Tachibana Muneshige

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Tachibana Muneshige
Tachibana Muneshige
Head of Tachibana clan
In office
Preceded byTachibana Ginchiyo
Succeeded byTachibana Tadashige
Lord of Tanagura
In office
Succeeded byNiwa Nagashige
Lord of Yanagawa
In office
(1587-1600) – (1620-1638)
Preceded byTanaka Tadamasa
Succeeded byTachibana Tadashige
Personal details
Senkumamaru (千熊丸)

December 18, 1567
DiedNovember 15, 1643(1643-11-15) (aged 75)
SpouseTachibana Ginchiyo
RelativesTachibana Dōsetsu (father-in-law)
Other nameTachibana Munetora (立花宗虎 or 立花統虎)
Military service
Allegiance Tachibana clan
Ōtomo clan
Toyotomi clan
Western Army
Tokugawa shogunate
UnitTakahashi clan
Tachibana clan
CommandsYanagawa castle
Battles/warsBattle of Dazaifu
Battle of Haratsuru
Battle of Iwato
Amakusa Rebellion
Kyūshū Campaign
Siege of Odawara
Korean Campaign
Siege of Ōtsu
Siege of Yanagawa
Siege of Osaka
Shimabara Rebellion

Tachibana Muneshige (立花宗茂, December 18, 1567 – November 15, 1643), was a Japanese samurai, known in his youth as Senkumamaru (千熊丸) and alternatively called Tachibana Munetora (立花宗虎 or 立花統虎), during the Azuchi–Momoyama period and an Edo-period daimyō.

He was the eldest biological son of Takahashi Shigetane, a senior retainer of Ōtomo clan.[1] He was adopted by Tachibana Dōsetsu,[1] and later married his daughter Tachibana Ginchiyo, succeeding the Tachibana clan.

His height, estimated from the armor he was wearing, was about 175-180 cm.[2][3] Also, from the stories of Honda Tadakatsu, It was suggested that Muneshige was tall and rode a large horse.[4] Muneshige also received the license from the Hekiryu school from Omura Tsuneyoshi in 1590, Nakae Shinpachi in October 1601, and Yoshida Shigetake in 1602, In school of archery.[5][6][7]


In July 27 1581, Tachibana Dōsetsu and Takahashi Shigetane fought against Tsukushi Hirokado and Akizuki Tanezane in the second Battle of Dazaifu Kanzeon-ji. It is in this battle that, Takahashi Munetora, who will be known as Tachibana Muneshige, saw his first notable action.[8][9]

Contemporary Italian jesuit Alessandro Valignano has recorded that Muneshige later being adopted as son by Dōsetsu and inherited the Tachibana clan.[10] At first, Shigetane declined as he also need Muneshige to inherit the Takahashi clan. However, Dōsetsu implored him and stating that although he had Ginchiyo as inheritor of his clan, but he needed strong young samurai to lead the Tachibana clan in the future, as he further stated his reason that after his death, he need strong commanders to lead the both Takahashi clan and Tachibana clan to defend the declining Ōtomo clan. As he saw the Takahashi Shigetane potential heirs were many, then he need Muneshige inherit the command of Tachibana. Thus Shigetane finally accepted this reason and agree to give Muneshige for the Tachibana clan.[11] Then, as he secured the adoption, Dōsetsu immediately changed the lordships of Tachibana clan from his daughter, Ginchiyo, to Muneshige.[12][13]

On November 6, Dōsetsu marched to Kama and Honami along with Muneshige and Shigetane. While on their way to the rescue of Kutami Akiyasu, the Tachibana and Takahashi forces received information that Akiyasu had safely retreated after fighting Akizuki Tanezane and Monjūjo Munekage (the great uncle of Munekage) in the Battle of Haratsuru, so they retreated. However, Tanezane forces turns out still pursuing them. Both fierce battles resulted in over 1,000 casualties, including over 300 casualties from Tachibana and Takahashi, and 760 for the Akizuki clan.[a]

On April 16, 1582, during the Battle of Iwato against the combined forces of 2,000 from the Akizuki, Harada, and Munakata clans, Dōsetsu led a 500-strong ambush force and surrounded his 1,000-strong main force. 300 of Muneshige's troops launched a surprise attack from the side with guns, while the remaining 200 soldiers were led by Komono Masutoki, who set up a false flag to make it look like reinforcements from the Otomo clan were coming, and finally managed to lift the siege. Muneshige then led 1,000 cavalry including Komono Masutoki, Korenobu Yufu, and Shigeyuki Ono, eliminating 300 of the Harada general's troops, Kasa Okinaga, who had built a fort at Iwatosho Kubeno, killing 150 of them, and pursuing them west to Sawara County, where he burned down Harada Chikahide's Sawara Castle.[21][22][23][24]

On March 17, 1583, he killed Yoshiwara Sadayasu in the Battle of Yoshiwaraguchi,[25][26] and on April 23, he captured Munakata Ujisada's castle, Konomiyama Castle, and Ryutoku Castle in Suginami, forcing them to surrender.[27]

In 1587, After the Tachibana clan siding with Toyotomi Hideyoshi and he had conquered Kyushu in 1587, Muneshige split from the Ōtomo to become a daimyō in his own right. He was given Yanagawa castle in Chikugo province, after this the Tachibana became an independent clan. Later, Muneshige involved in the suppression of rebels from Amakusa. In this campaign, a famous Tokugawa clan warrior, Mizuno Katsunari, served under Muneshige.[28][29]

in 1597 during the Keicho Korean Invasion, Muneshige was not incorporated into the invading army but was ordered to defend Busan.[30] Later, there is change of plan in operation as now Mori Yoshinari assigned to the defense of Busan, while Muneshige was assigned to the defense of Goseong and Angolpo Japanese castles. In the subsequent First Battle of Ulsan Castle, he was in charge of the defense of Goseong Japanese castle, and is said to have participated in the battle two days later.[31]

In 1600, at Sekigahara campaign, he sided with the 'Western army'.[1] Muneshige manage to force the Eastern army warlord Kyōgoku Takatsugu to surrender in the Siege of Ōtsu.[32] However, after learning that the Western Army had been annihilated in the battle of Sekigahara, he returned to Osaka Castle.[33] At first, Muneshige urged Mōri Terumoto to prepare resistance in Osaka castle against the Eastern army. However, Terumoto decided that he did not want to resist against the Eastern army, and rather submitted to Tokugawa Ieyasu as he marched to Osaka castle.[34] Later, Muneshige back to Chikugo and surrendered to Tokugawa after the Siege of Yanagawa under the assumption that he could then switch sides and aid the Tokugawa-loyal forces against the Shimazu clan of Satsuma. After the battle of Sekigahara, he was deprived of the Yanagawa Domain for punishment by Tokugawa Ieyasu.[1]

in 1603, Muneshige went down to Edo, and with the help of Honda Tadakatsu, began living in seclusion at the Hosshō-ji Temple in Takada with his attendants, including Korenobu Yufu and Totoki Tsunetada. In 1604, he was summoned to Edo Castle on Tadakatsu's recommendation. Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu, who knew Muneshige's abilities well, awarded him 5,000 koku as the Shogunate's Goinbanto (head of the Shogun's personal guards). Soon after, he was selected as one of the attendant of his eldest son, Tokugawa Hidetada, and in 1606, he was given 10,000 koku in Mutsu Tanagura (Nango) and returned to his position as a daimyo. At this time, he changed his name from Naomasa to Toshimasa.[35]

In 1614, He participated in the Siege of Osaka as military advisor of the second shogun, Tokugawa Hidetada, as his military strategist and in charge of guarding the area.[36] Muneshige correctly predicted the movements of the general of Toyotomi, Ono Harufusa's troops and guided Hidetada's troops.[37]

After the campaign against Toyotomi Hideyori ended in 1615 and later he was brought back to the former territory, Yanagawa.[1]

In 1637, Muneshige served in the shogunate army during the Shimabara Rebellion (1637-1638), a revolt involving mostly Japanese peasants, most of them Catholics. He was then given a small territory in Tanagura.[1]

Muneshige in popular culture[edit]

See People of the Sengoku period in popular culture.



Foot notes[edit]

  1. ^ ^ The Tachibana side referred to this battle as the Battle of Junnohara (also called the Third Battle of Kama and Honami, the Battle of Junnohara, or the Second Battle of Yagiyama-Ishizaka (a battle that took place at the Dainichi-ji entrance on the Yagiyama Ishizaka road in Honami County, a different battle from the Second Battle of Dazaifu Kanzeonji and the Second Battle of Dazaifu Ishizaka in Ishizaka, Dazaifu City on July 27 of the same year)), while the Akizuki side referred to it as the Battle of Yagiyama.[14][15][16][17][18][19][20]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Tachibana Mueshige". kotobank. Retrieved 30 October 2021.
  2. ^ "鉄皺革包月輪文最上胴具足". Google Arts & Cultures (in Japanese). Google. Retrieved 30 May 2024.
  3. ^ "伊予札縫延栗色革包仏丸胴具足". Google Arts & Cultures (in Japanese). Google. Retrieved 30 May 2024.
  4. ^ Yano Kazutada (1926, p. 528~529)
  5. ^ Nakano Hitoshi (2001). Japan Historical Society (ed.). 立花宗茂. 人物叢書227. 吉川弘文館. p. 260. ISBN 978-4-642-05220-7.
  6. ^ Yoshida Shigetake (1602). "日置流弓條々". Google Arts & Cultures (in Japanese). Google. Retrieved 30 May 2024.
  7. ^ Yoshida Shigeru. "金溜地塗籠弓". Google Arts & Cultures (in Japanese). Google. Retrieved 30 May 2024.
  8. ^ Nakano Anai (2012, p. 47)
  9. ^ Banri Hoashi (1835, p. 87)
  10. ^ Alessandro Valignano (1954, pp. 114–6)
  11. ^ Kan Kikuchi (1942). 評註名将言行録 中 ["Annotated Records of the Words and Deeds of Famous Generals"]. 非凡閣. p. 471. Retrieved 31 May 2024.
  12. ^ Yoshinaga 1977, pp. 148=151.
  13. ^ Nakano Anai (2012, pp. 8–9)
  14. ^ Banri Hoashi (1835, pp. 104–105)
  15. ^ Banri Hoashi (1835, pp. 126~128)
  16. ^ Masato Fujino (2011, pp. 88-89 Buzen Memorandum (5) Details of the Siege of Tachibana Castle)
  17. ^ 『柳河戦死者名譽錄』(二〇)筑前潤野原 天正九年 十一月六日 P.12
  18. ^ Yoshinaga Masaharu (2009, pp. 138–139)
  19. ^ Nakano Anai (2012, p. 58-59)
  20. ^ Kazutada 1926, p. 371.
  21. ^ Banri Hoashi (1835, pp. 124)
  22. ^ Yoshinaga Masaharu (2009, pp. 165~167)
  23. ^ 『柳河戦死者名譽錄』(二二)筑前岩門庄久邊野 天正十年 四月十六日 P.12
  24. ^ Nakano Anai (2012, p. 64)
  25. ^ Banri Hoashi (1835, p. 123)
  26. ^ Nakano Anai (2012, pp. 59)
  27. ^ Yoshinaga Masaharu (2009, pp. 164~165, 174~175)
  28. ^ Hotta Masaatsu (1755-1832); Jussai Hayashi (1768-1841) (1992). Shigeru, Chikano (ed.). Kansei chōshū shokafu. Kamon / [hensha Chikano Shigeru] 寬政重修諸家譜. 家紋 / [編者千賀野茂]. 新訂. Retrieved 21 May 2024.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  29. ^ Iida Tadahiko (1904). 野史: 291卷, Volumes 6-10. 吉川弘文館. p. 立花宗茂水野勝成赴伐賊略脉二月二十七日耶蘇賊亡死者三萬七千餘人. Retrieved 30 May 2024.
  30. ^ Nakano Anai (2012, pp. 566~568, "Yanagawa City History" Historical Materials Volume V Early Modern Documents (Part 2) Supplement 1 Tachibana Documents 1.)
  31. ^ Nakano Anai (2012, pp. 373, "History of Yanagawa City" Historical Materials Vol. V Early Modern Documents (Part 1) 61 Tachibana Documents 81.)
  32. ^ National History Research Society (1916). 国史叢書 (in Japanese). National History Research Society. p. 48. Retrieved 30 May 2024.
  33. ^ 参謀本部 編 (1911). Japanese War History: The Battle of Sekihara (in Japanese). 元真社. Retrieved 30 May 2024.
  34. ^ Yano Kazutada (1926, p. 590~593)
  35. ^ Nakano Anai (2012, pp. 200–201)
  36. ^ Takamoto Shimei (1916). 立花遺香 銀台遺事 銀台拾遺 (日本偉人言行資料) (in Japanese). National History Research Association. pp. 111–112. Retrieved 30 May 2024.
  37. ^ 著者参謀本部 (1893). "(補伝 第二百三十宗茂の卓識) / Supplementary Biography No. 230: The Brilliant Knowledge of Muneshige". 『日本戦史・大坂役』 ["Japanese War History: The Battle of Osaka"] (in Japanese). 元真社. Retrieved 30 May 2024.


Further reading[edit]

Preceded by Tachibana family head
Succeeded by