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Kamei Korenori

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Korenori assumed the name Kamei as a young man as that Amako retainer family had been left without an heir after the death of Kamei Hidetsuna in battle with the Môri. Korenori joined Yamanaka Shikanosuke (to whom he was connected by virtue of marrying the younger sister of Shikanosuke's wife) in fighting to revive the fortunes of the Amako (who had fallen to the Môri in 1566). When the Amako cause finally died (along with Amako Katsuhisa and, later, Shikanosuke) with the fall of Kozuki castle in 1578, Korenori became a retainer of Toyotomi Hideyoshi. He received Shikano castle in Inaba province and participated in the Kyushu Campaign (1587).

A native of Izumo province and interested in foreign trade, Kamei sought a coastal domain with good harbors, such as Izumo, as a reward for his aid against the Môri; unfortunately for him, Izumo had been given to the Môri as part of the truce arrangements. He then suggested that Hideyoshi grant him the Ryukyu Islands, which Hideyoshi granted him on 1582/6/8, despite wielding no actual control over or claim to the islands; according to a possibly apocryphal story, Hideyoshi inscribed "Lord of Ryukyu" on a paper fan and bestowed this upon Kamei. This fan would later be found upon a wrecked Japanese warship by Korean warriors during Hideyoshi's invasions of Korea. Kamei gathered his forces in 1590, sending a large warship with some 3,500 men to Nagoya castle in Kyushu, to prepare for an invasion of Ryûkyû. However, hearing of this, Shimazu Yoshihisa communicated with Ryûkyû, telling the kingdom that though they were originally going to be expected to contribute 15,000 men to Hideyoshi's invasions of Korea, they could be permitted to only supply rice and funding. Hideyoshi was reportedly impressed with Yoshihisa's close relationship with Ryûkyû, and granted the Shimazu recognition of some authority over Ryûkyû; Kamei was ordered to give up on Ryûkyû, and was promised the Chinese city of Taizhou, instead, following the invasions of Korea and China.[1]

Kamei later supported Tokugawa Ieyasu's cause during the Sekigahara Campaign and afterwards saw his income increased from 13,000 koku to 43,000 koku. Following his death, Kamei was buried at Kôdai-ji in Kyoto, where Hideyoshi and his wife Nene are buried as well.

References

  • Initial text from Sengoku Biographical Dictionary (Samurai-Archives.com) FWSeal & CEWest, 2005
  • Kerr, George. Okinawa: The History of an Island People. Boston: Tuttle Publishing, 2000. pp151-155.
  • Kirino Sakujin 桐野作人. "Satsuryû kankei to Kamei Ryûkyû no kami" 薩琉関係と亀井「琉球守」. Minami Nihon Shimbunsha 373news.com. 28 March 2009.
  1. Akamine Mamoru, Lina Terrell (trans.), Robert Huey (ed.), The Ryukyu Kingdom: Cornerstone of East Asia, University of Hawaii Press (2017), 59-60.; some have suggested that once Kamei built up such a force, Hideyoshi decided that a military invasion of Ryûkyû was undesirable at that time, whether because of the potential difficulties and losses in battle, or for other reasons, and therefore reassigned Kamei's territorial grant. Gregory Smits, Maritime Ryukyu, University of Hawaii Press (2019), 214.
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