Kikuchi Takeshige (菊池武重)

Takeshige KIKUCHI (1307? - 1338?) was a busho (Japanese military commander) who lived from the late Kamakura period to the period of the Northern and Southern Courts (Japan). He was the thirteenth family head of the Kikuchi clan. He was the legitimate son of the twelfth family head, Taketoki KIKUCHI.


In 1333 when he and his father Taketoki attacked Chinzei tandai (the military governor of Kyushu) Hidetoki HYOJO, Hidetoki, Sadatsune SHONI and Sadamune OTOMO went on the counteroffensive against them and his father was killed in the battle while Takeshige barely escaped alive to his own province. When Emperor Godaigo launched Kenmu Restoration, he was given Higo Province in appreciation of his late father's deed.

When Takauji ASHIKAGA rose in revolt against Emperor Godaigo and invaded with his force from Kamakura in 1335, he and his younger brother Takeyoshi KIKUCHI joined Yoshisada NITTA's army and fought against the Ashikaga side, but were defeated and took flight to Kyoto. After that, when Takauji, who had escaped to Kyushu, raised his army again and advanced toward Kyoto, Takeshige fought against the Ashikaga army in various places such as Hyogo, but was defeated and captured by the Ashikaga side. However, he was spared his life and sent back to Higo Province.

In February 1337, gathering the Nancho (Southern Court of Emperor Godaigo) force in Kyushu he fought against the Hokucho (Northern Court) (Japan) and died in 1338. His brother Takehito KIKUCHI picked up the torch.

The year of his death still remains controversial, for example, 1341 or 1342. Furthermore, taking the theory that he was killed in the battle in Hakata on May 5 1333 at the age of 42, his death year would be given as from 1292 to 1333. However, the genealogy of the family has the entry that the death year (1333) may be his father Taketoki's. His birth year is also unknown. His homyo (a name given to a person who enters the Buddhist priesthood) is 言盆真空寂阿大居士.

To knit the clan together he created Kikuchikaken (family code of the Kikuchi) 'Yoriaishu Naidannokoto (the family precept of the Kikuchi Family)' with Takeshige's seal of blood. It is the oldest document with a seal of blood and is kept with Kikuchi senbonyari (A thousand spears of the Kikuchi clan) in Kikuchi-jinja Shrine. He is enshrined as a shusaijin (main enshrined deities) in Kikuchi-jinja Shrine (Kikuchi City, Kumamoto Prefecture), which is one of the 15 shrines that mainly honor the nobles and military commanders on the side of the Nancho during Kemmu Restoration.

[Original Japanese]