Kira Yoshifuyu (吉良義冬)

Yoshifuyu KIRA (1607 – May 6, 1668) was a Koke-Hatamoto (privileged family under the Tokugawa Shogunate) in the early Edo Period. He was commonly called Sakyo. Official court ranks he held were Jushiinojo (Junior Fourth Rank, Upper Grade), Sashosho (Minor Captain of the Left Division of Inner Palace Guards) and Wakasa no kami. He was the father to Yoshinaka KIRA, who was famous as the enemy of Chushingura drama (treasury of Loyal Retainers).

Born in 1607 as firstborn son to Yoshimitsu KIRA, a noble. His mother was the daughter of Norimochi IMAGAWA, the son of Ujizane IMAGAWA. He was granted an audience with the shogun Hidetada TOKUGAWA in 1617 at the age of 11. On August 18, 1626 he was given the rank of Jugoinoge (Junior Fifth Rank, Lower Grade), and assumed the name of Wakasa no kami.

In 1634 he was assigned to Kyoto ahead of Iemitsu TOKUGAWA's own trip to the capital, and on June 15, 1640 sent to Senba in Musashi Province for the reconstruction of Senba Tosho-gu Shrine. On December 7, 1643 he inherited the Kira home (3,000 koku = 541.17 cubic meters). He was also allowed to maintain ownership of the 1,000 koku (180.39 cubic meters) given personally to him, bringing his total property to 4000 koku. On February 15, 1644 he presented an article left by his deceased father – Ise Monogatari (the Tales of Ise) written by Kenko Hoshi – as a gift.

On May 19, 1645 he was promoted to the rank of Junior Fourth Rank, Lower Grade when he visited Kyoto as vice-envoy to principle envoy Shegemune ITAKURA for the genpuku (celebration of the coming of age) of Ietsuna TOKUGAWA. He returned to Kyoto again as vice-envoy to Tadakiyo SAKAI on September 7, 1651 for the appointment of Ietsuna TOKUGAWA to shogun; on September 28 he was given the sword of Kenehira by Emperor Gokomyo and the sword of Bizen Saburo Kunimune by Emperor Gozimunoo, and then on October 15 was given the court rank of Sakone no shosho. He continued to travel back and forth between Kyoto and Edo, but died in 1668. Yoshifuyu was 62 at the time of his death. The reigns of the family were passed on to his first son Yoshinaka KIRA.

His legal wife was Princess Shige, the daughter of Tadayosi SAKAI (younger biological brother to Tadakatsu SAKAI [lord of the Obama Domain of Wakasa Province], paramount authority and chief minister in the shogun's cabinet). He had six sons including his first son Yoshinaka and his second son Yoshisue TOJO. Yoshisue took the surname Tojo and branched out as a hatamoto (government retainer), but his descendants returned to the name Kira.

[Original Japanese]