Kitabatake Chikafusa (北畠親房)

Chikafusa KITABATAKE (March 15, 1293 - June 9, 1354)
He was a court noble in the period of the Northern and Southern Courts (Japan). His father was Moroshige KITABATAKE and his mother was FUJIWARA no Takashige's daughter. He was the father of Akiie KITABATAKE and Akinobu KITABATAKE. He authored "Jinno-shotoki". The Kitabatake family was a branch family of the Murakami-Genji(Minamoto clan).


He was born on March 8, 1293. He was given the rank of Goi (Fifth Rank) at the age of six months. His stubborn side becomes apparent when we note that at the age of 15 he submitted a letter of resignation in protest to the Emperor Gonijo in response to the promotion of a lesser, unqualified person to the same rank as him. He was appointed as a councilor in the Emperor Gofushimi cloister government at the age of 18, and served as Kebiishi no Betto (chief of statutory office) the following year. Upon the ascendance of Emperor Godaigo in 1318, he was entrusted with the upbringing of Imperial Prince Yoyoshi, Emperor Godaigo's prince. He was called Nochi-no-Sambo (literally, 'the latter three "Fusa(房)" retainer'), Chikafusa KITABATAKE (北畠親房), Nobufusa MADENOKOJI (万里小路宣房) and Sadafusa YOSHIDA (吉田定房)) together with Sadafusa YOSHIDA and Nobufusa MADENOKOJI, and enjoyed the deep confidence of Emperor Godaigo. He was appointed leader of the Genji clan (1323) and Dainagon(chief councillor of state) (1325), any of which had been disallowed for the Kitabatake clan up to that point and at the age of 38 in 1330, feeling responsible for the sudden death of Imperial Prince Yoyoshi, he became a priest (at that time, the rank of Junii (Junior Second Rank), Dainagon (chief councillor of state), a leader of Genji clan and Naikyobo no Betto (chief of Naikyobo,)), and resigned from politics for a time (at that time, he was appointed the rank of Juichii (Junior First Rank) and Gido-sanshi minister (vice minister)) (there were conflicting reports regarding the periods). Because of that, he didn't seem to be involved in the Emperor Godaigo's plan to overthrow the Kamakura bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun), which was started with the Shochu no Hen (Conspiracy of Shochu) (however, Tomoyuki KITABATAKE, a cousin of his father Moroshige was put to death in the Genko no Hen (Conspiracy of Genko)). After the Kamakura bakufu was overthrown and the Kenmu Restoration was inaugurated by Emperor Godaigo, Chikafusa made his appearance on the political stage once more. He accompanied his son Akiie KITABATAKE, who was directed to execute the suppression of Oshu Province, and departed for Tagajo in Mutsu Province in obedience with Imperial Prince Norinaga's order (later, Emperor Gomurakami). In 1335, when Takauji ASHIKAGA went to put down the Nakasendai War set off by the Hojo clan's remnants and eventually seceded from the Kenmu Government, Chikafusa returned to Kyoto to subdue him; after Takauji captured Kyoto, Chikafusa confronted the Northern Court, followingYoshino Imperial Court which was established in Yoshino (Yoshino Town, Yoshino County, Nara Prefecture) by Emperor Godaigo, who had to leave Kyoto.

After his son Akiie died in a war in 1338, Chikafusa cooperated with Ieyuki WATARAI to strengthen the power of the Southern Court in Ise Province. Chikafusa, thereby, was deeply influenced by Ieyuki's Shinkoku-shiso (thought of Japan as the land of the gods) (however, he seemed to be critical of the Ise-Shinto religion itself advocated by Ieyuki). Later, in accordance with the order of Imperial Princes Norinaga and Munenaga to strengthen the power of the Southern Court in the Kanto Region, he attempted to reach the Togoku (the eastern part of Japan) by sea from Ominato in Ise Province (Ise City, Mie Prefecture) with Munehiro YUKI. However, he separated from both of the Princes due to heavy storms and arrived in Hitachi Province alone. However, he separated from both of the Princes due to heavy storms and arrived in Hitachi Province alone. He first relied on Haruhisa ODA in Jinguji Castle (Inashiki City, Ibaraki Prefecture), and as the castle fell with attacks by the Satake clan, he moved to Abasaki Castle, and then, he situated the Oda clan's headquarters in Oda Castle (Tsukuba City, Ibaraki Prefecture). Chikafusa urged Chikatomo YUKI in Shirakawa in Mutsu Province (Shirakawa City, Fukushima Prefecture) and anti-Bakufu groups in the Kanto area to combine forces. It has been said that this is the period when "Jinno-shotoki" and "Shokugensho" (history of government services) were written. In 1340 when the Northern Court side sent KO no Morofuyu to govern Kanto region, Chikafusa, who was abandoned by the Oda clan, entered Munesuke SEKI's Seki Castle (Chikusei City, Ibaraki Prefecture) to fight against them together with the Southern Court's forces including the Shimotsuma clan in Daiho Castle (Shimotsuma City, Ibaraki Prefecture) and the Isa clan (Hitachi Province) in Isa Castle (Chikusei City, Ibaraki Prefecture). Chikafusa involved himself in activities in Hitachi for five years. However, Tsunetada KONOE (Sadaijin (minister of the left of Dajokan) as a chief adviser to the Emperor in the Southern Court), who was supporting the Southern Court independently, attempted to lead a network of Warriors of Fujiwara clan group in the Togoku (the eastern part of Japan) using the status of the leader of the Fujiwara clan. Because of that, Chikafusa returned to Yoshino after his plots were undermined by both the inside and outside and both castles were destroyed in 1343.

When the Southern Court side, including Masatsura KUSUNOKI, lost the Battle of Shijonawate against KO no Moronao in 1348, he escaped from Yoshino to Ano (Gojo City, Nara Prefecture.)
He supported Emperor Gomurakami after the death of Emperor Godaigo. After the turmoil known as the Kanno-no-Joran War (turmoil of the Kanno), which was triggered by the Ashikaga clan's infighting, Takauji Ashikaga surrendered to the Southern Court, thus the Shohei unification was established and this allowed for his success in the recovery of Kyoto and Kamakura. He died in Ano in 1354. After his death, no one appeared to take a leadership role in the Southern Court, and this leaned the Southern Court toward reconciling with the Northern Court. Buddhist name: Kakuku (Incidentally he received the Buddhist name 'Sogen' upon becoming a priest).

He is enshrined at Abeno-jinja Shrine (Abeno Ward, Osaka City) and Ryozen-jinja Shrine (Date City, Fukushima Prefecture) along with Akiie KITABATAKE.

Chronology of Government Posts and Ranks
* Lunar calendar used for the dates on and before December 2, 1872. On June 24, 1293, he assumed Jugoinoge (Junior Fifth Rank, Lowere Grade).

On January 6, 1294, he was promoted to Jugoinojo (Junior Fifth Rank, Upper Grade).

On February 18, 1297, he was promoted to Shogoinoge (Senior Fifth Rank, Lowere Grade).

On May 23, 1298, he was promoted to Jushiinoge (Junior Fourth Rank, Lower Grade).

On January 5, 1300, he was promoted to Jushiinojo (Junior Fourth Rank, Upper grade). On intercalary July 14, he had a coming-of-age ceremony, and was appointed as Hyobu no Gon no Taifu (supernumerary assistance administrator of Hyobusho Ministry of Military).

On January 20, 1303, he was appointed as Sakon-e-no-Chujo (lowest general of Sakon-e-fu). On December 17, he was promoted to Shoshiinoge (Senior Fourth Rank, Lower Grade) with his status as Sakon-e-no-Chujo remaining unchanged. On December 30, he was transferred to the position of Ukon-e-no-Chujo (lieutenant general of Ukon-e-fu).

On November 18, 1305, he was appointed as Gon-Sashoben (supernumerary third-ranked officer of Sabenkan-kyoku, Daijokan).

On December 22, 1306, he was appointed as Sashoben (third-ranked officer of Sabenkan-kyoku, Daijokan).

On November 1, 1307, he resigned as Sashoben and he was appointed as Danjo-Daihitsu (vice general of Danjodai).

On November 8, 1308, he was promoted to Jusammi (Junior Third Rank) with his status as Danjo-Daihitsu remaining unchanged.

On March 9, 1310, he was promoted to Shosammi (Senior Third Rank) with his status as Danjo-Daihitsu remaining unchanged. On December 17, he was assigned to the post of councillor. His status as Danjo-Daihitsu remained unchanged.

On January 17, 1311, he also assumed the rank of Sakonoe-Chujo (lieutenant general of Sakon-e-fu). On March 30, he resigned as Danjo-Daihitsu, but also assumed the rank of Bizen-no-Gonnokami (supernumerary chief of Bizen-no-kuni). On July 20, he also assumed the rank of Sahyoe-no-kami (head of Sahyoefu) and was assigned to the post of Kebiishi no Betto. On December 21, he was appointed as Gon-Chunagon (supernumerary second-ranked councilor of state). His ranks of Kebiishi no Betto and Sahyonoe-no-kami remained unchanged.

On March 15, 1312, he resigned as Kebiishi no Betto and Sahyoe-no-kami. On August 10, he was promoted to Junii (Junior Second Rank) with his rank of Gon-Chunagon (supernumerary second-ranked councilor of state) remaining unchanged.

On April 17, 1315, he resigned as Gon-Chunagon (supernumerary second-ranked councilor of state).

On January 5, 1316, he was promoted to Shosanmi (Senior Third Rank).

On December 10, 1318, he returned to the post of Gon-Chunagon (supernumerary second-ranked councilor of state).

On August 5, 1319, he was appointed to the position of Chunagon (vice-councilor of state).

On October 21, 1320, he assumed both the rank of Junnain no Betto (chief of Junnain) and the post of the leader of the Genji clan.

On April 5, 1322, he also assumed the post of Emon-no-kami and was promoted to Kebiishi no Betto.

On January 13, 1323, he was transferred to the position of Gon-Dainagon (supernumerary chief councilor of state) with his rank of Junnain no Betto remaining unchanged. In May he also assumed the status of Shogakuin no Betto (chief of Shogakuin). On June 15 he also assumed the position of Mutsu-dewa no Azechi (officer to research Mutsu and Dewa Provinces).

On April 27, 1324, he was appointed as Dainagon (chief councilor of state) with his status as Junnain no Betto, Shogakuin no Betto and Mutsu-dewa no Azechi remaining unchanged.

On January 7, 1325, he also assumed the position of Naikyobo no Betto.

On February 9, 1326, he resigned as Mutsu-dewa no Azechi.

On March 5, 1330, he was promoted to Juichii (Junior First Rank) and given the post of vice minister by the Emperor. On September 17, he became a priest. His Buddhist name was Sogen, and it was later changed to Kakuku.

On an unknown date he was given the title of Ju-sangu by the Emperor.

On September 9, 1908, he was granted Shoichii (Senior First Rank).

[Original Japanese]