Kikuchi Taketoki (菊池武時)

Taketoki KIKUCHI was a busho (Japanese military commander) at the end of Kamakura period. He was the 12th family head of the Kikuchi clan. He was the 2nd son of Takamori KIKUCHI. He was a grandchild of the 10th family head, Takefusa KIKUCHI, and a younger brother of the 11th family head, Tokitaka KIKUCHI.


After the death of his father Takamori prior to that of Takefusa, his elder brother, Tokitaka became an adopted heir of Takefusa and succeeded to the family estate of the Kikuchi clan, however, his uncle, Taketsune KIKUCHI was not satisfied with this and was opposed to Tokitaka, and consequently, both Tokitaka and Taketsune ruined, and he took over the family estate and became the family head. In those days in Kyushu, the Chinzei tandai (office of the military governor of Kyushu) was established after the Mongol invasion of Japan, and the governance by the Hojo clan was reinforced, which aggravated grievances among gokenins (immediate vassals of the shogunate in the Kamakura and Muromachi through the Edo periods).

Raising of an army

On May 3, 1333, Taketoki, who arrived at Hakata, served in the Chinzei tandai, however, Samurai-dokoro (the Board of Retainers) blamed him for his late attendance, which developed into an argument. On the 5th day of the same month, Taketoki raised an army and set fire to several places in Hakata, and burned them away. Then, he sent an emissary to Sadatsune SHONI, Sadamune OTOMO, etc., and told them to side with him because he had received Rinji (the Emperor's command) of the emperor Godaigo, who had escaped from Oki Province. However, the both reacted coldly, and Sadatsune SHONI killed KIKUCHI's emissary at Katakasu (Hakata Ward, Higashi Ward, Fukuoka City), and Sadamune OTOMO also tried to kill the emissary, but had the emissary run away. Taketoki surged into the Chinzei tandai, and went into a battle with the subordinates of the tanadai, however, he was defeated and killed along with the Kikuchi family, including his son, Yoritaka KIKUCHI. He died at the age of 42. About 200 people's heads of the family were hanged at Inui Baba (a riding ground).

Chinzei tandai thereafter

The scene of this raising of an army was witnessed by a priest, Ryokaku, who had been dispatched to the Chinzei tandai, and he described it in "Hakata Nikki." It is said that Taketoki's loss of a lawsuit conducted at the tandai became a remote cause of the raising of an army. The rapid raising of an army could not get support of the Shoni clan and the Otomo clan, which resulted in his self-destruction, however, Taketoki's plan to attack the tandai triggered the anti-shogunate movement in Kyushu. On July 12, 2 months after this, when the Kamakura bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun) ruined, 3 days after that, the samurais in Kyusyu, including Sadatsune SHONI, Sadamune OTOMO, etc. turned to the forces of overthrowing the Shogunate, which led to the fall of the Chinzei tandai.

In the Kenmu Restoration, Masashige KUSUNOKI praised him saying 'Taketoki was the most loyal subject who risked his life on the emperor (Emperor Godaigo),' and Takeshige KIKUCHI who succeeded to Taketoki was awarded a territory of Higo Province as reward grants.

He is enshrined as shusaijin (main enshrined deities) in Kikuchi-jinja Shrine in Kikuchi City, Kumamoto Prefecture.

Further, he had so many children that there were more than a dozen of children besides Yoritaka and Takeshige. A painter at the end of the Edo period, Yosai KIKUCHI is said to be a descendant of Taketoki.

[Original Japanese]