Kuroda Nagamasa

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Kuroda Nagamasa
Head of Kuroda clan
In office
Preceded byKuroda Yoshitaka
Succeeded byKuroda Tadayuki [jp]
Daimyō of Fukuoka
In office
Succeeded byKuroda Tadayuki
Personal details
BornDecember 3, 1568
Himeji, Harima Province, Japan
DiedAugust 29, 1623(1623-08-29) (aged 54)
Spouse(s)Itohime (\Hachisuka Masakatsu's daughter) (original legal wife, later divorced)
Eihime/Dairyo-in (Hoshina Masanao's daughter, Tokugawa Ieyasu's adopted daughter) (second legal wife)
Military service
Allegiance Toyotomi clan
Eastern Army
Tokugawa shogunate
Unit Kuroda clan
Battles/warsBattle of Shizugatake (1583)
Korean campaign (1592-1598)
Battle of Sekigahara (1600)
Siege of Osaka (1614-1615)

Kuroda Nagamasa (黒田 長政, December 3, 1568 – August 29, 1623) was a daimyō during the late Azuchi–Momoyama and early Edo periods.[1] He was the son of Kuroda Kanbei,[2] Toyotomi Hideyoshi's chief strategist and adviser.


His childhood name was Shojumaru (松寿丸). In 1577, when Nagamasa was a small child, his father was tried and sentenced as a spy by Oda Nobunaga. Nagamasa was kidnapped and nearly killed as a hostage. With the help of Yamauchi Kazutoyo and his wife, Yamauchi Chiyo and Takenaka Hanbei ended up rescuing him. After Nobunaga was killed in the Honnō-ji Incident in 1582, Nagamasa served Toyotomi Hideyoshi along with his father and participated in the invasion of Chūgoku.

In 1583 Nagamasa participated in the Battle of Shizugatake.[3]

In 1587, Nagamasa achieved great success in subduing Takarabe castle in Hyuga during Kyūshū campaign. However, there was a difficult daimyo in the area named Ki Shigefusa, who responded to Hideyoshi's order ambivalently during the war, incurring Hideyoshi's anger.

On April 20th 1588, Nagamasa invited Shigefusa to Nakatsu Castle with the pretense of hospitality. Shigefusa entered Nakatsu Castle with only a few companions and was immediately assassinated while drinking by Nagamasa's order. Nagamasa then dispatched soldiers to Gogen-ji Temple, ordering them to kill all of the Ki clan's vassals. In addition, Nagamasa's forces stormed the castle of the Ki clan, captured it, and killed Shigefusa's father, Ki Nagafusa. Following this, Nagamasa executed his hostage, Tsuruhime, along with 13 maids by crucifixion at Senbonmatsukawara in Hirotsu, on the banks of the Yamakuni River.[4][5]

In 1589, Kuroda Yoshitaka decided to retire from his position as the head of Kuroda clan, and Nagamasa inherited the family lordship. During this time, Hideyoshi issued an edict to expel all Christian missionaries, and Nagamasa, who was a Christian like his father, announced that he would renounce his faith.[6]

Korean campaign[edit]

Nagamasa also participated in Hideyoshi's Korean campaign,[2] where he commanded the army's 3rd Division of 5,000 men during the first invasion (1592–1593).[7] In 15 July, following the Battle of Imjin River, Nagamasa led his forces west into Hwanghae Province, where he participated in the first Siege of Pyongyang.[8] After a sally from the Korean forces which inflicted heavy losses on Japanese forces, Nagamasa launched counter attacks to push back the Koreans into a river that protected the city. As the Korean forces retreated by heading upstream where the river was shallow enough to cross, the Japanese forces followed their trail, discovering a way to reach the city without crossing over the deep river. Before entering the city, Nagamasa and Konishi Yukinaga sent scouts ahead. After confirming the city had been abandoned by the defenders, Nagamasa and Japanese forces entered the city and secured food supplies from the warehouses.[9] On 16 October 1597, Nagamasa arrived at Jiksan, where he clashed against 6,000 Ming soldiers in the Battle of Jiksan. After dusk, the battle ended without a clear result.[10] Later on, Nagamasa launched a night raid using a crane formation pincer attack with the intention of crushing enemy forces from each end. However, this raid failed and resulted in a rout that was joined by 2,000 Ming cavalry.[11] During the first Korean campaign, Nagamasa, along with other Japanese generals, mounted a genocidal operation called Nadegiri in the region of Jeolla Province, where they systematically mutilated their victims and collected the noses of Koreans they killed.[12]

In the second part of the campaign (1597-1598), he held command in The Army of the Right.[7] At this time, Nagamasa participated in the first defense of Ulsan, where he led reinforcements for Katō Kiyomasa with 600 mens.[13]

During his tenure in the Korean campaign, there is a famous anecdote which is attributed to Katō Kiyomasa that he was hunting a tiger during his free time. However, recent research revealed that this was falsely attributed to Kiyomasa, while the one it actually applied to was Nagamasa.[6]

Ishida Mitsunari incident[edit]

According to popular belief, in 1598, after the death of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, the government of Japan had an incident when seven military generals consisting of Fukushima Masanori, Katō Kiyomasa, Ikeda Terumasa, Hosokawa Tadaoki, Asano Yoshinaga, Katō Yoshiaki, and Kuroda Nagamasa planned a conspiracy to kill Ishida Mitsunari. It is said that the reason for this conspiracy was the dissatisfaction of those generals towards Mitsunari, as he had written poor assessments and had underreported the achievements of those generals during the Imjin war against the Korean & Chinese empires.[14] However, despite the classical historiography depicting the event as "seven generals who conspired against Mitsunari", modern historian Watanabe Daimon has pointed out that there were many more generals involved such as Hachisuka Iemasa, Tōdō Takatora, and Kuroda Yoshitaka who brought their troops and entourages to confront Mitsunari as well.[15]

In the beginning, these generals had gathered at Kiyomasa's mansion in Osaka Castle, and from there they moved into Mitsunari's mansion. However, when Mitsunari learned of this through a report from a servant of Toyotomi Hideyori named Jiemon Kuwajima, he fled to Satake Yoshinobu's mansion together with Shima Sakon and others to hide.[14] When the seven generals found out that Mitsunari was not present in his mansion, they searched the mansions of various other feudal lords in Osaka Castle, while Kato's army was approaching the Satake residence. During this time, Mitsunari and his party had escaped from the Satake residence and barricaded themselves at Fushimi Castle.[16] The following day, the generals surrounded Fushimi Castle with their soldiers as they were aware Mitsunari was hiding there. Tokugawa Ieyasu, who was in charge of political affairs in Fushimi Castle attempted to arbitrate the situation. The generals requested Ieyasu hand over Mitsunari, which Ieyasu refused to do. Ieyasu then negotiated a compromise to allow Mitsunari retire, as well as review the assessment of the Battle of Ulsan Castle in Korea, which was one of the main issues that led to the incident. He had his second son, Yūki Hideyasu, escort Mitsunari to Sawayama Castle.[17] However, historian Watanabe Daimon has also stated in gathering from primary and secondary source texts written about the accident, that this was more of legal conflict between those generals with Mitsunari, rather than a conspiracy to murder him. The role of Ieyasu was not to physically protect Mitsunari from any harm, but instead to mediate the complaints of those generals.[18]

Nevertheless, historians view this incident not just as simple personal issues between those generals and Mitsunari, but more as an extension of the political rivalries of greater scope between the Tokugawa faction and the anti-Tokugawa faction led by Mitsunari. Since this incident, those military figures who were on bad terms with Mitsunari would later support Ieyasu during the conflict of Sekigahara between the Eastern army led by Tokugawa Ieyasu and the Western army led by Ishida Mitsunari.[14][19] Muramatsu Shunkichi, writer of "The Surprising Colors and Desires of the Heroes of Japanese History and Violent Women”, gave his assessment that the reason for Mitsunari's failure in his war against Ieyasu was due to his unpopularity among the major political figures of that era.[20]

Battle Of Sekigahara[edit]

As the Sekigahara Campaign broke out, Nagamasa sided with the Eastern Army led by Ieyasu.

On August 21st, The Eastern Army Alliance, who had sided with Ieyasu Tokugawa, attacked Takegahana castle which was defended by Oda Hidenobu, an ally of the Mitsunari faction.[21] The Eastern Army split themselves into two groups, with 18,000 soldiers led by Ikeda Terumasa and Asano Yoshinaga dispatched to the river crossing, while 16,000 soldiers led by Nagamasa, Fukushima Masanori, Hosokawa Tadaoki, Kyogoku Kochi, Ii Naomasa, Katō Yoshiaki, Tōdō Takatora, Tanaka Yoshimasa, and Honda Tadakatsu headed downstream at Ichinomiya.[22] The first group led by Terumasa crossed the Kiso River and engaged in a battle at Yoneno, routing Hidenobu forces. Elsewhere, Takegahana castle was being reinforced by a general with the Western Army faction named Sugiura Shigekatsu. The second Eastern Army group led by Nagamasa and others crossed the river and launched a direct attack on Takegahana Castle at 9:00 AM on August 22nd. As a final act of defiance, Shigekatsu himself set the castle on fire and committed suicide.[21]

On September 14th, the Mōri clan of the Western Army, via their vassal Kikkawa Hiroie, colluded with the Eastern Army and promised the Mōri clan would change sides during battle, on the condition that they would be pardoned after the war ended. Correspondences between the Mōri clan and the Eastern Army involved Hiroie representing the West, with Nagamasa and his father as representatives of the East. During these discussions they promised to grant pardons to Hiroie and the Mōri clan following the war.[23]

On October 21st, Nagamasa participated in the Battle of Sekigahara on Tokugawa Ieyasu's side.[2] At the final phase of the battle, with the Eastern Army victorious, Nagamasa directed his attention towards Shima Sakon.[24] As a result, Sakon was shot and fatally wounded by a round from an arquebus;[25] one of Nagamasa's soldiers managed to kill Shima Sakon, thus securing part of the Eastern Army's eventual victory. As a reward for his performance in the battle, Ieyasu granted Nagamasa Chikuzen [2] – 520.000 koku – in exchange for his previous fief of Nakatsu in Buzen.[citation needed]

In 1612, Nagamasa went to Kyoto with his eldest son Kuroda Tadayuki, and Tadayuki was given the surname Matsudaira by Tokugawa Hidetada, the second shogun of the Edo shogunate.[26]

Later in 1614-1615, he participated in the Osaka Castle campaigns.[2]

Personal info[edit]

Kuroda Nagamasa possessed Japanese armor or which is simple on its body armor parts. However, armor sets of Nagamasa were notable for his elegant style Kabuto helmets. one of them has unique shape of wave-like ornament on top of it which named ichi-no-tani. Another one has buffalo horns shaped ornaments on the side.[27]


  • Father: Kuroda Yoshitaka
  • Mother: Kushihashi Teru (1553–1627)
  • Wives:
    • Itohime (1571-1645)
    • Eihime (1585-1635)
  • Concubine: Choshu’in
  • Children:
    • Kikuhime married Inoue Yukifusa's son by Itohime
    • Kuroda Tadayuki (1602-1654) by Eihime
    • Tokuko married Sakakibara Tadatsugu by Eihime
    • Kameko married Ikeda Teruoki by Eihime
    • Kuroda Nagaoki (1610-1665) by Eihime
    • Kuroda Masafuyu by Choshu’in
    • Kuroda Takamasa (1612-1639) by Eihime

In popular culture[edit]

Nagamasa is a playable character from the Eastern Army in the original Kessen.

Kuroda is also a popular historical figure. His life, and his relationship to Tokugawa, has been dramatized many times in the annual NHK Taiga Drama series.

Preceded by
Daimyō of Fukuoka
Succeeded by
Kuroda Tadayuki


  1. ^ 福岡藩 (in Japanese). 1998. Archived from the original on March 3, 2016. Retrieved September 17, 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d e Turnbull 2000, p. 53.
  3. ^ Louis Frédéric (2002). Japan encyclopedia. Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. p. 578. ISBN 9780674017535. Retrieved 4 May 2024.
  4. ^ Masaharu Yoshinaga 1997, pp. 258–286.
  5. ^ Masaharu Yoshinaga (2000, pp. 276–290)
  6. ^ a b とーじん さん (2019). "「黒田長政」知略の父・官兵衛とは一線を画す、武勇に優れた将。". 戦国ヒストリー (in Japanese). sengoku-his.com. Retrieved 11 June 2024. "朝日日本歴史人物事典" (Asahi Encyclopedia of Japanese Historical Figures); Rekishi Gunzo Editorial Department, "戦国時代人物事典 / Encyclopedia of Sengoku Jidai Jijinbutsu", Gakken Publishing, 2009; Watanabe Daimon, "黒田官兵衛・長政の野望 もう一つの関ケ原 / Kuroda Kanbei: Nagamasa's Ambition: Another Sekigahara," Kadokawa, 2013.
  7. ^ a b Turnbull 2002, p. 240.
  8. ^ Hawley 2005, p. 224-227.
  9. ^ Hawley 2005, p. 227.
  10. ^ Swope 2009, p. 248.
  11. ^ Hawley 2005, p. 467.
  12. ^ Kiernan, Ben; Madley, Benjamin; Blackhawk, Ned; Taylor, Rebe Taylor, eds. (4 May 2023). The Cambridge World History of Genocide. Cambridge University Press. p. Nadegiri campaign. ISBN 9781108806596. Retrieved 3 May 2024.
  13. ^ 参謀本部 編 (1925). 日本戦史 朝鮮役 (本編・附記) (in Japanese). 偕行社. p. 204. Retrieved 5 May 2024.
  14. ^ a b c Mizuno Goki (2013). "前田利家の死と石田三成襲撃事件" [Death of Toshiie Maeda and attack on Mitsunari Ishida]. 政治経済史学 (in Japanese) (557号).
  15. ^ Watanabe Daimon (2023). ""Ishida Mitsunari Attack Incident" No attack occurred? What happened to the seven warlords who planned it, and Ieyasu?". rekishikaido (in Japanese). PHP Online. pp. 1–2. Retrieved 11 June 2024.
  16. ^ Kasaya Kazuhiko (2000). "豊臣七将の石田三成襲撃事件―歴史認識形成のメカニズムとその陥穽―" [Seven Toyotomi Generals' Attack on Ishida Mitsunari - Mechanism of formation of historical perception and its downfall]. 日本研究 (in Japanese) (22集).
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  20. ^ 歴代文化皇國史大觀 [Overview of history of past cultural empires] (in Japanese). Japan: Oriental Cultural Association. 1934. p. 592. Retrieved 23 May 2024.
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  23. ^ Watanabe Daimon (2023). "関ヶ原合戦の前日、毛利輝元は本領安堵を条件として、徳川家康と和睦していた". yahoo.co.jp/expert/articles/ (in Japanese). 渡邊大門 無断転載を禁じます。 © LY Corporation. Retrieved 3 June 2024.
  24. ^ Pitelka (2016, pp. 118–42)
  25. ^ Bryant 1995, p. 51.
  26. ^ Murakawa Kohei (2000). 日本近世武家政権論 [Early Modern Japanese Samurai Government Theory]. 近代文芸社. p. 103.
  27. ^ Guiseppe Piva (2024). "The Legacy of Warlords: Famous Samurai Armors in History". Giuseppe Piva Japanese Art. giuseppe piva. Retrieved 28 June 2024.