Hikone Domain (1/2)Ruled by the Ii family, the head of the Fudai daimyos.

Hikone Domain

Ii family crest: “Maru ni Tachibana”

Article category
History of the domain
domain name
Hikone Domain (1600-1871)
Shiga Prefecture
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Hikone Castle

Hikone Castle

National treasure tower
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The Hikone domain was ruled by the Ii family, whose ancestor was Ii Naomasa, one of the Four Heavenly Kings of Tokugawa. Although the shogunate periodically moved feudal lords to different countries, the Ii clan continued to rule the Hikone domain. Here, we will introduce the history of the Hikone clan.

Naomasa Ii lays the foundation for the prosperity of the Hikone domain.

The Ii family that rules the Hikone Domain is Ii Naomasa, who is known as a loyal retainer of Ieyasu. As I mentioned in the history of Hikone Castle, Ii Naomasa was given Hikone, which was Ishida Mitsunari's territory, from Tokugawa Ieyasu for his achievements in the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600. Ii Naomasa first entered the castle left by Ishida Mitsunari, but since it seemed like the Ishida family had been revived, he disliked the castle and decided to build a new one. However, his wish did not come true and he died at the age of 42 the year after Sekigahara. Naomasa Ii was a kind-hearted and considerate man who laid the foundation for the development of the Hikone clan. After Naomasa Ii's death, his eldest son Naotsugu Ii succeeded him at a young age, but due to his poor health, he was unable to participate in the summer campaign in Osaka, so he established the Ueno Annaka domain as a branch domain of the Hikone domain and became its lord. The Hikone domain was inherited by his half-brother, Naotaka Ii. Therefore, Naotsugu Ii is sometimes not counted as the second lord of the domain.

Reached the top of the Fudai daimyo

Just as Ii Naomasa was a senior vassal of Tokugawa Ieyasu, his son Ii Naotaka also played an active role as a loyal vassal of Tokugawa. He served as the commander-in-chief of the Ii family during the Osaka Winter Siege, defeated Chosokabe Morichika during the Osaka Summer Siege, and forced Yodo and Toyotomi Hideyori's mother and son to commit suicide. In recognition of this achievement, the Hikone clan was given an additional 50,000 koku. After that, Naotaka Ii was appointed by Hidetada Tokugawa to be the guardian of Iemitsu Tokugawa. This guardian position was the beginning of the term ``Tairo'', and Naotaka Ii became the first Tairo. By becoming Iemitsu's guardian, the Hikone domain was increased to 300,000 koku. This is the highest number of stone heights among Fudai daimyo, and this makes the Ii family the top among Fudai daimyo. Naotaka Ii's children also grew up in Edo and had strong ties with the Tokugawa family. Naotaka Ii led the shogunate government until his death at the age of 70. Furthermore, Naotaka Ii's youngest son, Naosumi Ii, the third generation feudal lord who inherited the headship of the family, also became Tairo. Since then, the Ii family has produced many executives of the shogunate.

sickly feudal lords

Naotaka Ii was succeeded by his fourth son, Naoki Ii. Ii Naoki served as an elder like his father, but suffered the tragedy of all of his children dying young. After serving as the fourth lord of the domain, Ii Naoki was appointed Tairo under the sixth shogun, Ienobu Tokugawa. The lordship of Hikone Castle was succeeded by his own children, Naomichi and Naotsune. However, both Naomi and Naotsune were sickly, and Naomi died of illness at the age of 22 and Naotsune at the age of 18. As for Naotsune, he died only 50 days after becoming the lord of the domain. Therefore, after Ii Naoki stepped down as the 4th lord, he became the 7th lord, changing his name to Naoharu. During the domain's administration, he established family laws and exercised strict control over his vassals, and he also enthusiastically carried out civil engineering works, such as renovating Matsubara Port and Nagasone Port on Lake Biwa. It was also Ii Naoki who reinforced Genkyuen, which is still known as a famous garden today. Because of this bold domain policy, Ii Naoki is considered the founder of the Ii family's revival. He was also deeply involved in the government of the shogunate, and after resigning as Dairo once in 1700, he assumed the position again in 1711. While serving as Dairo, he also dealt with the issue of successors to the 7th Shogun Tokugawa Ietsugu, as well as the Eshima and Ikushima Incidents. Although his name has never been featured on the center stage of history, he can be said to be a person who was involved in many historical events as the person in charge of the shogunate. He was succeeded by his 13th son, Naoyoshi Ii, but he was also in poor health and died at the age of 37 the following year after serving as the crowning officer for the 9th shogun, Ieshige Tokugawa.
If you look at it this way, you can see that although the Ii family was a famous family that produced many great elders, there were many sickly feudal lords.

Inside situation of Hikone clan

As mentioned above, the Ii family, which ruled the Hikone domain, was deeply involved in the shogunate government. Many of the successive feudal lords served as tairo, and as they remained stationed in Edo, the administration of the domain was often left to the vassals. However, Hikone rarely faced natural disasters and his vassals remained united, so there were no notable uprisings or financial crises. Even during the Great Tenmei Famine, when many people died of starvation mainly in the Tohoku region, the Hikone Domain had porridge stations set up throughout its territory and rice was distributed from the domain's storehouses, so not a single person died of starvation. That is to say. Toward the end of the Edo period, many clans were in financial trouble or starting new industries, but the Hikone clan seems to have been relatively wealthy. Furthermore, in 1810, a large-scale farmers' uprising called the Omi Tenpo Uprising took place, but mainly farmers in villages and towns other than the Hikone Domain rose up. For this reason, there were many samurai in the Hikone domain who enjoyed culture such as tea ceremony and Nohgaku, and Naosuke Ii, who was a central figure in the Ansei era's Great Prison, was also an elegant man who mastered the tea ceremony.

Naosuke Ii, an elder who stood on the center stage of history

The lord of Hikone and the most famous member of the Ii family is Naosuke Ii, the 15th lord of the Hikone domain. Naosuke Ii is known as the lord of the Hikone domain, who signed the Japan-U.S. Treaty of Amity and Commerce as an advocate of opening the country, and who carried out the opening and modernization of Japan. Naosuke Ii was born as the 14th son of Naonaka Ii, the 13th feudal lord. Naonaka was an illegitimate child born after his retirement, and under normal circumstances he would not have been able to hold an important position in the shogunate or even become a feudal lord. In fact, Naosuke Ii did not live in Hikone Castle, but in a mansion in Sannomaru, which he named ``Umoroginoya,'' where he lived until the age of 35. A buried tree is a tree that neither flowers nor bears fruit, and is an ironic depiction of one's own circumstances.

The article on Hikone Domain continues.

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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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