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Encyclopedia > Shimazu Yoshihisa

Shimazu Yoshihisa (島津義久; February 9, 1533-March 5, 1611) is a daimyo of Satsuma Province and the eldest son of Shimazu Takahisa. His mother is a daughter of Nyurai'in Shigesato(入来院重聡), Yukimado(雪窓). Shimazu Yoshihiro and Shimazu Toshihisa are his brothers.

His childhood name was Torajumaru(虎寿丸) but went by the name of Matasaburo(又三郎). On his gempuku, he took the name of Tadayoshi(忠良) but after receiving a kanji from the shogun Ashikaga Yoshiteru, changed to Yoshitatsu(義辰). He later changed his name to Yoshihisa. He married an aunt and after her death, married a daughter of Tanegashima Tokiaki.

On 1566, he succeeded as the head of Shimazu clan after his father to become the sixteenth leader. Working together with his brother Yoshihiro, Toshihisa, and Shimazu Iehisa, he launched a campaign to unify Kyushu. Starting on 1572 with the win against Ito clan at the battle of Kigasakihara, Yoshihisa would win victories after victories. On 1578, he won against Otomo clan at the battle of Mimigawa, on 1583 aganist Ryuzoji clan, and on 1584 against Aso clan. By the middle of 1580s, he and Shimazu clan would control most of Kyushu with the exception of Otomo's domain and an unification was not far into the future.

However, on 1587 Toyotomi Hideyoshi launched a campaign to pacify Kyushu with an overwhelming force of over 200,000, at least five times the number of troop under Yoshihisa's command, and Shimazu troop was driven back to Satsuma province where they were forced to surrender. Most of domains they had conquered were divided by Hideyoshi and the Shimazu clan managed to retain only Satsuma Province and Osumi Province. Yoshihisa shaved his head to surrender showing that he would become a Buddhist monk if his life was spared. His name as a monk was Ryuhaku(龍伯) but it is unclear whether he retired to have Yoshihiro rule. As a retainer under Hideyoshi, his younger brother Yoshihiro controlled troops, but it is believed that Yoshihisa still managed day-to-day affairs in the domain. Yoshihisa did not have a son to succeed him, so he had Yoshihiro's son, Shimazu Tadatsune marry the third daughter Kameju(亀寿) and adopted him as the succesor.

After Hideyoshi made decision on Yoshihisa's domain, Yoshihisa was invited by Tokugawa Ieyasu to Fushimi Castle. It is said that after asked repeatedly by Ieyasu and his retainers on how he almost unified Kyushu, Yoshihisa finally relented and said "My three younger brothers led by Yoshihiro as well as retainers like Niro Tadamoto fought so well united under the same goal, I never had a chance to show bravery in a battle. I only had to wait in the Kagoshima Castle for news brought by messengers of their victories." After Yoshihisa left, Ieyasu told his retainers that "(Yoshihisa had, as) a general let retainers under him work to the best of their abilities. This is how a great general should be."

He died of an illness on 1611. His posthumous name was 貫明存忠庵主. He was buried at what had once been the site of Fukushoji in Kagoshima, Kagoshima and there is still a tombstone along with all other leaders of the clan. There are also monuments built in his memory at Kokubun city, Ima Kumano Kannonji(今熊野観音寺) in Kyoto, Kyoto, and Koyasan. There is no portrait of Yoshihisa remaining but in Taiheiji at Kawauchi, Kagoshima, there is a bronze figure of Yoshihisa of the surrender against Hideyoshi that was made after he passed away.

His knowledge of culture is not widely known but he had Hosokawa Yusai teach him classic literatures and Kampaku Konoe Wakihisa who was skilled in, but not limited to waka and renga was said to have frequented Yoshihisa's house.

  Results from FactBites:
Shimazu Yoshihisa (2043 words)
Shimazu Yoshihisa was the eldest son of Shimazu Takahisa (1514-1571) and a lady of the Iriki-in family.
Yoshihisa had made a grave mistake in his underestimation of Hideyoshi, but as 1586 drew to a close, the latter's threats may have seemed a moot point.
Their reasoning was that the Shimazu seemed to have drawn back to rest (as indeed they had) and this presented a fine opportunity to relieve Toshimitsu, a nearby castle currently under siege by Niiro Tadamoto.
  More results at FactBites »



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