Ako domainThere were frequent disturbances

Ako domain

Mori family crest “Tsurunomaru”

Article category
History of the domain
domain name
Ako Domain (1615-1871)
Hyogo prefecture
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Ako Castle

Ako Castle

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The Ako Domain was a domain that ruled Ako County, Harima Province, which is today Ako City, Aioi City, and Kamigori Town, Hyogo Prefecture. Speaking of the Ako domain, it is the domain that was the setting for the famous TV drama and movie "Chushingura," but apart from that, the Ako domain is also home to many disturbances caused by the domain lords and senior vassals.
Let's unravel the history of the Ako domain.

The first turmoil: Shoho Ako Incident

The Ako Life Insurance Incident was an incident caused by Teruoki Ikeda, the second lord of the Ako domain.
Ako was a territory of the Ukita family when Toyotomi Hideyoshi was a ruler of Japan. However, Hideie Ukita was exiled because he sided with the Western army at the Battle of Sekigahara, and the land of Ako was given to Terumasa Ikeda, who sided with the Eastern army and achieved military merit. Terumasa Ikeda is also known as the person who built Himeji Castle.

The Ikeda family's territory was vast, and in addition to the Himeji domain, Terumasa Ikeda's children served as the lords of the Okayama and Ako domains. The first lord of the Ako domain was Masatsuna Ikeda, the fifth son of Terumasa Ikeda, which was established as a result of the division of the Okayama domain upon the death of his older brother. Masatsuna Ikeda worked hard to build the country by establishing a castle town, but he died of illness at the young age of 27. After that, the Ako domain was once abolished, but his younger brother Teruoki Ikeda was allowed to become the lord of the castle. This may be related to the fact that Teruoki Ikeda's mother was the daughter of Tokugawa Ieyasu.

Teruoki Ikeda tried to be a good government man by building the water supply system that still exists today, but in 1645 he suddenly went insane and killed his legal wife and several of his younger daughters.
As a result, Teruoki Ikeda lived 37 years as a criminal in Okayama, and the reign of the Ikeda family came to an end.

It is quite unnatural that Teruoki Ikeda, who had been ruling his domain without any problems until now, went insane without any warning. Shortly before that, his older brother Teruzumi Ikeda was also exiled due to a dispute between vassals (the Ikeda Riot), so there is also a theory of a conspiracy by the shogunate. However, the truth remains in the dark and has not yet been revealed.

Second commotion Ako incident

After the Ikeda family stepped down as castle lords, the Asano family was given control of Ako. The Asano family was founded by the third son of Nagamasa Asano, a senior vassal of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, and the first lord of the domain, Naganao Asano, was transferred from the Kasama domain in Hitachi Province and placed in charge of the Ako domain. Asano Naganao was the man who built Ako Castle, which is now partially restored. In addition, salt fields were started as an industry for the domain. He and his son Nagatomo Asano ruled the domain safely, but the third lord of the domain, Nagatomo Asano, initiated the Ako Incident, which is still known as the Chushingura.

Furthermore, prior to the Ako Incident, Naganori Asano's uncle, Tadakatsu Naito, committed an incident in which he slashed Nagai Nagai at Zojoji Temple in Edo. As a result, Naito Tadakatsu committed seppuku and Asano Naganori also refrained from committing seppuku.

The Ako Incident began in 1701, when Naganori Asano slashed Yoshio Kira, who held a high rank (a position in charge of ceremonies and liturgy) in the shogunate, in the main corridor of Edo Castle.
This incident is famous as the so-called ``Pine Corridor,'' and is one of the highlights of the fiction ``Chushingura,'' which is based on this incident.

The reason why a feudal lord of a country attacked a high-ranking official of the shogunate in a public place, Edo Castle, is still unknown.
Both of these men were assigned to entertain imperial envoys from the imperial court. In movies and dramas, Yoshihiro Kira became angry with Naganori Asano for not receiving much support from him, and treated him coldly and talked about him behind his back, which caused Naganori Asano's patience to break down.

However, in recent years, Asano Nagakunori used a wakizashi, which was suitable for stabbing, as the weapon he used when he attacked, and Yoshio Kira was loved by the people for his good governance in his territory. There is also a strong theory that Nagakure may have temporarily gone mad.

In fact, during the interrogation following the stabbing incident, Yoshio Kira is recorded as testifying that ``he may have been insane (a state of temporary insanity).'' On the other hand, there are no official records of Naganori Asano's interrogation. Furthermore, it is not clear whether or not an investigation was conducted.

Shogun Tsunayoshi then ordered the Ako clan to be destroyed and Asano Naganori to commit seppuku with unusual speed. This is based on the anger theory that the ceremony to welcome an important imperial court envoy was almost ruined, and the theory that the current tragedy was caused by the fact that up until now, daimyo and hatamoto had been forgiven for being stabbed for minor crimes. And so on.

Naganori Asano was given the severe punishment of committing seppuku and destroying his family, but Yoshio Kira was acquitted, so a group of vassals, including Yoshio Oishi, the chief retainer, went to protest, but the shogunate refused to take up the case. It was. This will lead to a later investigation.

The climax of Chushingura, the raid on the Kira residence, took place the following year, in the 15th year of Genroku (1702). 47 ronin broke into Kira's mansion and killed him. The story of the TV drama and movie ``Chushingura'' ends here, but in historical fact, the ronin were taken into custody by four feudal lords, and the ringleader, Yoshio Oishi, committed seppuku in 17th year of the Genroku era.

Third turmoil: Bunkyu Ako Incident

The Bunkyu Ako Incident occurred approximately 140 years after the Ako Incident. After the Ako Incident, the Mori family became the lords of the Ako domain, which continued through generations.

This incident involved the assassination of the chief retainer of the Ako domain, Morishizoku, but its origin was a conflict between the Sabaku faction and the Imperial Enthusiast faction. Morinushiki was a member of the Sabaku faction, and Masukichi Nishikawa, who assassinated him, was a member of the Sonno-joi faction who also had contact with the retainers of the Choshu and Satsuma domains. Also killed were Masukichi Nishikawa's Shinsuke Murakami and others. As a result of this incident, the Morinushi tax family and the Murakami family of Confucian scholars were exterminated, and 13 people, including the assassin Masukichi Nishikawa, were executed or killed in mutual attacks before being captured, leaving 7 people dead, and 6 of them staying in the feudal domain in Mt. Koya. He is the guardian of his ancestor's grave.

Ako domain, where the domain lord was in shadow

The Ako domain was ruled by the Ikeda family, the Asano family, the Mori family, and others, but except for Naganori Asano, who started the Ako incident in the Genroku era, all of the feudal lords are relatively unknown. The feudal government was difficult, which led to the Bunkyu Ako Incident, but since the Meiji Restoration was just around the corner, there was no condemnation of the feudal lord.

In addition, in the case of the Ako Incident, the names such as Asano Takugami, Kira Kaminosuke, and Oishi Kuranosuke are more famous than Asano Naganori and Kira Yoshio, but these are the titles of their positions.

In addition, Chushingura is still very popular among historical dramas, and a movie called ``Substitute Chushingura'' will be released in February 2024.

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Writer(Writer)I am a writer who loves history, focusing on the Edo period. My hobbies are visiting historical sites, temples and shrines, and reading historical novels. If there is a place you are interested in, you can fly anywhere. I'm secretly happy that the number of sword exhibitions has increased recently thanks to the success of Touken Ranbu.
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