI responded to the rinji (Imperial command) of the Emperor Godaigo, he attacked Chinzei tandai (office of the military governor of Kyushu) of Hidetoki HOJO in Hakata, with Korenori ASO, Sadatsune SHONI and Sadamune Otomo, but he was betrayed by Sadatsune and Sadamune, and died in battle within the premise of Chinzei tandai after fighting bravely.

Taketoki's will was succeeded by his legitimate son, the 13th head Takeshige KIKUCHI, and Takeshige was appointed to Shugo of Higo Province due to Masashige KUSUNOKI's recommendation, after the Kenmu Restoration was established. As Taketoki's distinguished service was highly appreciated, his illegitimate sons such as Takeshige KIKUCHI, Takezumi KIKUCHI and Taketoshi KIKUCHI were also awarded with certain positions.

Period of the Northern and Southern Court
When Takauji ASHIKAGA stepped aside from the Kenmu Restoration and turned against the government, Takeshige, who closely served the Emperor Godaigo, fought numerous battles all over Japan. When Takeshige was fitting in Kanto region, Takeshige's younger brother, Taketoshi KIKUCHIT attacked Sadatsune SHONI at Dazaifu (local government office in Kyushu region) and killed him, while Sadatsune's son, Yorinao SHONI, was in present Shimonoseki City to meet Takauji, who fled from Kyoto and sought refuge in Kyushu.

The encouraged Taketoshi, fought against the Ashikaga side, in the Battle of Tatarahama with Korenori ASO, Tanemichi AKIZUKI, Takehisa HASUIKE, Ieyoshi HOSHINO and others, but lost the fight and withdrew to Kikuchi. When Takauji invaded Kyoto with his troops, Taketoshi again raised an army against the Ashikaga side, and Takeshige who had escaped from Kyoto, returned back to the clan's home base and fought against Yoriuji ISSHIKI and Yorinao SHONI of the Ashikaga side. After that, Kyushu was also gradually involved in the disturbance in the Period of the Northern and Southern Courts (Japan).

After the deaths of Takeshige and his brother Taketoshi, the Kikuchi clan's influence was stagnated, however, at the same time, the Imperial Prince Kanenaga, the son of the Emperor Godaigo who established the Southern Court (Japan) in Yoshino and moved there, came down to Kyushu as Seisei shogun (literally, "great general who subdues the western barbarians"). The Imperial Prince Kanenaga, who stopped over in Iyo Province on his way, landed on Satsumataniyama accompanied by Sadayasu UTSUNOMIYA, arrived at Udo of Higo Province from the sea and he was welcomed by the 15th head, Takemitsu KIKUCHI. The Imperial Prince Kanenaga entered Waifu-jo Castle (Kikuchi-jo Castle) via Korenori ASO's home base, Mifune.

Around that time, the confrontation between Takauji and his younger brother, Naoyoshi ASHIKAGA was intensified, and as Naoyoshi's adopted son, Tadafuyu ASHIKAGA came down to Kyushu, the Kyushu was divided into three powers. There was a three-way deadlock for a while, but Tadafuyu left Kyushu due to Naoyoshi's falling, the Imperial Prince Kanenaga, who extended his influence, conquered Dazaifu with the support of the members of the Kikuchi clan, such as Takemitsu, Takemasa (the 16th head) and Takezumi. Afterward, Seiseifu fortress was placed in Dazaifu and functioned as a public institution for a while, but Ryoshun IMAGAWA defeated Takemitsu and gripped the control over Kyushu. The 17th head, Taketomo KIKUCHI, secured his position as Shugo of Higo Province, and reconciled with Ryoshun, with Koremasa ASO, and thereafter the warring state came to be stabilized.

Muromachi Period, Sengoku Period, and the end
From around the time of the 19th head, Mochitomo KIKUCHI, the clan began to have conflicts with in the Kikuchi clan about its family estate, and Tamemitsu UDO, the younger brother of the 20th head, Tamekuni KIKUCHI and the adoptive son of the Udo clan, raised an army against the 21st head, Shigetomo KIKUCHI, who was his own nephew, and although he was once lost, after Shigetomo's death he again rose in revolt. The 22nd head, Yoshiyuki KIKUCHI, who fled from Tamemitsu, escaped to Shimabara via Tamana, seeking refuge with the Arima clan, and in cooperation with Shigemine JO (城重岑) and Yukiharu KUMABE and others, he made Tanemitsu to kill himself. Although Yoshiyuki won the battle, he died of wounds at the age of only 23, and after that, the family head of the Kikuchi clan came to be taken over by the heirs produced from branch families, and finally the Kikuchi clan was snatched its family estate by the Aso clan and the Otomo clan, and the the Kikuchi clan was died out.

it is said that after Yoshiyuki's death, Kyushu underwent an agitated period of gekokujo (the revolt of vassals against their lords), then entered the Sengoku Period (Period of Warring States) (Japan), and the posthumous territories of the Kikuchi clan was divisively owned by the so called 'three chief retainers of Kikuchi,' the Akaboshi clan, the Jo clan, the Kumabe clan, etc.

During the Period of the Northern and Southern Courts, the Kikuchi clan supported the Southern Court of the Emperor Godaigo. In the Period of the Northern and Southern Courts, in which the Kyoto Court (Northern Court [Japan]) and Yoshino Court (Southern Court) both stood, the Emperor Godaigo, who set up the Southern Court in the middle of Mt. Yoshino, not only ordered Yoshisada NITTA to dispatch the Imperial Prince Kanenaga and the Imperial Prince Tsuneyoshi to Hokuriku region and appointed the Imperial Prince Korenaga Seisei shogun to dispatch him to Kyushu region, but also dispatched other imperial princes of his own to various places such as the Imperial Prince Muneyoshi to the eastern Japan, and the Imperial Prince Norinaga to Mutsu Province, in order to oppose the Northern Court.

In addition to the imperial princes above mentioned, the Emperor Godaigo had many imperial princes, and as many of the members of the Kikuchi clan were also registered as the pepole involved in the Kenmu Restoration, it is assumed that they spread themselves all over the country by accompanying those imperial princes.

The Tono Kikuchi clan is said to have been one of these cases, and the clan landed in Hachinohe, Aomori Prefecture by sea and reached Tono, Iwate Prefecture, and the origin remained with its family crest. Usually the Kikuchi clan uses 'Maruni Narabi Takanoha' (in-line falcon's plumes inside a circle) or 'Maruni Chigai Takanoha' (crossing falcon's plumes inside a circle), but the family crest of the Tono Kikuchi clan is added the 'Hamon' (ripple) which refers to that the clan came from the sea, to the usual family crest, and shows as 'Maruni Narabi Takanohani Hamon' (in-line falcon's plumes with ripple inside a circle). Tono City, Iwate Prefecture, which the family name of Kikuchi makes up the 20 % of its population, concluded the friendship city declaration with Kikuchi City on August 1. Not only in Tono City but also all over the Iwate Prefecture, many people use the family name 'Kikuchi' written as 菊池 or 菊地, and according to an oral tradition that in addition to the Tono Kikuchi clan, there was a family that came from Ishinomaki City, Miyagi Prefecture, northing upward along the Kitakami-gawa River.

After the the Kikuchi clan perished, the Mera clan, a local ruling family in Higo Province, proclaimed that the Mera clan was a descendant of Shigetsugu KIKUCHI, Yoshiyuki KIKUCHI's son, and was appointed to be a member of Kotaiyoriai (a alternate member of yoriai [the top decision making organ], a family status of samurai warriors in the Edo period) in the Edo period, and in the Meiji period, was allowed to use the family name 'Kikuchi,' was conferred the baronage. Another branch line family is the Saigo clan, and it is said that Saigo no tsubone, the biological mother of Hidetada TOKUGAWA, Seii Taishogun (literally, "great general who subdues the barbarians"), Yorihaha SAIGO, the chief retainer of the Aizu Domain and Takamori SAIGO, lower ranked feudal retainer of the Satsuma Domain, were from the Kikuchi family.

In addition the family name 'Kikuchi' written as 菊池 can be also found in present Nishimera-son, Koyu-gun, Miyazaki Prefecture, Kitasengi-cho and Minamisengi-cho, Isesaki City, Gunma Prefecture, Ibaraki Prefecture, Hokkaido, and Tokyo Metropolis.

[Original Japanese]