One Country One Castle Order (1/2)The shogunate's daimyo control measures led to the disappearance of more than 2,000 castles.

One country, one castle ordinance

One country, one castle ordinance

Article category
case file
Incident name
One Country One Castle Law (1615)
Related castles
Edo castle

Edo castle

people involved

After Tokugawa Ieyasu established the Edo shogunate after winning the Battle of Sekigahara, the shogunate issued the ``One Country, One Castle Rei'' in 1615 to control the feudal lords. is. As the name suggests, it was an order for each country (regime country) to destroy all branch castles other than the castles in which they lived, and it is said that as a result of this, the number of castles originally numbered 3,000, but reduced to around 170. It was promulgated to control the feudal lords by the shogunate, and it was strictly adhered to because so many castles were destroyed! Although this is often thought to be the case, there were actually many exceptions to this one-country-one-jo law. This time, I will explain the One Country One Castle Rei in an easy-to-understand manner.

What is the One Country One Castle Order?

As the One Country, One Castle Order states, ``It is my highest wish that you leave Nakai Castle in your province and destroy all other castles,'' meaning that all castles in Japan other than your residence should be left alone. The feudal lords were told to destroy it. The notification was issued on June 13, 1615, immediately after the fall of the Toyotomi family during the ``Osaka Summer Campaign'' that took place from April to May of the 20th year of the Keicho era (1615). Since July, the era name has been changed to ``Genwa'', which is why it is also called ``Genwa, One Country, One Castle''. It is said to have been ordered by Hidetada Tokugawa, the second shogun of the Tokugawa shogunate, but it was actually planned by Ieyasu Tokugawa.

Although it is called "One Country One Castle", it was issued by Toshikatsu Doi, Shigenobu Ando, and Tadayo Sakai of the Edo Shogunate, and strictly speaking, it is not a law. It is said to be one of the shogunate's measures to control the feudal lords, but since it was issued immediately after the Summer Siege in Osaka, the wording was carefully worded, perhaps to suppress the unrest among the feudal lords. There is also a theory that rather than authoritative laws and ordinances, he issued soft notes through hosho and checked the reactions of the feudal lords. In fact, when it comes to ``destruction,'' it is not specified how far the castle should be destroyed, and depending on each daimyo's perspective, there were cases where the castle was completely destroyed, and other times when the castle was simply destroyed by just a stone wall.

In fact, when the One Country, One Castle Law was first promulgated, it targeted daimyo in western Japan such as Kinai, Sanyo, and San'in, but it seems to have gradually spread throughout the country. In addition, castles in eastern Japan were destroyed during the Oshu Shioki from July to August 1590 during the era of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, so they were not given much attention.

Why was the One Country One Castle Order issued?

The reason why the Edo shogunate issued the One Country, One Castle Order was to centralize power in the shogunate while reducing the power of the feudal lords. Western Japan was a region with many Tozama daimyos who were beholden to Toyotomi, so the shogunate apparently wanted to reduce the number of military bases.

We tend to think, "Were there so many castles that the One Country One Castle Order was issued? The wars calmed down in the Edo period, right?" However, in fact, there was a "rush to build castles" during the Keicho era around the time of the Battle of Sekigahara. . In the battle of Sekigahara, there was a large-scale reshuffle of Daimyo, including additions and changes. Moreover, even though the western army had lost, the Toyotomi head family still remained, and the conflict between the feudal lords who were patronizing Toyotomi and the Tokugawa faction continued. For this reason, many branch castles were built along borders that were prone to war. According to records from the time, 25 castle towers were erected in one year in 1609. This makes you want to reduce the number of castles even if you are not Ieyasu.

Therefore, the feudal lords had no choice but to destroy the castles they had worked so hard to build under the One Country, One Castle Law, but it seems that this was not just a disadvantage. As a general rule, ``limitation to one castle per Ritsuryo country'' meant that the vassals of the feudal lords could not own castles, so it was no longer possible for vassals to gain power and attack. This also had the advantage of making it easier for daimyo to control their vassals.

Numerous “exceptions” to the One Country One Castle Order

From the name, it seems that there was only one castle per country, but there were actually quite a few exceptions. In the first place, the shogunate did not specify in detail when, how, or to what extent the castle should be demolished, and only notified them through the cosigned letter mentioned earlier. Some feudal lords ran away by saying, ``This is a fort, not a castle,'' and others destroyed more castles than necessary, perhaps because they were running ahead of themselves or pandering to the shogunate. If we classify exceptions to some extent, they can be divided into several patterns, so let's look at each one one by one.

Exception to the One Country One Castle Rule ① When one country is ruled by multiple daimyo

There was only one castle per ryosei country, but if a country was ruled by multiple daimyo, an exception was made and castles were placed as many as the number of daimyo. For example, in Iyo Province (Ehime Prefecture), several feudal lords had their own castles, such as Imabari Castle for the Todo clan, Uwajima Castle for the Date clan, Ozu Castle for the Wakisaka clan, and Matsuyama Castle for the Kato clan. The Tokugawa Shogunate probably did not want to cause unnecessary conflict.

Exception to the One Country One Castle Rule ② When a daimyo rules multiple countries

The opposite of ① is the case where a daimyo owns and rules across multiple Ritsuryo states. For example, the Todo clan's Tsu domain owns Ise Province (northern central part of Mie Prefecture, parts of Aichi and Gifu Prefectures) and Iga Province (western Mie Prefecture), so Anotsu Castle in Ise Province and Anotsu Castle in Iga Province. He was granted two kingdoms in Ueno Castle.

Exception to the One Country One Castle Order ③ When multiple castles are allowed due to the consideration of the shogunate

The ``One Country, One Castle'' law, which had no strict rules, allowed a country under the One Rei system to have multiple castles instead of just one castle, depending on its relationship with the shogunate.

There is a continuation of the article on the One Country One Castle Rei.

people involved
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.
Japanese Castle Photo Contest.03