Kobayakawa Takakage

Kobayakawa Takakage

Kobayakawa Takakage

Some feudal lords were also samurai warriors just like Kobayakawa Takakage. He was a Daimyo and Samurai who lived from the Sengoku period until the Azuchi-Momoyama period.

Being the third son of Mori Motonari, he was taken in as a member of the Kobayakawa clan. He rose to prominence by being the declared 14th head of the Kobayakawa family.

He was able to merge the two branches of his clans which includes Takehara and Numata. While Kobayakawa Takakage was the head, he was able to expand their territory.

Kobayakawa Takakage Younger Years

Kobakayawa Takakage was born in 1533 and was given the childhood name Tokujumaru. He was the third son of Mori Motonari and his wife Myokyu.

It was the death of the 13th head of the Kobayakawa clan that propelled Takakage into power as the 14th head of his clan. The previous 13th head, Kobayakawa Okikage, died in sickness while attacking Sato Kanayama Castle.

This head had no heir which immediately made Takakage the successor at a young age of 12 years. Before he was given the name Kobayakawa Takakage, he was only known by his childhood name.

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Kobayakawa Takakage: Commander in His Clan

Takakage was highly esteemed due to his efforts for capturing castles and forts like Kannabe Castle and Ryuoyama Fort. There was another branch of the Kobayawaka clan whose clan head was both blind and young.

Due to this situation, this specific branch of the Kobayakawa decided to let Takakage become their heir. This helped seal the two rivalling branches into one, and further solidified the leadership of Takakage.

After he became the head of these merged clans, Takakage decided to move into Takayama Castle as the base of the Numata branch.

However, he proceeded to build another main castle which was known as Niitakayama Castle. By this time, he had married Lady Toida to further improve his career. The marriage was arranged to bind his succession into power.

Kobayakawa Takakage: Collaboration with the Mori Clan

As head of the clan, Kobayakawa Takakage was an active commander over the Mori Army. He and his brother, Kikkawa Motoharu, were known as the Mori Ryokawa which translates to Mori’s Two Rivers.

Being head of his clan, he expanded their territory while simultaneously protecting the Mori family. He safeguarded the family by fighting for them in all of the campaigns that they were involved with.

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Hideyoshi’s Retainer

Life as a samurai was not easy and Takakage had no clue as to which among the lords he should work with. At first he opposed both Oda Nobunaga and Toyotomi Hideyoshi.

However, he changed his strategy and later on swore his loyalty to Hideyoshi. For his efforts he was awarded richly with domains in the following provinces:

  • Iyo Province
  • Shikoku Province
  • Chikuzen Province of Kyushu

All of the rewards he acquired were given to him by his lord Toyotomi Hideyoshi. These totalled to 350,000 Koku. Kobayakawa Takakage was also given the title of Chunagon – counselor of the 2nd rank in the country’s Imperial Court.

He was even included as part of the Council of Five Elders, yet died before this took place.

Image Source: Victorlarsson [CC BY-SA]