Letter from Naoe Kanetsugu, addressed to Lieutenant Gen Yoshie

Circa 6 May 1582–84 (Tenshō 10–12)

Donated by the Homma family

Born in Echigo Province, Naoe Kanetsugu was a retainer of the Uesugi clan. This is a letter of thanks from Kanetsugu to Yoshie Munekiyo, a vassal of Uesugi Kagekatsu, expressing thanks for the gratuity presented at Tango no Sekku, the fifth day of the fifth month which is today known as Children’s Day.

In samurai society, gifts were given during seasonal milestones and celebrations. It is believed that they also reaffirmed the relationship between two parties –in other words, the lord-vassal relationship. During this period, Kanetsugu served as a regent in the Kagekatsu administration alongside a man called Kano Hideharu, who was given the official rank of Sanuki governor in 1582.