Ichijo Kanesada (一条兼定)

Kanesada ICHIJO was a kokushi (governor) in Tosa Province in the Sengoku period (period of warring states) and was effectively the last head of the Tosa Ichijo clan.


In 1543, he was born as the legitimate son of Fusamoto ICHIJO. His childhood name was Manchiyo. In 1549, his father committed suicide and Kanesada succeeded his father as the head of the family at the age of seven. For that reason, Kanpaku (chief advisor to the Emperor) Fusamichi ICHIJO became Kanesada's foster father and acted as his guardian. Fusamichi ICHIJO was a younger brother of Kanesada's grandfather, Fusafuyu ICHIJO, and a member of the Tosa Ichijo clan.

In 1558, Kanesada married a daughter of Toyotsuna UTSUNOMIYA of Iyo Province. In 1564, he divorced and married a daughter of Yoshishige OTOMO (Sorin) and allied with the Otomo clan. In 1568, he expanded into Iyo by supporting Toyotsuna UTSUNOMIYA. However, he had suffered a crushing defeat in the battle against the Kono clan that had reinforcements from the Mori clan. In addition, Kanesada had drifted apart from the head family of the Ichijo clan in Kyoto.

Since the influence of Motochika CHOSOKABE was increasing in that period, Kanesada and his brother-in-law Kunitora AKI attempted to defeat Motochika together. In the following 1569, however, Kunitora was defeated by Motochika. Thereafter, the Chosokabe clan encroached Kanesada's territory. In addition, he killed his chief retainer Sosan DOI on a false charge which made other retainers lose their trust in him, and it drove him to continue misconduct. Other three chief retainers Habu, Tamematsu, Anami, and others reached an agreement to force Kanesada to retire in September, 1573, at the age of thirty-one, and he was expelled to Usuki in Bungo Province in 1574, where he depended on the Otomo clan. The lord of Kakumi-jo Castle, Saemon KAKUMI felt resentful about the expulsion of Kanesada to Bungo. Saemon KAKUMI plotted to take up arms together with Sakyoshin OKI, Yagiemon OTSUKA, Genba EGUCHI, Izumi HASHIMOTO, and the like, who had always been antagonistic toward old retainers of the ICHIJO clan, and attacked Nakamura and subjugated the old retainers. Taking advantage of the disturbance, Motochika captured Nakamura in the name of suppression of the rebellion.

In 1575, Kanesada came to believe in Christianity and was baptized by missionary John Cabral. Kanesada's Christian name was Don Paul. In July of the same year, Kanesada, with support from the Otomo clan, made an attack on the Tosa Province in an attempt to revive his clan. He suffered a crushing defeat in the Battle of Shimanto, which completely ruined the Tosa Ichijo clan as Sengoku daimyo (Japanese territorial lord in the Sengoku period).

On July 27, 1585, Kanesada died at the age of forty three.

Personal Profile

Kanesada was known as a notorious unenlightened warlord because he ruined the Tosa Ichijo clan in his lifetime. Some even described him as a man of frivolous nature who never paid an attention to any admonition. It is also said that the head family of the Ichijo clan opposed to the Tosa Ichijo clan that had a tendency to become independent.

[Original Japanese]