Kira Yoshitaka (吉良義堯)

Yoshitaka KIRA (dates of birth and death unknown) was a military commander of the Sengoku Period (the Period of Warring States in Japan). His original family name was Genji (Minamoto clan). His line belonged to the Kira clan, a branch family of the Ashikaga clan that was started by MINAMOTO no Yoshikuni, the son of MINAMOTO no Yoshiie, who was from the family of the Seiwa-Genji (the Minamoto clan) and had served as the Chinju-fu shogun (Commander-in-Chief of the Defense of the North) as well as the head of the Kawachi-Genji (the Minamoto clan). He was the heir of Yoshimoto KIRA. He was the lord of Saijo-jo Castle. He was the sixth generation of the Saijo-Kira clan (上吉良). His name during childhood was 珍王丸, and he also went by the name of Saburo. He called himself Sahyoe no suke (a official post name for the Assistant Captain of the Left Division of Middle Palace Guards). His wife was the daughter of 後藤平太夫. Yoshisato KIRA, Yoshiyasu KIRA, and Yoshiaki KIRA were his sons.

He succeeded his grandfather Yoshinobu KIRA on November 8, 1516, because his father Yoshimoto had passed away prior to that year without taking over as the head of the family.

He celebrated his coming of age in 1519, and presented gifts to the shogun Yoshitane ASHIKAGA as a token of thanks for his attainment of manhood on November 16 of the same year. This is the last record of the Saijo-Kira clan in Kyoto. Immediately after that, Yoshitane was overthrown and was expelled from Kyoto. Because of this, it is believed that the Saijo-Kira clan, which had supported Yoshitane since the days of his grandfather Yoshinobu, lost its standing in Kyoto, went back to the Kira no sho (manor) and concentrated on governing their territory.

The Hikuma no sho (manor) in Totomi Province (the present-day Hamamatsu City, Shizuoka Prefecture) had been the Kira clan's fief since the period of the Northern and Southern Courts (Japan), but it was invaded by the Imagawa clan of Suruga Province. The deputies, Sadatsuna OKOCHI and his brother Michitsuna KOMI, had been forming an alliance against the enemy with the Shiba clan. However, soon after Yoshitaka succeeded the headship of the family, their stronghold, Hamamatsu-jo Castle, was surrendered to Ujichika IMAGAWA on September 4, 1517, and the deputies both died in the battle. Thus, the Kira clan ended up losing its territory in Totomi.

The exact date of Yoshitaka's death is unknown. His posthumous Buddhist name was 乾福院殿通山是公大居士.