Higashiyama Zoo -

Baby Kiyomasa
Baby Kiyomasa

Kiyomasa was born on November 1, 2012. His father is Shabani and his mother is Nene. At the time of his birth, Nene was 40 years old which is quite an advanced age for a gorilla. Shabani was 16 yrs old. 

Yes, Nene is not only a gorilla, but she is a cougar as well.

Even though Ai had been pregnant by Shabani before, that infant did not live long after it was born. Therefore Kiyomasa is widely known as Shabani’s first born son. 

Kiyomasa is the most loving little gorilla I have ever seen. He is very affectionate to everyone in the troop. When Shabani and Nene are at odds, Kiyomasa is quick to get in the middle of the two to diffuse the situation. He will still snuggle up to Nene and hold on to her like an infant or toddler would even though he is long past that age. Even at 6 years old Kiyomasa still makes Ai carry him on her back, piggy-back style, as if he was a baby.

Kiyomasa and Annie have a very special and close relationship. When Annie was first born, Ai did not take care of her. As the weeks went by, she became weaker and weaker. Eventually, the zoo had no option but to take her away from the troop and raise her by the zoo caretakers.

Katō Kiyomasa
Katō Kiyomasa

Kiyomasa was named after Kato Kiyomasa, a Japanese feudal lord of the late 16th century. After Nene gave birth to a healthy baby boy on November 1, 2012 the zoo requested suggestions for a name and received over 3000 suggestions.


It took 170 days after he was born before it was decided that he would be named named Kiyomasa. A naming ceremony was held and many people including members of the media were present. After all, he was Shabani’s first born son. 

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