Kira Mitsuyoshi (吉良満義)

Mitsuyoshi KIRA (year of birth unknown - October 17, 1356) was a busho (Japanese military commander) lived during the period of the Northern and Southern Courts. He was a son of Sadayoshi KIRA. The lord of Saijo-jo Castle. He entered government services such as Sahyoe no suke (Assistant Captain of the Left Division of Middle Palace Guards) and Sakyo no daibu (Master of the Eastern Capital Offices). He had a younger brother Suketoki KIRA. His children included Mitsusada KIRA, Takayoshi KIRA, Ariyoshi ISSIKI, Mitsuyasu OKAYAMA and Mitsunaga HASHIDA.

Brief Personal History

Following Takauji ASHIKAGA who raised an army to overthrow the Shogunate in the Genko War, Mitsuyoshi participated in the attack of Rokuhara Tandai (an administrative and judicial agency in Rokuhara, Kyoto) in Kyoto. Once Kenmu Restoration started after overthrowing the Shogunate, he left the capital for Kanto region following Tadayoshi ASHIKAGA and was appointed the 6th tonin (the director) of Kanto hisashiban in January, 1334 (Sadaie KIRA, a member of the clan, was also appointed the 3rd tonin).

As the remaining groups of the Hojo clan went into action in Shinano Province in February, 1335, he dispatched Tokihira KIRA, a member of the clan, to Shinano for the suppression. Although Tokihira commanded an army with Shinano Shugo (provincial constable) Sadamune OGASAWARA, they could not suppress the Hojo forces and allowed them to advance into Murashi Province, which led to a fall of Kamakura (the Nakasendai War). The whereabouts of Mitsuyoshi at the time when the war broke out was unknown, but afterwards, he took part in various battles following Takauji and Tadayoshi until the split of Northern and Southern Dynasties in 1336.

After participating in the battle of Aonogahara in Mino Province in January, 1338, he seems to have held the position of Shinano Shugo from 1340 through next year. In March, 1344, he assumed the post of the first tonin at Hikitsukekata (office of adjudicants) of the Muromachi bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun) to help Tadayoshi with the affairs of state. Since Tadayoshi greatly put his trust in Mitsuyoshi, Tadayoshi's legitimate son Nyoimaru was born at Mitsuyoshi's residence located in Nijo-kyogoku on June 8, 1347. He requisitioned Kira-tojo which was a possession of Sadaie KIRA and his son Mitsuie leaving for Mutsu Province in those days.

He stood for Tadayoshi throughout the Kanno Disturbance so that he was called 'a ruffian of Kiranosho' by Takauji. Even after Tadayoshi died in February, 1352, Mitsuyoshi did not give in to Takauji easily and kept resisting for many years, belonging to the Southern Dynasty (Japan). Later, he broke away from his legitimate son Mitsusada and submitted to the Northen Dynasty (Japan). When the force of the Southern Dynasty occupied Kyoto in 1355, Takauji appointed him as a guard of Emperor Gokogan who was in Omi Province away from the capital.

He died on October 17, 1356. His homyo (a posthumous Buddhist name) is Jakkoinden.