3. 1000-1200 Mongol invasion and Kikuchi Clan

Primer questions
1. Who were Genghis Khan and Kublai Khan, and what did they do?
2. What do you know about the Kikuchi clan?
3. What was the Kanmu Restoration?

Near the end of the Heian era, great clans developed in Higo and elsewhere, and these needed personal armies of warriors to protect themselves, leading to the development of samurai. In Higo, there were three great clans: Kikuchi菊池in the North, Aso 阿蘇in the East, and Sagara 相良in the South, especially present day Hitoyoshi. Wikipedia (Kikuchi clan) says that “Along with the Otomo, Ouchi, Shoni and Shimazu, [the Kikuchi clan] would write the history of the island of Kyushu.”

The Kikuchi clan was especially involved in battles with foreign invaders. In 1019, the founder of the clan Fujiwara no Noritaka 藤原 則隆fought against the Jurchens (女真) when they invaded northern Kyushu (Toi Invasion 刀伊の入寇). As a reward, Noritaka moved to Kikuchi and became the founder of the Kikuchi clan.

In Heian Japan, the Fujiwara clan controlled most of the government. However, two other powerful clans, the Taira and Minamoto, also fought for power with powerful samurai armies, culminating in the Genpei war of 1180-1185. The final major battle was at Dan-no-Ura between Kyushu and Honshu, and the Taira clan lost, leading many to escape and hide in the mountains of Kyushu. In Kumamoto, there is a Heike-no-sato in the mountains of Gokanosho near Yatsushiro. Kikuchi Takanao and Yoshitaka, 6th and 8th heads of the Kikuchi clan, both fought against the Minamoto family.

In 1274 and 1281, under Kublai Khan, the Mongols tried to invade Japan through Fukuoka. At that time, Kikuchi Takefusa (菊池 次郎 武房10th head of Kikuchi Clan) fought against them, and was rewarded for his valor.

Most people know about the Meiji restoration, but there was another restoration of the Emperor, however, between the Kamakura (1192-1333) and Muromachi (1338-1573) eras. This was called the Kenmu restoration (建武の新政), when Emperor Go-Daigo tried to gain political power. At that time, Kikuchi Taketoki ( 菊池 武時12th head) fought for him. But Go-Daigo eventually lost, and Taketoki and one of his sons were captured and beheaded in Fukuoka. Fifteen shrines were built to commemorate people who aided Go-Daigo, and Kikuchi and Yatsushiro Shrines are two of them. Yatsushiro commemorates Go-Daigo’s son, whereas Kikuchi commemorates Taketoki.

From the Hakata Nikki: "So the heads of Kikuchi nyudo, his son Saburo, Jakua's younger brother Kakusho, and the wakato were hung up in the place where warriors practice shootings dogs from horses. Jakua's, Saburo's, and Kakusho's [heads] were displayed separately. In the evening they were taken down and placed in the residence where they remained for about ten days. Then they were nailed to a board and a sign said that they were heads of the rebels, Kikuchi Tarō nyuda Jakua, his son Saburo, and Jakua's younger brother, Jirō Saburō nyudo Kakusho."[8]

Go-Daigo lost his government after three years to the Ashikaga, and the Imperial house was to split between the North and South courts from 1336-1392. This split allowed the Ashikaga family, aligned with the North court to reign freely during Muromachi era. However, Kikuchi Takemitsu (菊池 武光15th head and 9th son of Taketoki) loyally fought in the Nanboku-cho era on the side of Emperor Go-Daigo as his father had done.

	The clan continued to rule over Higo until 1554, when Otomo Sorin, who was ruling in Funai (Oita) and battled with and conquered the 26th head of the Kikuchi clan, Yoshitake, who also happened to be his uncle. The Ouchi clan, based in Yamaguchi, replaced the Kikuchi clan in Kumamoto, but they too lost power and dissolved in 1557, to be replaced by the Mori family in much of southern Honshu, and the Otomo clan in northern Kyushu. Satsuma, to the south, was also struggling in this era to gain power and briefly held most of Higo from 1584-1587.

Although the Kikuchi clan dispersed (many going to Tohoku), the samurai tradition continued even through to the Meiji Era. The famous last samurai, Saigo Takamori, was descended from the Kikuchi clan. When Saigo was exiled to Okinoerabu Island, he used the name Kikuchi Gengo (菊池源吾). Saigo’s son Kikujiro (西郷菊次郎)was an early Meiji international man, who studied in America and became a mayor of both Kyoto and Yilan County in Taipei, Taiwan.
//pics of Takamori and Kikujiro//

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