Kitabatake Akiie (北畠顕家)

Akiie KITABATAKE (1318 - June 10, 1338) was a court noble during the period of the Northern and Southern Courts. He was the eldest son of Chikafusa KITABATAKE. He held the position of gon-chunagon (literally, "acting middle ranking councilor"). His younger brothers were Akinobu KITABATAKE and Akiyoshi KITABATAKE.. His son was Akinari KITABATAKE (who later became known as Morokiyo MURAKAMI and was the founder of the Murakami-Suigun navy).
The Kitabatake family was a branch family of the Murakami-Genji (Minamoto clan.)


His father, Chikafusa was a 'Sambo (one of three omniscients with fusa (房) character in their name),' served the Emperor Godaigo in later years, and assisted the 1333 Kenmu restoration.

Akiie became Jusanmi (Junior Third Rank) Mutsu no kami. In the next year, 1334, in accordance with an order from Imperial Prince Norinaga (the son of Emperor Godaigo; later to be known as Emperor Gomurakami), he went to Tagajo Castle (Tagajo City, Miyagi Prefecture) in Mutsu Province with his father and began management of the Tohoku Region. In the same year, he assumed the Junii (Junior Second Rank), and in 1335, he was appointed as Shogun of Chinjufu.

In the same year, while Takauji ASHIKAGA's army rebelled against the Kenmu Government in Kamakura and approached Kyoto, Akiie brought the Oshu army to Kyoto in pursuit of ASHIKAGA's army in December (old lunar calender). They were able to defeat and expel them from Kyo with the help of Yoshisada NITTA and Masashige KUSUNOKI. In January of the following year, 1336, he defeated Takauji in Settsu Province, while he was attempting to go to Kyoto again. Takauji later departed for Kyushu.

In March, he assumed a vice councilor of state, and returned to Oshu again to destroy ASIKAGA's army who rose in revolt. In 1337, Taga Castle was captured by the Ashikaga clan; however, he escaped disaster at that time because Akiie had transferred the Kokufu to Ryozen (Soma City and Date City, Fukushima Prefecture).

In May 1338, moving west again, he fought a battle with the Ashikaga clan, and captured Kamakura as ordered by Imperial Prince Yorinaga. While, he won a victory from the Ashikaga side in the Battle of Aonogahara in Mino Province (Ogaki City, Gifu Prefecture), he abandoned his Kyo campaign due to dwindling force numbers and sheer exhaustion, and departed for Ise. Later, despite advancing on Iga, he lost battles because his soldiers' strength was sapped and they incurred injuries sustained in the constant battles with Oshu. Again, seeking to revive his campaign he raised an army in Sakaiura and Ishizu in Izumi Province. However, due to a delay in the expected arrival of his reinforcements, his army could not match KO no Moronao's army and they were routed.
Later, he still fought battles having two hundred soldiers, including attendants, but was killed in battle (the Battle of Ishizu.)
He was 21 years old. Before his death, he wrote an Address (Akiie's Kanso--Akiie's advice to the Emperor) to Godaigo to convince him of the failure of the Kenmu Restoration.

There is a memorial tower constructed in a place along the Ishizu-gawa river in Nishi Ward, Sakai City, where Akiie was supposedly killed in battle.

His grave is in Kitabatake Koen Park in Abeno Ward, Osaka City. Also, Abeno-jinja Shrine in Abeno Ward enshrines Akiie KITABATAKE..

Furthermore, Ryozen-jinja Shrine was built in Ryozen where Akiie constructed Mutsu-kokufu; it enshrines Akiie and his child.

Incidentally, he is also famous for having used the Fu-Rin-Ka-Zan (as fast as the wind, as quiet as the forest, as daring as fire, and as immovable as the mountain) banner prior to Shingen TAKEDA.

Chronology of Government Posts and Ranks

* Dates are based on a lunar calendar. January 5, 1321, assuming the Jugoinoge (Junior Fifth Rank, Lower Grade).

January 5, 1322, promoted to the Jugoinojo (Junior Fifth Rank, Upper Grade).

April 9, 1324, promoted to the Shogoinoge (Senior Fifth Rank, Lower Grade).

December 30, 1325, appointed as Palace staff.

January 5, 1326, promoted to the Jushiinoge (Junior Fourth Rank, Lower Grade) with Palace staff position unchanged. February 19, promoted to Ukon e no Shosho (lowest general of Ukon-e-fu).

March 24, 1327, promoted to the Jushiinojo (Junior Fourth Rank, Upper Grade) and also assumed Musashi no suke (vice governor of Musashi Province). Ukon e no Shosho retained unchanged.

January 5, 1328, promoted to the Shoshiinoge (Senior Fourth Rank, Lower Grade) with Ukon e no Shosho and Musashi no suke unchanged. March 16, he also assumed the Shonagon.
April 19, appointed Sakon-e-no-Shosho (lowest general of Sakon-e-fu.)
Shonagon and Musashi-no-suke retained unchanged
November 19, he also assumed Chugu (FUJIWARA no Kishi as the Emperor Godaigo's Empress; Sanekane SAIONJI's daughter) gon no suke (supernumerary assistance administrator of the Chugushiki government office). He departed for Shonagon.

April 6, 1330, appointed Uchuben (vice minister of Ubenkan-kyoku, Daijokan). Chugu-gon-no-suke retained unchanged. October 5, he was appointed as Sachuben (vice minister of Sabenkan-kyoku, Daijokan). Chugu-gon-no-suke retained unchanged.

January 5, 1331, promoted to the Shoshiinojo (Senior Fourth Rank, Upper Grade). January 13, taking office of councilor. January 16, also assuming Sakonoe-Chujo (lieutenant general of Sakon-e-fu). November 5, he resigned as councilor and Sakonoe-Chujo. The same date, he was promoted to the Jusanmi (Junior Third Rank).

December 26, 1332, he assumed the office of councilor. The same date, he also assumed Sakonoe-Chujo.

June 12, 1333, he also assumed Danjo-Daihitsu (vice general of Danjodai). August 5, he also assumed Mutsu no kami. September 10, he resigned as Danjo-Daihitsu. October 10, he was promoted to the Shosanmi (Senior Third Rank) with his positions as councilor and Mutsu no kami retaining unchanged. An unknown date, he also assumed the rank of Ukon e no Chujo (lieutenant general of Ukon-e-fu).

December 17, 1334, he was promoted to the Junii (Junior Second Rank) with his status as councilor, Ukon e no Chujo and Mutsu no kami retaining unchanged.

An unknown date in 1335, he was appointed as Mutsu no Gonnokami (supernumerary chief of Mutsu Province). He resigned as Mutsu no kami. November 12, he also took the office of Shogun of Chinjufu.

February 4, 1336, he was promoted to Kebiishi no Betto (chief of statutory office) and also assumed the position of Emon no kami. February 5, he was appointed as chief of the Shoguns of Chinjufu. February 26, resigned as Mutsu no Gonnokami? (On the same day, Imperial Prince Norinaga was appointed as Sanbon (third-ranked of Imperial Prince) Mutsu-Taishu (president of Province). March 2, promoted to supernumerary second-ranked councilor of state. His position as Chief of the Shoguns of Chinjufu, Kebiishi no Betto and Emon no kami retained unchanged. An unknown date he resigned as Kebiishi no Betto and Emon no kami. December, he was dismissed.

May 22, 1338, he died. He was 21 years old. His Buddhist name was Chokoji-Doon. An unknown date he was posthumously given the Juichii (Junior First Rank) of Sadaijin (minister of the left).

[Original Japanese]