The Kutsuki were a branch of the Sasaki family hailing from Omi Province. They served as the stewards of the Kutsuki manor in that province in the Kamakura period, and the house continued through the Warring States period and into the Edo period, when some of their members became bannermen (direct vassals of the shogun) or daimyo (provincial lords). "The archives of Kutsuki family" consist of historical documents passed down in the family through the years. The Cabinet Records Bureau purchased them from the Kutsuki in 1888. Containing more than 1,060 documents, the archives were designated an important cultural property in the first year of Heisei( 1989).
This letter was sent by Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1536 - 1598) to Kutsuki Kawachi-no-kami Mototsuna (1549 - 1632). It is impressed with Hideyoshi's seal in cinnabar, and is dated July 10. It is thought to have been written no earlier than in the 18th year of Tensho(1590), when Mototsuna was appointed "Kawachi no kami" (lord) of the province of Kawachi. In it, Hideyoshi expresses his thanks for a gift of two salted mackerels with these heads skewered for the "Bon" holiday (Buddhist All-Soul's day). He also mentions the "taiko kenchi," a general land survey carried out at his behest. Natsuka Okura noted in the letter is Natsuka Masaie, who served as one of the land survey magistrates.