Chikamatsu Yukishige (近松行重)

Yukishige CHIKAMATSU (1669 - March 20, 1703) was one of the forty-seven samurai of Ako Roshi (lordless samurai of Ako domain). His common name was Kanroku. He was a horse guard with two hundred and 50 koku (crop yields) during the days of the Ako domain.

He claimed himself as one of the descendants of MINAMOTO no Yoshitaka (Shimizu no Kanja) (an eldest legitimate son of MINAMOTO no Yoshinaka), and his ancestors inherited the Chikamatsu family, the doctors of the Rokkaku clan in Omi province. Ikan CHIKAMATSU, his grandfather, served Hideyori TOYOTOMI and was successful in military exploits, and later served the Hiroshima domain as an excellent doctor appointed to hogen (the second highest rank for Buddhist priests). After that, he served as a doctor of the Ako domain by the strong request of Naganao ASANO. Ikan was close to Soko YAMAGA and had Gyosei, his son, learn the Yamagaryu (Yamaga school) military science and serve as the one who belonged to the samurai (warrior) class. Gyosei's son was Kanroku. Kanroku also learned the Yamagaryu military science. Sadauemon OKUDA, his younger paternal brother, became a son-in-law of Shigemori OKUDA.

On April 21, 1701, Naganori ASANO, his lord, injured Yoshinaka KIRA in Matsu no Oroka (a long corridor called matsu [pine tree]) of the Edo-jo Castle, and Asano Takumi no Kami was ordered to commit Seppuku (suicide by disembowelment) immediately on the day and 'kaieki' sanction (sudden dismissal and deprivation of position, privileges and properties) was ordered to the Ako domain. After the Ako-jo Castle surrendered, Kanroku climbed Mt. Koya with Tozaemon HAYAMI and erected a monument of Asano Takumi no Kami. Subsequently, he hid in Hiruta of Omi province and exchanged information with his comrades including Yoshio OISHI, etc.

In February 1702, he went down to Edo with Kanesuke YOSHIDA to suppress a radical group of Edo. He changed his name to Sansuke TAGUCHI and hid at a tenant in Shin-kojimachi together with Chuzaemon. In August, he returned to Kyoto City and reported the situation of Edo to Kuranosuke OISHI. In November, he went down to Edo accompanying Kuranosuke OISHI. After arriving at Edo, he changed his name to Juemon MIURA and lived at 3 chome, Ishimachi.

In the raid of Kira-tei Residence on January 30, 1703, he belonged to the front gate unit and guarded outside. An enemy appeared from the residence and Kanroku fiercely fought with swords, but the tough enemy knocked him down into a garden pond. The member on his side rushed to save him by inches. It seems that this enemy was Morihito YAMAYOSHI, who worked most in the Kira family. He seriously got injured in his left thigh when falling into the garden pond and was put in a palanquin to lift him up.

He was kept in the residence of Tsunatoshi HOSOKAWA. On March 20, 1703, he committed suicide by disembowelment by the order of the Edo bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun). Kanroku was thirty-four years old. His posthumous Buddhist name was Tozuiroken-shinji. His graveyard is Jiko-ji Temple in Tokushima City, Tokushima Prefecture.

Kanroku had a man servant called Jinzaburo, to whom Kanroku intended to fire when he became a ronin (masterless samurai [warrior]), but Jinzaburo insisted to keep serving Kanroku. He always followed wherever Kanroku went. On the eve of the raid, Jinzaburo brought the documents including 'Gold/silver order and payment ledger', etc. to Yozenin by the order of Kuranosuke OISHI. On the night of the raid, Jinzaburo guarded nearby spots outside the gate, and when the Ako Roshi group was leaving for the Sengaku-ji Temple, he walked around handing mandarin oranges and rice cakes and expressing congratulations to the members. Jinzaburo was called a faithful servant in posterity.

[Original Japanese]