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Early Life & 1868


The following was translated and adapted by Armen Bakalian.

The Takamine claim descent from the Taira clan. In the 16th century, they resided in the Koga district of Omi Province, and they were a gozoku ??, a locally powerful family. Takamine Munekiyo, Hideo's 11th generation ancestor, resided in Takamine Village, where he built a castle. The village was also known as Kosugi Village, and while Munekiyo's main landholding was there, he held territory in other places. In Eiroku 11, when Oda Nobunaga attacked Ashikaga Takauji, Munekiyo declared allegiance to Oda Nobunaga, and in Tensho 10, when Nobunaga was assassinated, he pledged allegiance to Hashiba Hideyoshi, and though he worked for Hideyoshi for a time, he was later dismissed from office. Then Munekiyo served Tsutsui Iga no Kami Sadatsugu, under whom he had a 1000 koku income, and commanded 25 horses. Munekiyo died at age 63, but the date of his death is unclear. Munekiyo had two sons, Muneaki and Muneyuki. Muneaki declared allegiance to Tokugawa Ieyasu in Keicho 2, and died in combat in the defense of Fushimi Castle in 1600. Muneaki's son Munetada was confirmed in his holdings at Koga District by Ieyasu, and held 200 koku. He served at both Osaka Campaigns, and died in Gen'na 6, at the age of 35. Munetada's son was Munetoshi, Munetoshi's son was Munetsugu, and the direct line of descent from Muneaki ends there. (Takamine Hideo Sensei den Takamine Hideo Sensei Kinen Jigyokai (Japan) 1-2)

Takamine Munekiyo's 2nd son Muneyuki served Wakizaka Yasuyoshi, and was stipended by him at 300 koku. His son Munetoki, also known as Ka'un, studied medicine and served as physician to Hoshina Higo no Kami Masayuki, and this marked the first generation of the Takamine to serve the lord of Aizu. He died in the 11th month of Enpo 3, in Edo, and was buried in Ritsugyoji Temple.

Munetoki had three sons, and one of them, Soken, followed in his father's footsteps and was a doctor. However, he did not serve the lord of Aizu, but instead, Niwa Mitsushige [lord of Shirakawa-han]. His brother Sokyu, also known as Gakudayu, was from a young age the personal servant of Hoshina Masatsune, Hoshina Masayuki's son and successor. He often traveled to Aizu. Following Masatsune's death he went to Edo and served the third lord, Masakata, passing away at age 51, in the first year of Hoei (1704). (Takamine Hideo Sensei den Takamine Hideo Sensei Kinen Jigyokai (Japan) 3)

Sokyu's successor was Sokei, also known by his common name, Onoemon. While he started as being Edo-based, he was soon assigned to the domainal retainer force, and moved to Aizu in Hoei 2 (1705), with a stipend of 150 koku. This is the start of the Aizu-Takamine family. After 25 years of service, he passed away in Kyoho 14, at age 42. Sokei's wife was the daughter of Akashi Sakuzaemon, an Aizu retainer who was renowned for his skill in gunnery. (Takamine Hideo Sensei den Takamine Hideo Sensei Kinen Jigyokai (Japan) 4)


Hideo studied at Aizu Wakamatsu's famed Nisshinkan, an all boy's school which focused on Confucian and warrior studies. Usually, students were admitted to the school at the age of 10 and completed their studies by 21. Hideo, who was known as a "shindo" or child prodigy was admitted at age 8 and completed the curriculum at age 14 and earned a credential in calligraphy. Another child prodigy also born in 1854, was Yamakawa Kenjiro, a lifelong friend of Hideo. The oldest son of the Takamine family could read the Chinese classics with facility and study through snowstorms. Like other students at Nisshinkan, he studied archery. During the Meiji era, Hideo's home had an archery range. Edward Sylvester Morse's exposure to kyujutsu through Takamine led him to study world archery and subsequently publish articles related to this warrior's art.


Takamine Hideo