Kimotsuki clan

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  • Japanese: 肝付家 (Kimotsuki ke)

The Kimotsuki clan claimed descent from Dazaifu officials and became a prominent ruling family in Ôsumi province in the Heian and medieval periods. In the Nanboku-chô period, they fought for the Southern Court, against the Shimazu clan of southern Kyushu.

The Kimotsuki expanded their control over the Ôsumi peninsula from a base at Takayama castle (in what is today the town of Kimotsuki, Kagoshima prefecture), and actively engaged in maritime trade. Kimotsuki Kaneoki's daughter married Shimazu Takahisa, and his son Kimotsuki Kanetsugu married O-Minami, a daughter of Shimazu Tadayoshi. Despite these interconnections between the clans, however, the two became opposed to one another, as Kimotsuki expansion across Ôsumi and Hyûga provinces began to threaten Shimazu territory in Satsuma province. Kanetsugu's son Kimotsuki Yoshikane married a daughter of the Itô clan, and also opposed the Shimazu, but died of illness in 1571. His younger brother, Kimotsuki Kanesuke, then became head of the clan and continued to fight the Shimazu, but was exiled to Hyûga province by his mother, Shimazu O-Minami.

A branch family of the Kimotsuki submitted to the Shimazu in 1574, followed by the main branch in 1580,[1] becoming Shimazu retainers. In the Edo period, the Kimotsuki were granted Kiire as their sub-fief.

Selected Members of the Kimotsuki clan


  1. Plaques on-site at Tôfukuji castle.[1]