Kamei Korenori (亀井茲矩)

Korenori KAMEI (1557-February 27, 1612) was a Japanese busho (military commander). He was a daimyo (Japanese feudal lord) in the early Edo period. The first lord of the Shikano Domain in Inaba Province. Jusanmi (Junior Third Rank), posthumously conferred (1912). He was a master of spearmanship, and was called "Yari no Shinjuro (Shinjuro, the spearman)." He was also the first head of the Kamei family in Tsuwano Domain.

He was the oldest son of YU no Nagatsuna, a vassal of the Amago clan as Sengoku daimyo (Japanese territorial lord in the Sengoku period) in Chugoku region. His mother was a daughter of Tokitaka TAKO. His lawful wife was a daughter of Yukimori YAMANAKA. His second wife was a daughter of Shigemori TAKO. His children included Masanori KAMEI (the second son) and a daughter (the lawful wife of Tadakiyo MATSUDAIRA). His original family name was "Yu." He originally called himself Yu no Kunitsuna. His common name was Shinjuro. His father-in-law was Hidetsuna KAMEI who served for Tsunehisa AMAGO. His descendants include Hisaoki KAMEI, a politician, and his daughter Akiko KAMEI (also politician).


When the Amago clan was destroyed by Motonari MORI, he lived in exile. It is mostly unclear about his exile period. It is said that his hiding place was in Kyoto, and it is assumed that he met Yukimori (Shikanosuke) YAMANAKA and Katsuhisa AMAGO, who were remnants of the Amago clan in those days (around 1568). Considering his age, it is likely that he officially started to join actual fighting when he seceded from the Yamana clan in around October, 1573 (when he was 17). In the same year, Korenori was put in charge of Ichiba-jo Castle, one of the bases. Although the exact year is unclear, he took the family name of Kamei after he married a daughter of Yukimori (her mother was a daughter of Hidetsuna KAMEI, the head of the chief retainers of the Amago clan) since he had a close relationship with Yukimori.

He had to fight against the strong Mori forces with outnumbered troops for the campaign for the restoration of the Amago clan, which was carried out when Korenori KAMEI was a boy, and he merely made temporary achievements. However, Nobunaga ODA, an emerging force, gained power, and he was aiming at Chubu region, which changed the state of affairs drastically. The remnants of the Amago clan served for him and got a backup from him. From a viewpoint of the Oda side, the remnants of the Amago clan, which were associated with Chugoku region, were valuable.

The remnants of the Amago clan were affiliated with the Oda side (especially Hideyoshi), and moved around to fight in Harima Province, but in 1578, Katsuhisa AMAGO and Yukimori YAMANAKA became isolated at Kozuki-jo Castle. Katsuhisa killed himself by his sword without choosing abandonment of Kozuki-jo Castle, and Shikanosuke was put to death after his surrender. Since Korenori was with the army of Hideyoshi HASHIBA at that time, he was out of trouble.

After that, he belonged to the army of Hideyoshi HASHIBA, pursuing the capture of Chugoku region, and in 1581, he distinguished himself in battle for the capture of Tottori-jo Castle that Tsuneie KIKKAWA defended, which made him appointed as the lord of Shikano-jo Castle in Inaba Province with 13,500 koku (crop yield). Considering that he was responsible as the lord of the castle in the front at the young age of only 24, Hideyoshi must have placed reasonable confidence in him. He remained in Shikano-jo Castle as a rear guard during Chugoku Ogaeshi (Retaliation in Chugoku) in order to warn and watch the Mori clan.

After the Honnoji Incident, he became Hideyoshi's vassal, and showed his administrative ability on management of silver mine, reclamation and establishment of canals, under the reign of (Hideyoshi) Toyotomi. He led the Suigun (navy) at the Bunroku-Keicho War, and fought also in Korea. After Hideyoshi died, he approached Ieyasu TOKUGAWA, and he fought in the vanguard, taking sides with the Eastern army at the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600. Although he attacked Tottori-jo Castle after the Battle of Sekigahara, it was a strong fortress with which Hideyoshi had struggled, and it was hard to fall, and he finally made the castle fall by having Masahiro SAIMURA, the lord of Takeda-jo Castle in Tajima Province of the Western army, switch sides, and setting fire to the castle town. However, this fire attack enraged Ieyasu. It is said that, in order to avoid his responsibility, Korenori claimed that Masahiro SAIMURA was the mastermind of the fire attack. Masahiro SAIMURA killed himself and punished by kaieki (dismissal and deprivation of position, privileges and properties), taking the blame of the scorched earth strategy. Korenori's territory was added up to 38,000 koku for his achievement.

Under the Tokugawa government, he showed his administrative ability on agricultural development, silver mine development and establishment of canals. On the other hand, he was also a businessman with a global perspective, having trade with Siam (present Kingdom of Thailand), with Shuinjo (a shogunal license for foreign trade) of the Edo Shogunate. There were little cases that a daimyo in Chugoku region on the Sea of Japan side had Nanban boeki (trade with Spain and Portugal). It is thought that he was excellent in administration and able to broaden his trade perspective to the world because he was active in Kinki region, an advanced area, when he was in exile, and the fact that his masters were Nobunaga and Hideyoshi had an influence. Although he remained the local lord of a small domain at the mercy of times, it is likely that he was full of political skills and actual-fight experiences. The Kamei family's territory was later added up to 43,000 koku in Tsuwano in Iwami Province in the generation of his heir Masanori.


Ryotaro SHIBA said as below.
Korenori was interested in India rather than China, which was displayed in the fact that he named Shikano Rajagrha.'
(snip) that implies that Korenori had some knowledge of Buddhist scriptures.'
Moreover, that shows his adoration for the thoughts.'
And he thought that this fostered the scholarly ethos in Tsuwano Domain, which Ogai MORI and Amane NISHI were from.

Influenced by such an interest in the East Asia, on the next day of June seventh (old calendar), 1582, when Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI went back to Himeji-jo Castle on the occasion of Chugoku Ogaeshi, responding to the Honnoji Incident, Korenori KAMEI answered 'I would like to receive Ryukyu Province,' to Hideyoshi when asked which province he wanted as a reward instead of the half of Izumo Province, which had been promised to Korenori but became no longer available because of the pacification with the Mori clan. So, Hideyoshi gave a fan on which he wrote 'To Mr. Kamei, Ryukyu no kami (the governor of Ryukyu Province)' to Korenori.
(Kanei shoka keizuden [The Genealogies of the Houses of the Kanei Period])
However, Korenori lost a ship, which this fan was on, by the attack of Yi Sun-sin in the first year of Japanese invasions of Korea.
The 'Report on defeating Japanese army in Dangpo,' a military result report to the Yi Dynasty, says that the fan said from the right;

Hashiba, Chikuzen no kami (governor of Chikuzen Province);
June eighth, Hideyoshi (kao [written seal mark]);
To Mr. Kamei, Ryukyu no kami;
And these three lines matches the record above. Ryukyu no kami was a unique government post name not mentioned in the code, and Korenori asked Hideyoshi to allow him to conquer Ryukyu, which was once approved. However, since the Toyotomi government's policy on Ryukyu had a control system via the Shimazu clan, Korenori's government post name became Musashi no kami (Governor of Musashi Province) in the period from the Battle of Kyushu to the Siege of Odawara, due to interference by the Shimazu family having their interests. Later, he had a name of Taishu no kami, but this referred to Taizhou in the present Zhejiang Province in China. However, he identified himself as Musashi no kami again after the capture of Ming broke down at the Bunroku-Keicho War.
(cited by 'A Study on Kamei, Ryukyu no kami' by Nobuyuki KAMIYA and 'Another Study on Kamei, Ryukyu no kami - Change of Korenori KAMEI's government service -' by Katsuyuki TANAKA)

Buddhist name: Kobu Inden Chuzandogetsu Daikoji
Graveyard: The graveyard of the Kamei family in Tachu, Ketaka-cho, Tottori City, Tottori Prefecture, and Tsuwano Town, Shimane Prefecture, and the graveyard of the Kurodani Komyo-ji Temple in Kyoto City.


The above-mentioned scene that Korenori wanted Ryukyu as his territory was played by Paul MAKI with Toru NAKAMURA playing as Hideyoshi in the beginning of the first episode of 'Ryukyu no kaze (Dragon Spirit),' NHK's period drama in 1993.

[Original Japanese]