Kusunoki Masaie (楠木正家)

Masaie KUSUNOKI (year of birth unknown - 1348) was a busho (Japanese military commander), who lived during the period of Northern and Southern Courts. His original surname was Tachibana, the lineage of Tachibana clan. His family line was the Kusunoki clan, descendent of the Tachibana clan. His official court rank was Kurodo (Chamberlain) and Sakon no shogen (Lieutenant, the Left Division of Inner Palace Guards). He belonged to the family of Masashige KUSUNOKI. He was said to be Masashige's nephew or small brother.

To hold the position of daikan (local governor), he went down to the family territory in Naka Country of Hitachi Province, which was the estate bestowed on Masashige. In February 1336, he proceeded into the Urizura-jo Castle, and fought against Sadayoshi SATAKE and others of the Northern Court side, in cooperation of the Naka-Kawanobe family group lead by Haruhisa ODA, Michitoki NAKA, the Daijo family group lead by Tsuneyasu HIROHASHI, Takamoto DAIJO, and Nobumasa NAGAOKA, and the Chiba family group lead by Tanehira SOMA, among others. He rendered distinguished services such as defeating Sadayoshi's son Yoshifuyu SATAKE, however, in January 1337, the castle fell to the enemy. The Southern Court side stationed in Hitachi Province drew off to the western part of the Province such as Oda-jo Castle.

It is said that after the fall of Urizura-jo Castle, Masaie once went down to Oshu (northeastern part of the main land), and from there he returned toward Kinai region (provinces surrounding the ancient capitals of Nara and Kyoto). In 1348, he took part in the Battle of Shijonawate, following Masatsura KUSUNOKI. He was said to be killed in the battle.

On the other hand, there is a theory that insists on his survival in the Battle of Shijonawate.

On the premise of former Ouchi Town Office in Yurihonjo City, Akita Prefecture, there is a grave that is thought to be 'the grave of Prince Masaie KUSUNOKI,' the grandson of Masashige KUSUNOKI, and Masaie's descendents were said to have formed the Uchikoshi clan, one of Yurijunito (the local ruling families in Yuri Country of Dewa Province, which were forming a purpose-oriented loose alliance during the Sengoku period [period of warring state]). In Akita City, there is also a grave attributed to that of Fujifusa MADENOKOJI, and in addition, this region was certainly under the influence of the Southern Court. Therefore, it is quite natural to think that he was dispatched to this region, however, there is no further evidence than the grave that is attributed to his.