The Takanashi clan (高梨氏)

The Takanashi clan was a samurai family that dominated the north of Shinano Province (Takai and Minochi counties). The clan's base, in its prime, was the area of what is now Nakano City, Nagano Prefecture.

From the late Heian period to the Genpei War

The Takanashi clan announces its name as Inoue of the prominent Seiwa Genji (Minamoto clan) in northern Shinano, and claims descendency from Morimitsu TAKANASHI, a son of MINAMOTO no Iesue. However, because there are uncertain aspects of its genealogy and the Takanashi clan fought in the Genpei War along with the Nishina clan of northern Azumi, not the Inoue clan, the Takanashi clan probably doesn't belong to the Inoue clan, considering the custom of the time. However, a member of the Takanashi clan (as well as one from the Nishina clan) was a son-in-law of Kaneto NAKAHARA, so that the relation by marriage may have made the Takanashi clan join the army of the Nakahara clan, a consort clan, instead of the Inoue clan, the paternal relative.

Takanobu TAKANASHI and Tadanao TAKANASHI, who were affiliated with MINAMOTO no Yoshinaka, won the Heike led by JO no Sukemochi, who had moved south from Echigo, and then seem to have accompanied Minamoto no Yoshinaka to his end, because it is recorded that Tadanao TAKANASHI was executed at the Rokujo-gawara riverbed, in Kyoto. When Yoritomo moved to Kyoto with his gokenin (an immediate vassal of the shogunate in the Kamakura and Muromachi through Edo periods)in 1190, Jiro TAKANASHI was included among the gokenin, so that the Takanashi clan is considered to have retained its position as gokenin during the Kamakura period. Subsequently, the clan expanded its territory northward, having marriage connections with the Hoshina clan and so on.

The period of the Northern and Southern Courts
During the period of the Northern and Southern Courts, the Takashina clan and the powerful Murakami clan, which was active in Hanishina County, were on the Northern Court side, and Tsuneyori TAKANASHI (along with Tametsune OGASAWARA and Mitsumune OGASAWARA) fought Munesada NETSU, the local governor for Naoyori SUWA, on the side of Naoyoshi ASHIKAGA, at Nobehara (Nobe, Suzaka City) in July of 1351 at Tobe Gawara, Zenko-ji Temple, Yonago-jo Castle (Yonago, Suzaka City) in September. The Takanashi clan resisted the governor Yoshitane SHIBA, rose in arms at Zenko-ji Temple along with Yorikuni MURAKAMI, Seijun OGASAWARA and Taro NAGANUMA in 1387, attacked the prefectural office in Hirashiba (Amori, Nagano City) in May, fought at Urushidahara (Nakagosho, Nagano City), captured Yokoyama-jo Castle (in which Ujiyasu NINOMIYA, Shugodai [deputy of Shugo, provincial constable] had taken refuge) in September, and attacked Namani-jo Castle (Amamiya, Chikuma City). It is recorded that Goro TAKANASHI and Tokitsuna TAKANASHI fought Shinkaku KOSAKA (the sixth head of the Kosaka clan, which seems to have been the Nezu clan) in northern Shinano on the Southern Court side.

The mid-Muromachi period
In the Oto War between Nagahide OGASAWARA, the Shinano governor, and local lords in 1400, northern Shinano lords such as the Takanashi clan and the Inoue family gathered 500 warriors, while the Murakami clan gathered 500 warriors and the prominent Unno clan of eastern Shinano gathered only 300. When Shigetada HOSOKAWA entered the province as a local governor in 1403, the Murakami clan, the Oi clan and the Inoue clan did not obey him, so that Shigetada fought them at Dannohara or Namani-jo Castle but ultimately took flight, and then fought Tomohide TAKANASHI in January, 1405. The Takanashi clan was successful in dominating the northern parts of Zenkojidaira and a part of Echigo during the period of the Northern and Southern Courts. During the Muromachi period, the head family of the Takanashi, Yamada Takanashi, Nakamura Takanashi and Ebe Takanashi were called the four families of Takanashi (from 'the history of Kamitakai').

Geographically, the Takanashi clan came to be influenced by the force of nearby Echigo Province, where it had property. Masataka TAKANASHI defeated Uesugi Umanokami (Captain of the Right Division of Bureau of Horses), who was the appointed Shinano governor, a member of Fusasada UESUGI, Echigo governor when Umanokami invaded Takahashi, Takai County (Saijo, Nakano City). The Takahashi clan, as well as the Murakami clan in Shinano, came to be recognized as major force in northern Shinano.

Since the Warring States period
In Masamori TAKANASHI's time, to strengthen the connection between the Takanashi and Nagao clans, the deputy governor of Echigo, Masamori, had his daughter marry Yoshikage NAGAO (since Masamori and Yoshikage were at the same age, she was probably a daughter of Masataka) and the daughter bore Tamekage NAGAO (the father of Kenshin UESUGI), who ultimately became a deputy governor of Echigo, so that the Takanashi clan was involved in the conflict between the Uesugi clan, the governor of Echigo, and the Nagao clan in Echigo during the late Muromachi period.

The Takanashi clan helped Tamekage assassinate Fusayoshi UESUGI, the governor of Echigo, in 1507. Akisada UESUGI of Kanto kanrei (a shogunal deputy for the Kanto region), a brother of Fusayoshi, ejected Tamekage, but went to fight in the Battle of Nagamorihara in 1510 for the Tamekage side, whereupon he died. Masamori deprived Nakano in the northern parts of Zenkojidaira and made it a base around 1513, which led to the heyday of the clan. However, Masamori died within the year, the conflict between Tamekage and Sadazane UESUGI, a new governor, took place in Echigo, local lords in northern Shinano (including the neighboring Inoue family) sided with the Uesugi, and the Takanashi clan was isolated as the Nagao side. The conflict with the Murakami clan, which intended to take possession of Zenkojidaira, took place, and the Takanashi clan was thus destabilized.

Until the time of Masayori TAKANASHI, a grandson of Masamori, the Takanashi clan remained independent, but Shingen TAKEDA, of Kai Province, who had destroyed the Murakami clan, invaded the land of the Takanashi clan and they retreated to the Iiyama area close to the boundary of Shinano and Echigo from Nakano, the base, between 1555 and 1558. After that, Kenshin UESUGI helped the Takanashi clan to get the manor back, but the Takanashi clan as well as other local lords in northern Shinano became retainers of the Uesugi family during the conflict between Takeda and Nagao (Uesugi) (Kawanakajima War).

After the downfall of the Takeda clan, Nagayoshi MORI, who had been placed in charge of northern Shinano, retreated due to the incident at Honno-ji, and the Takanashi clan retrieved the old manor once Kagekatsu UESUGI gained ground. The Uesugi family was then forced to change its domain from Aizu Domain to Yonezawa Domain, and Yorichika TAKANASHI, a child of Masayori, followed the Uesugi family. His descendants survived the Edo period as members of the Yonezawa clan.

Other lines of the Takanashi clan are said to have moved to Owari Province, Tango Province or Sagami Province. The authorized descendant of the Takanashi clan today is from the Owari Takanashi family.