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Nabeshima Naoshige

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Naoshige was a son of Nabeshima Kiyosada and was known for the first half of his career as Nobumasa. He proved himself one of Ryûzôji Takanobu's most talented generals. In 1570 he was with Takanobu in Saga castle when it was surrounded by a 60,000-man Ôtomo army. Despite having only 5,000 men on hand, Naoshige suggested a bold night attack on the Ôtomo's headquarters and led a force that slipped out and made the raid which routed the enemy force. In February 1575 he attacked Suko castle in western Hizen and forced its commander, Hirai Tsuneharu, to commit suicide. He was present at the Battle of Okitanawate but was unable to prevent the rout that followed Takanobu's death. He took advantage of the weakness of Takanobu's heir, Masaie, to draw away from the Ryûzôji and lent his support to Hideyoshi when his armies invaded Kyushu in 1587. Afterwards he was given much of the old Ryûzôji territory, including Saga Castle, and led 12,000 men to Korea in the 1st Korean Campaign. Naoshige sent his son Katsushige to serve Tokugawa Ieyasu during the Sekigahara Campaign, and recalled him when Katsushige indicated a desire to serve Ishida Mitsunari instead. His 357,000-koku fief went untouched by Ieyasu following the Tokugawa victory. Numerous stories about Naoshige survive, thanks in part to attention the Nabeshima received in the later work Hagakure. He had been married to a daughter of Ishii Tsunenobu and one of his granddaughters married Ryûzôji Takafusa.


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