Matsushiro domainThe Sanada family ruled for 250 years.

Matsushiro domain

Sanada family crest “Sanada Rokumonsen”

Article category
History of the domain
domain name
Matsushiro Domain (1600-1871)
Nagano Prefecture
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Matsushiro Castle

Matsushiro Castle

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The Matsushiro domain was a domain that ruled over four counties on Kawanakajima in the northern part of Shinano Province. Matsushiro Castle was the domain office, and from the early Edo period until the Meiji Restoration, the Sanada family, famous for its 6-monsen family crest, served as the head of the clan. Let's unravel the history of the Matsushiro clan.

Matsushiro domain before Sanada family rule

The Matsushiro domain was also known as the Kawanakajima domain because it ruled over four districts on Kawanakajima. Furthermore, depending on the source material, the Matsushiro domain and the Kawanakajima domain are treated as the same domain, while others are treated as different domains. However, in 1622, when Nobuyuki Sanada entered the Matsushiro domain with 100,000 koku, the name ``Matsushiro domain'' became established.
Before the Sanada family was transferred, it was ruled by the Mori family, the Matsudaira [Nagasawa] family, the Matsudaira [Echizen] family, and others. However, all of them left the domain after only one generation.

Matsushiro domain after the Sanada family was transferred

The Sanada family is a branch of the Unno clan, which descends from the Shigeno clan, an old powerful family in Higashi-Shinano. They were a wealthy family based in the Sanada-cho area of Ueda City. The Sanada clan burst onto the center stage of history around the time of Masayuki Sanada. He served the two generations of Takeda Shingen and Katsuyori, and after the fall of the Takeda clan, he became autonomous and strengthened his power while serving the Oda family, Toyotomi family, and Tokugawa family. In particular, the ``Ueda Battle,'' in which Tokugawa County was defeated twice, is famous.

However, at the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600, Masayuki Sanada and his second son Nobushige Sanada (Yukimura) sided with the western army, while his eldest son Nobuyuki Sanada sided with the eastern army. With the victory of the eastern army, Masayuki and Nobushige were exiled to Mt. Kudo, where Masayuki died. Sanada Nobushige is also famous for siding with the Toyotomi army during the Osaka Winter Siege, building a castle called Sanada Maru, and fighting bravely.

Nobushige Sanada was killed in battle in Osaka, but his older brother Nobuyuki Sanada sided with the eastern army and was relieved of his territory, and at one time became the lord of Ueda Castle, but in 1622 he moved to Matsushiro. He was transferred and given 100,000 koku in Matsushiro and 30,000 koku in Joshu Numata. This is the largest stone height among the clans in Shinshu. Since then, the Matsushiro domain has been ruled by the Sanada family.

Nobuyuki Sanada was a rare person in this era who lived to be 93 years old. Nobuyuki passed away to his second son, Nobumasa, but he died while Nobumasa was still alive. This caused a large-scale family turmoil in the Sanada family, which became important as it involved the shogunate and related feudal lords. In the end, Nobuyuki Sanada's eldest son, Nobutoshi Sanada, the child of Shinkichi Sanada, was given land in Numata and became independent as the Numata domain, and Nobumasa Sanada's eldest son, Yukimichi Sanada, succeeded him, and the Sanada family continued to exist.

The Matsushiro domain, like other domains, suffered from financial difficulties from the early Edo period due to the burden of construction work.
This problem developed into a commotion called the Tamura Riot during the era of the fifth feudal lord, Nobuyasu Sanada.
During the era of Sanada Nobuyasu, a man named Hanemon Tamura was appointed to reform the domain's administration, but it did not go well, and the situation escalated to the point where Hanemon Tamura was punished.

During the time of his successor, Yukihiro Sanada, the Matsushiro domain was so tight that even the lord's living expenses were insufficient. Therefore, Yukihiro established a Tokuji command chain that was different from the government, and strived to be frugal.
After that, Matsushiro Castle and the Matsushiro Domain suffered a series of famines and natural disasters.
As a result, until Yukitami Sanada, the last lord of the domain, they managed to hold on even though they borrowed money from the shogunate, but they did not achieve any particularly notable achievements.
Furthermore, Yukitami Sanada's son is working hard to turn the Matsushiro Castle ruins into a park.


The Matsushiro clan was ruled by the Sanada clan, whose founder was Nobuyuki Sanada, the older brother of Nobushige Sanada.
The Sanada family had a friendly relationship with the Tokugawa family when Masayuki Sanada was the head of the family, but later the head of the family and his second son rebelled, leaving only the eldest son to follow suit. The Sanada family, which was given the land of Matsushiro, had no notable accomplishments and suffered from financial difficulties, but they ruled the domain for 250 years, and after the Meiji Restoration, they devoted their efforts to maintaining the Matsushiro Castle ruins.

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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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