Ninomaru Riot (1/2)The Suwa clan family riot that occurred in the late Edo period

Ninomaru Riot

Ninomaru Riot

Article category
case file
Incident name
Ninomaru Riot (1770-1783)
Nagano Prefecture
Related castles
Takashima Castle

Takashima Castle

During the Edo period, which lasted for more than 260 years, family disturbances occurred many times in each domain. One such family disturbance was the Ninomaru Riot, which occurred in the Shinano Suwa Domain (also known as the Takashima Domain, in the present-day Suwa region of Nagano Prefecture) from 1770 to 1783. The central figure, the 6th lord of the domain, Tadayatsu Suwa, and the Ninomaru and Sannomaru factions intertwined with factional disputes and succession issues, leading to a huge uproar that almost led to the intervention of the shogunate. This time, we will take a closer look at the Ninomaru Riot.

“Shinano Suwa Domain” was the scene of the family riots.

The Shinano Suwa Domain was a domain that ruled the Suwa region of present-day Nagano Prefecture. It is sometimes called ``Takashima Domain'' after the name of its castle, Takashima Castle. Originally, Suwa was under the control of the Suwa clan, but Takeda Shingen destroyed the Suwa family at the Battle of Kuwabara Castle in 1542, and won the subsequent Battle of Miyagawa, putting the entire Suwa area under his control. .

After the Takeda clan was destroyed in Oda Nobunaga's conquest of Koshu in 1582, Hidetaka Kawajiri came to rule the Suwa region, but after the Honnoji Incident, amidst the chaos, the Suwa clan established Suwa Kamisha University. Suwa Yoritada, who was serving as a priest (priest), rose up and regained control. During the Tensho Migo Rebellion, he was at odds with Tokugawa Ieyasu, but they made peace and were relieved of the Suwa territory.

Afterwards, in 1590, when Ieyasu moved to the Kanto region, Suwa Yoritada was transferred to Naranashi, Hiki District, Musashi Province (Hiki District, Saitama Prefecture), and other areas with 12,000 koku. Takayoshi Hineno will be joining Suwa instead. The Suwa clan then moved to Ueno Kokusoja (Maebashi City, Gunma Prefecture), and at this time Tadayori handed over the headship of the family to his son Yorimizu. Due to his military exploits at the Battle of Sekigahara (1600, 5th year of Keicho era), the Suwa clan returned to the 27,000 koku territory of Suwa Takashima, Shinano Province, in 1601. Yorimizu became the first lord of the Shinano Suwa domain and focused on developing new rice fields. From then on, the Shinano Suwa domain was ruled by the Suwa clan until the end of the Edo shogunate.

The feudal lord with no interest in politics and the Ninomaru and Sannomaru factions

Tadatsu Suwa, one of the main actors in the Ninomaru Riot, was the 6th lord of the Suwa domain in Shinano. He was born in the Edo domain residence and is the fourth son of the fifth generation lord of the domain, Tadabayashi Suwa.

The foundation of Shinano Suwa Domain's governance was solidified around the time of the third lord, Tadaharu Suwa, but by the time of Tadaharashi, the fifth generation, the domain's governance had deteriorated and rebuilding was an urgent need. However, Tadabayashi has been sickly since birth, and ends up immersing himself in academics without showing any interest in feudal politics. He mostly stayed in Edo and never returned to Suwa, leaving politics to his vassals. Meanwhile, the domain's financial difficulties became more and more serious. For this reason, Tadabayashi orders his chief retainer, Hyogo Chino (Teisuke), to rebuild the finances. In 1763, when Tadayashi retired due to illness, Tadatsu became the sixth lord of the domain. However, Tadatsu was also sickly and left politics to his servants. For this reason, Chino Hyogo continued to run the government.

At that time, the vassals were the so-called "Sannomaru faction" centered on the chief retainer Chino Hyogo who lived in Sannomaru, and the "Ninomaru faction" centered on the chief retainer Suwa Tosho (Yorihide) and his child Daisuke (Yoriyasu) living in Ninomaru. It was divided into two factions, vying for power. By the way, the Ninomaru school's surname is ``Suwa'' because it is a family line that goes back to Yoshimizu Suwa's younger brother. The Chino clan, on the other hand, was an old samurai family dating back to the Sengoku period. Both of them have 1,200 koku, the highest in the domain. Originally, both factions had cooperated to support the domain since the dawn of the domain, but as the feudal lord, who was supposed to control both factions, left politics entirely to his vassals, the conflict gradually became more intense.

Now, Hyogo Chino, the chief retainer, was entrusted with reform by the fifth generation Tadabayashi, but he borrowed money from members of the family to make up for the deficit, and in order to rebuild the finances, he carried out land inspections, developed new fields, increased paddy fields, and raised the concession rate. We will implement various policies and proceed with the rebuilding of the domain's government. However, these policies faced strong opposition from farmers as they increased the burden on them. In addition, in commerce, influential merchants were appointed to control distribution, and the decision to ``proceed in new government offices rather than in towns and villages'' led to increased bribery among merchants and officials in new government offices. It becomes rampant.

Ninomaru Riot ① Ninomaru faction vs. Sannomaru faction, which one will hold the power?

Chino Hyogo's financial restructuring measures caused various repercussions, including bribery. Furthermore, due to a series of natural disasters, including the flooding of Lake Suwa, the Shinano Suwa clan was in a big pinch. The people who noticed this were the Suwa Tosho and Daisuke parents of the Ninomaru school, which opposed the Chino and Sannomaru schools.

In December 1771 (January 1771), Daisuke sent out a message to the towns and villages within his domain, asking them to "please tell us what you are having trouble with. Submit the reason in writing to the Ometsuke." Many voices from the villages complained of hardship, and Daisuke punished those involved based on these voices. Furthermore, he took up Watanabe Sukezaemon, a servant of the Shinano Suwa domain and the Edo residence and was highly employed by Suwa Tadatsutsu, and slandered him, saying, ``Chino's mismanagement has brought the people into poverty, to the point where there is a possibility of a rebellion.'' Upon hearing this, Tadatsu Suwa, the lord of the domain, ordered Hyogo to be "closed", meaning he was prohibited from going out. With Hyogo's fall from power, the Ninomaru faction replaced the Sannomaru faction and gained power.

In May 1772, Suwa Tosho became the head chief retainer, and Daisuke received 150 koku. From then on, the Ninomaru faction ran the government for eight years, but bribery was rampant during this time as well. For example, after the land survey they conducted, the area of fields decreased and the number of village high schools decreased. It goes without saying that bribes were paid not only to Daisuke but also to the officials who inspected the land. A reduction in the village high school meant that the annual tax would be lighter, so even if you paid a bribe, you would still receive change.

This is just one example, but such bribery was rampant when the Suwa family was running the government, and the father and son became like the typical ``evil magistrates'' in period dramas.

The person who felt a sense of crisis in the situation of the domain and took action was Hyogo Chino, the leader of the ousted Ninomaru faction. Hyogo broke the curfew and left for Edo to complain to the feudal lord, Tadatsu, about the tyranny of the Sannomaru faction. When Tadatsu heard this, he closed off Suwa Tosho, meaning he was confined to his home and prohibited from entering or leaving. Daisuke was also forced to resign from his position as chief retainer and ordered to close his residence. Of course, the land survey officials and village officials involved were also punished.

I wonder what Tadayatsu was thinking when he so easily turned his back on him, but in any case, the Sannomaru faction led by Hyogo regained power. Efforts were made to clean up discipline by issuing notices prohibiting bribery.

Ninomaru Riot ② Develops into family turmoil over succession

Just when you thought the turmoil had calmed down, the Ninomaru faction, including Suwa Tosho, made another move to gain power. The trigger was the issue of succession for the feudal lord, Tadatsu Suwa. Tadatsu had no children with his legal wife (daughter of Abe Bitchu no kami Masafuku), and had one son each with his two concubines. These are Gunjiro, the eldest son born to Tomi (Otome-dono), and Tsuruzo, the second son born to Kiso (Okiso). The Ninomaru faction will support Tsuruzo and the Sannomaru faction will support Gunjiro.

The issue of succession arose during the New Year of 1781, when Abe Masafuku, Tadayatsu's father-in-law, visited the Edo domain residence. Since Tadatsu is in poor health, Masafuku suggests that his eldest son Gunjiro (adult, 14 years old) take steps to inherit the heirship. I suggested. Since it was a proposal from his legal wife's father, one would think that the question of succession would be almost certain, but in reality Tadatsu was in favor of his second son Tsuruzo (11 years old).

At that time, Watanabe Sukezaemon was still an important servant at the Edo domain residence, and Sukezaemon, Tsuruzo's mother Kiso, and her parents were close. Kiso's family is a large farmer near Edo, and although they are commoners, they are rich. Behind the scenes, they seemed to be threatening to provide financial support to the clan, and they had a strong desire to have Tsuruzo as their successor. Kiso himself seems to have been ambitious, saying, ``I want my son to be my heir!'' For this reason, the prevailing opinion in the Edo domain residence was that the successor was the Tsuruzo faction.

Daisuke Suwa was working with Sukezaemon. The relationship between the two has continued ever since the slander that led to Chino Hyogo's fall, and Sukezaemon gradually became absorbed into the Ninomaru faction. However, when Daisuke and his friends were punished, Sukezaemon was able to evade the punishment by successfully evading it...

Ninomaru Riot ③ Home Riot, first victory for Ninomaru faction

While the Tsuruzo Ninomaru faction was in control of the Edo domain residence, the Gunjiro Sannomaru faction felt a sense of crisis. As was common knowledge at the time, he set out to crush the Ninomaru faction by making his eldest son, Gunjiro, his successor. In January 1781, Hayashi Taira Uchizaemon, a member of Gunjiro's side, visited Masafuku Abe's mansion and complained to the Abe clan's servants about Watanabe Sukezaemon's tyranny.

The article on the Ninomaru Riot continues.

Naoko Kurimoto
Writer(Writer)I am a former travel industry magazine reporter. I have loved history, both Japanese and world history, since I was a child. I usually enjoy visiting temples and shrines, especially shrines, and often do ``pilgrimages to sacred places'' themed around historical figures. My favorite military commander is Ishida Mitsunari, my favorite castle is Kumamoto Castle, and my favorite castle ruins is Hagi Castle. My heart flutters when I see the ruins of battle castles and the stone walls of castle ruins.
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