Kokura DomainA key location in Kyushu ruled by a fudai lord

Kokura Domain

Ogasawara family crest “Sankai Rhishi”

Article category
History of the domain
domain name
Kokura Domain (1600-1871)
Fukuoka Prefecture
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Kokura Castle

Kokura Castle

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The Kokura Domain was located in Buzen Province (present-day Kitakyushu City, Fukuoka Prefecture) and had Kokura Castle as its headquarters. Hosokawa Tadaoki, who often appears in dramas, novels, and manga set in the Sengoku period, served as the first lord of the domain, and was later ruled by the Ogasawara clan, who also ruled Matsumoto Domain, until the end of the Edo period. Let's take a look at the history of the Kokura Domain.

The Hosokawa family that built the foundations of the Kokura domain

The founder of the Kokura Domain was Hosokawa Tadaoki, the first head of the Higo Hosokawa clan. Tadaoki served such powerful men as Ashikaga Yoshiaki, Oda Nobunaga, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, and Tokugawa Ieyasu, and is also known for marrying Hosokawa Gracia, the daughter of Akechi Mitsuhide. Hosokawa Tadaoki was given the Buzen Province as a reward for his military achievements in the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600. As a result, he rose to the position of a great feudal lord in Nakatsu, Buzen Province, with a fief of 399,000 koku, up from 120,000 koku in Tango. After moving to Buzen, Hosokawa Tadaoki once stayed in Nakatsu Castle, but soon made extensive renovations to Kokura Castle, which had been the residence of Mori Katsunobu, and made it his residence. He built the foundations of the Kokura Domain by developing not only the castle but also the castle town.

Tadaoki Hosokawa was a military commander, but he was also a highly cultured tea master of his time. The Kokura Castle he built was an unprecedented structure with only one gable on the top floor, and was also called "Tang-style (Nanban-style)".

In addition, during the time when Hosokawa Tadaoki was the feudal lord, Miyamoto Musashi and Sasaki Kojiro fought a duel on Ganryu Island, which was located within the territory of the Kokura domain.

Hosokawa Tadaoki lived long enough to be in his 80s, which was unusual for that time. However, he disinherited his eldest son and continued to rule the domain without deciding whether his second or third son should succeed him, causing frustration for his retainers. When Tadaoki fell ill in 1604, the shogunate recommended that his third son, Hosokawa Tadatoshi, succeed him. This was said to be because the third son, Tadatoshi, had stronger ties with the shogunate. However, when his second son, Okiaki, was sent to Edo as a hostage in place of Tadatoshi, he ran away and fled to Tadaoki Hosokawa's father, Yuusai.

In the end, the Hosokawa family was succeeded by his third son, Tadatoshi, who married Princess Chiyo, the great-granddaughter of Tokugawa Ieyasu and whose great-uncle was the second shogun, Tokugawa Hidetada, and became the second lord of the domain. Hosokawa Tadatoshi also participated in the Siege of Osaka during his time as lord of the domain in place of his father. After the Siege of Osaka, Hosokawa Tadatoshi was given an increase in his rice stipend and transferred to the Kumamoto domain in recognition of his military achievements. Thus, the two-generation reign of the Hosokawa family came to an end.

The period of Ogasawara's rule

After Tadatoshi Hosokawa was transferred to the Kumamoto Domain, Tadamasa Ogasawara, the second lord of Matsumoto Domain and Tadatoshi's brother-in-law, was transferred there with a fief of 150,000 koku in Buzen Province. He is also famous as the daimyo whom Miyamoto Musashi served. He was also a tea master and a man of refined tastes, and devoted himself to the development of Aganoyaki pottery in what is now Kahara Town, Tagawa County, Fukuoka Prefecture. He was also the founder of the Ogasawara family's ancient school of tea ceremony, but he was also a great lover of pickled vegetables, and there is an anecdote that he brought a rice bran bed with him when he traveled from Matsumoto Domain to Kokura Domain via Akashi Domain.

The Ogasawara clan, whose ancestor was Ogasawara Tadazane, ruled the Kokura Domain until the end of the Edo period. During the time of the second lord of the domain, Ogasawara Tadao, his younger brother Masakata was given 10,000 koku of land, and the branch domain, Kokura Shinden Domain, was born. At this time, the domain's finances deteriorated due to famine and having to take on many of the shogunate's construction projects. Since the fourth lord, Ogasawara Tadatsugu, died without leaving any children, the Ogasawara clan of Kokura Domain strengthened their ties by competing for adopted children from the Ogasawara clan that ruled the branch domain, Kokura Shinden Domain, and the Anshi Domain in Harima Province, which had the bloodline of Ogasawara Tadazane. Incidentally, the fifth lord of the domain, Ogasawara Tadanae, was the third son of Ogasawara Nagatsune, lord of Harima Anshi Domain.

He appointed Inugama Chihiro, a man who had been highly valued by the previous feudal lord, as his chief retainer and began to reform the domain's government. He issued strict frugality orders and worked to strengthen the class system, such as standardizing the clothing of people of lower rank. As a result, the domain's finances improved, but the domain's people, who were ordered to practice strict frugality and were also heavily taxed, became increasingly dissatisfied and filed a petition. Taking responsibility for this, Inugama Chihiro resigned from all his posts, was imprisoned, and died a tragic death. Ogasawara Tadanae also took responsibility by stepping down from his position as feudal lord and retiring. This series of disturbances became known as the "Ogasawara Disturbances."

The sixth lord who succeeded him, Ogasawara Tadataka, was born as the eldest son of Ogasawara Nagatari, the lord of Anshi Domain in Harima Province, but was adopted by Ogasawara Tadanae because his birth mother was a concubine. When he became lord, the finances were improving, but the fire at the castle tower and his appointment as host of the chief envoy for the Korean mission caused a series of expenses, and the finances of the domain began to deteriorate again.

Ogasawara Tadataka wanted to become a cabinet minister in the shogunate, and ordered a man named Ogasawara Yakumo, who was an Edo elder retainer, to lobby for him to become a cabinet minister. However, Ogasawara Yakumo opposed the idea, saying that to become a cabinet minister in the shogunate, and especially to obtain a position that was in line with the status of the Ogasawara family, a huge amount of bribes would be required, and the Kokura domain at the time could not afford such bribes. Ogasawara Tadataka initially listened to the proposal, but in the end, unable to contain his ambition, he urged Yakumo to become politically active. Yakumo reluctantly began working to make Yakumo a cabinet minister (rōjū) in the shogunate. This work put even more strain on the finances of the Kokura domain, and the domain's finances deteriorated to the point of near bankruptcy.

Some of the vassals who supported the Kokura Domain believed that Ogasawara Yakumo was the root of all evil and plotted to assassinate him, assassinating his confidant. Furthermore, some of the vassals fled en masse to Kurosaki in Chikuzen Province, which was part of the neighboring Fukuoka Domain. This scandal reached the ears of the shogunate, and Ogasawara Izumo was dismissed from his position as chief retainer and fell from grace, some of his vassals were executed, and the sixth lord of the domain, Ogasawara Tadataka, was placed under house arrest for 100 days. As the destination of the fleeing vassals was Kurosaki, this turmoil was named the "Black and White Turmoil," after the remaining vassals, who resembled the "white" stones in Go.

The Kokura Domain was devastated by the Black and White Disturbance, and the magistrate, unable to bear the hardships of the peasants, unilaterally reduced the taxes and then committed seppuku to atone for his crimes. Tadataka took measures to restore the domain's finances, but to no avail, and the Kokura Domain continued to decline.

However, the seventh lord, Ogasawara Tadataka, was a very capable and fair man, and managed to restore the declining Kokura domain to a state "better than under the sixth lord", but he died at the young age of 49. The eighth lord who succeeded him, Ogasawara Tadayoshi, was Tadataka's younger brother, and was a very intelligent man, just like his older brother. He followed his brother's aspirations and promoted policies to encourage industry and devoted himself to the development of medicines. As a result, he regained the trust of the people of the domain and progress was made in rebuilding the domain's administration, but the rift that had developed among his vassals was still lingering. He died at the age of 22, younger than his brother.

His successor, Ogasawara Tadamichi, also died at the age of 39, and the last lord, Ogasawara Tadamasa, took the throne at just 4 years old. Soon after he took the throne, the Second Choshu Expedition broke out. As the Kokura Domain was a fudai daimyo, it was attacked by the Choshu Domain and was at a disadvantage. At this time, the elder retainers Komiya Tamibu and Shimamura Shizuma, who controlled the administration of the domain, decided to abandon Kokura Castle, and after sending the lord of the domain to the Kumamoto Domain, they set fire to the castle and burned it down. As a result, the Kokura Domain was essentially destroyed. After that, the vassals established a new government office in Kahara, Tagawa County, and the following year they made peace with the Choshu Domain, and in 1868 they showed their willingness to obey the new government. In 1869 (Meiji 2), the last lord, Ogasawara Tadamasa, became the governor of the domain, and after the abolition of the domains and establishment of prefectures, he studied in Europe, became a member of the House of Peers as a count, and died at the age of 36.

Summary of Kokura Domain

Although Kokura Domain experienced few natural disasters, it was hit by famines many times, and during the rule of the Ogasawara family, the domain's administration was on the verge of collapse due to harsh frugality orders and excessive activities to become cabinet ministers. There were many excellent domain lords, but after the Black and White Disturbance, the domain never regained its former glory and entered the Meiji era.

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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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