阿蘇治時感状 (Aso Harutoki kanjō)

Aso Harutoki dispatched with this “document of praise” (kanjō) to Migita Sukehide for taking an enemy head while skirmishing (nobushi kassen) at the hills to the north of Chihaya. Aso Harutoki personally signed this document praising Sukeyasu, and because of the status disparity, as Sukeyasu was not even the primary Migita heir. Harutoki folded this document in half, in a style known as origami, which was reserved for people of a higher status transmitting letters to those of significantly lower status and had it sent to Sukeyasu.
This represents the oldest surviving document of praise. Harutoki managed to keep his army together after an uprising led to the complete destruction of Kamakura, and these documents of praise may have contributed to the cohesion of his army. Harutoki and his forces surrendered after Kamakura was destroyed.

[original document of praise][Written by Aso Harutoki]

 

In the mountains to the north of Chihaya Castle,

You skirmished and took a head.

This is most estimable.

Therefore, it shall thus be conveyed.

 

The , fourth month, twenty-first day

Harutoki

 

To Migita Nakatsugi- [Sukehide]

 

(阿蘇)治時感状

(端裏書)

「かん状正文」

 

〈端書〉

「はるとき」

 

 

於茅破屋城北山

致野臥合戦取

頸了尤神妙候

仍執達如件

 

正慶二年四月廿一日

治時(花押)

 

 

和田中次殿

c.1333
While this is typically translated as “lord,” this term is perhaps better understood as someone with a title, residence and/or landholdings sanctioned by some higher authority like the bakufu or an in (retired emperor)