Kuroda Nagamasa

  • Birth: 1568
  • Death: 1623
  • Title: Kai no kami, Chikuzen no kami
  • Sons: Tadayuki [黒田忠之] (Chikuzen no kami; Uemonnosuke; 1602-1654), Nagaoki [黒田長興] (1610-1665), Kuroda Jinshirô [甚四郎], Takamasa[黒田高政] (1612-1639)
  • Childhood name: Matsujumaru
  • Distinction: Toyotomi, Tokugawa retainer
  • Japanese: 黒田長政 (Kuroda Nagamasa)

Nagamasa was the son of Kuroda Yoshitaka and was born in the 12th month of 1568 at Himeji Castle in Harima Province. His mother was a daughter of Kushihashi Yoshiyasu [櫛橋伊定] and his future wife was a daughter of Hachisuka Masakatsu.

At the age of eight he was sent as a hostage to Oda Nobunaga, who had him established at Nagahama Castle [長浜城] in Omi Province. In the fall of 1578 Araki Murashige of Settsu rebelled against Nobunaga and shut himself up in Itami castle. Kuroda Yoshitaka was dispatched to Itami in an effort to negotiate a settlement but failed to return. Nobunaga believed that Yoshitaka had betrayed him, although in fact the latter had been detained against his will. Nobunaga accordingly ordered that the young Nagamasa be executed at once, an order that was luckily circumvented by Takenaka Shigeharu. Nobunaga later granted the use of the character Naga [長] in Nagamasa's adult name.

Following the death of Nobunaga in 1582, the Kuroda, including Nagamasa, experienced steady growth under Hideyoshi owing to the talents of Yoshitaka and the favor that he enjoyed with Hideyoshi as a trusted confidante. Nagamasa distinguished himself in the 1597 invasion of Kyushu at Takarabe Castle [財部城]. Afterwards the Kuroda were established in Buzen Province with a fief valued at around 50,000 koku, Nagamasa himself being awarded the title 'Kai no kami' [甲斐守] and succeeding his father when the latter went into retirement in 1589.

Nagamasa led 6,000 men in the First Korean Campaign (1592-93). He acted as a rearguard of sorts when the Japanese finally withdrew from Korea in 1598, holding the port of Pusan open until all his countrymen could embark. He was given a 120,000-koku fief at Nakatsu in Buzen province.

In 1600 he and his father sided with Tokugawa Ieyasu against Ishida Mitsunari. While Yoshitaka fought against Ishida's allies on Kyushu, Nagamasa led 5,400 men in the Tokugawa vanguard at Sekigahara and was afterwards praised for his efforts by Ieyasu. In the aftermath of the Tokugawa victory, he was given a 520,000-koku fief in Chikuzen province at Najima [名島] and built Fukuoka castle, replacing the Kobayakawa clan, who had held the region since 1588.[1] Nagamasa also contributed to the construction of Edo castle, personally overseeing the building of the keep. He next went on to serve in the Osaka Castle Campaigns and fought under Tokugawa Hidetada.

Nagamasa fell ill in Kyoto in advance of a visit by Tokugawa Hidetada and died at the Chionji [知恩寺] in the 8th month. He was succeeded by his eldest son, Tadayuki, who was to assist in the defeat of the Shimabara Rebellion (1638).

Of Nagamasa's three daughters, one married into the Inoue [井上], one married Sakikabara Tadatsugu, and the other married Ikeda Teruoki.

Like his father, Nagamasa had been a Christian but readily gave it up when ordered to do so by the Tokugawa.


  • Initial text from Sengoku Biographical Dictionary (Samurai-Archives.com) FWSeal & CEWest, 2005
  • Bryant, Anthony Sekigahara 1600 Osprey Military 1995
  • Sengoku Jinmei Jiten
  • Kuwata, Tadachika Sengoku no Bushô Sanjûnin Koizumi Seihon, Inc. 1996
  • Sadler, A. L. The Maker of Modern Japan Tuttle 1989
  1. Arne Kalland, Fishing Villages in Tokugawa Japan, University of Hawaii Press (1995), 16.