Aizu Domain (1/2)Ruled by the Uesugi and Aizu Matsudaira families.

Aizu domain

Matsudaira family crest “three hollyhocks”

Article category
History of the domain
domain name
Aizu Domain (1601-1871)
Fukushima Prefecture
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Tsuruga Castle

Tsuruga Castle

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The Aizu domain was a strategic point in the Tohoku region that was captured by Date Masamune from the Aizu Ashina clan, and then commandeered by Toyotomi Hideyoshi. From the beginning of the Edo period, the Aizu Matsudaira family, whose origin was Masayuki Hoshina, the fourth son of Hidetada Tokugawa, served as the lord of the Aizu domain until the end of the Edo period. Here, we will introduce the history of the Aizu domain.

Aizu domain before Masayuki Hoshina entered the castle

The foundations of the castle town and castle town, which are now being restored, were built for the Aizu domain by three castle lords appointed by Toyotomi Hideyoshi: Ujisato Gamo, Hideyuki Gamo, and Kagekatsu Uesugi. However, after the death of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, Uesugi Kagekatsu thoroughly opposed Tokugawa Ieyasu and worked hard to build up military forces. Tokugawa Ieyasu began his conquest of Aizu in 1600, marking the beginning of the Battle of Sekigahara. Kagekatsu Uesugi sided with the western army at the Battle of Sekigahara, so the Uesugi family was allowed to continue, but the territory of Dewa Yonezawa was reduced to 300,000 koku.

Tokugawa Ieyasu increased the power of Hideyuki Gamo, who had been amended by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, from 180,000 koku to 600,000 koku, and appointed him again as lord of the Aizu domain. This additional stone width is unprecedented, and this is said to be because Hideyuki Gamo's legal wife was the daughter of Tokugawa Ieyasu. However, Hideyuki Gamo was unable to control his vassals well, and the family turmoil (Gamo Riots) that had led to the change of orders reignited. Furthermore, in 1611, the Aizu earthquake estimated to have a magnitude of 7 occurred, and Tsurugasaki Castle suffered significant damage, with the castle tower leaning and the stone walls collapsing.

Perhaps due to stress, Hideyuki Gamo died at the age of 30, and was succeeded by his eldest son, Tadasato Gamo. Gamo Tadasato strengthened his ties with the shogunate by strengthening his relationship with his cousin, Tokugawa Iemitsu, but he suddenly died at the age of 25. Since Tadasato had no children, Yoshiaki Kato, one of the Shizugatake Seven Spears, was transferred from the Iyo Domain to take over the lordship of Aizu.

Yoshiaki Kato, together with his eldest son Akinari Kato, focused on the maintenance of the castle town and Tsurugasaki Castle. The castle tower, which was left leaning during the Aizu earthquake, has also been rebuilt.

However, the expenses at this time put pressure on the Aizu domain's finances, and Akinari Kato made the collection of annual tax stricter. As a result, when famine struck the Aizu domain in 1642, more than 2,000 farmers abandoned their villages and fled to other countries. In addition, Akinari Kato, who succeeded Yoshiaki Kato as the lord of the domain, had a fierce conflict with the chief retainer, Horinushimizu, and in the end, the Horinushimizu clan, which numbered about 300 people, entered Tsurugasaki Castle, broke through the checkpoint, and entered Edo. (Aizu Riot) Hori Shusui appeals to the shogunate about Akinari Kato's wrongdoing, and requests protection for himself.

The case was decided by Shogun Iemitsu Tokugawa himself. Although some of Hori Shusui's claims were accepted, he was held responsible for running away from the country and arriving at Tsurugasaki Castle, and his custody was handed over to Akinari Kato. Hori Shusui was executed, and the Aizu riots came to an end. However, in 1643, Kato Akinari returned 400,000 koku of Aizu to the shogunate, and the shogunate received it. As a result, the Kato family was allowed to continue, but Akinari Kato's eldest son Akitomo Kato was transferred to the Iwami Yoshinaga domain with 10,000 koku, and the Kato family's control of Aizu came to an end.

Reign of the Aizu Matsudaira family

After Kato Akinari returned his territory to the shogunate in 1643, Masayuki Hoshina, the lord of the Dewa Yamagata domain, was transferred to the Aizu domain. Masayuki Hoshina was the fourth son of Hidetada Tokugawa, but he was born as an illegitimate child rather than an official legitimate child. There is an anecdote that when he was an extremely talented person and was transferred from the Takato domain to the Dewa Yamagata domain, the farmers of the Takato domain fled the village in their thousands and moved to the Yamagata domain without permission.

Masayuki Hoshina entered the Aizu domain as a daimyo with 230,000 koku. At that time, the Aizu domain was in dire financial straits due to natural disasters, famine, and family turmoil, but it was almost completely rebuilt thanks to Masayuki Hoshina's political skills. Masayuki Hoshina served as the guardian of the fourth shogun, Ietsuna Tokugawa, and was even promoted to the rank of Tairo, so it is said that he only set foot in Aizu for a few years in his later years, in 1647.

However, Masayuki Hoshina successfully laid the foundation for the Aizu Matsudaira family's rule, which lasted until the end of the Edo period, and handed over the position of lord to his son, Masatsune Hoshina. Masatsune Hoshina opened a medicinal herb garden that became the garden that is now open to the public as ``Oyakuen'' and tried to protect the people of his territory from epidemics, but due to his poor health, he died without having any legitimate children. . The next lord of the domain will be his younger brother Masatoshi Matsudaira. Masatoshi initially called himself Masatoshi Hoshina, but after obtaining permission from the Tokugawa family to permanently use the surname Matsudaira and the mitsuba hollyhock crest, he changed his name to Matsudaira. After that, the Hoshina family became known as the Aizu Matsudaira family and was recognized as a branch of the Tokugawa family.

In 1749, when Yosada Matsudaira became the fourth lord of the domain, succeeding Masatoshi Matsudaira, the largest peasant uprising since the beginning of the Aizu domain occurred. (Aizu Hironobu Uprising) The cause of this uprising was that the Aizu domain tried to improve its financial crisis by collecting harsh tax payments, which was compounded by poor harvests. The Aizu clan captured and executed the ringleader, but in order to suppress the uprising, they reduced the annual tax. After that, during the Horeki era from 1751 to 1764, the debt of the Aizu clan increased to approximately 370,000 ryo. The repayment amount had risen to 42,200 ryo per year, but it had become impossible to continue paying. Matsudaira Yasusada appointed a man named Ibuka Shusui to rebuild the domain's economy, but Shusui was unable to resolve the debt problem and abandoned the domain and ran away.

The person who improved this hopeless financial situation was Tanaka Genzai, the chief retainer appointed by the fifth lord, Matsudaira Yoshiho. At the same time, Genzai introduced a policy of promoting industry, restoring rural areas, and focusing on educational reform, and at the same time carried out bold reforms to the domain's administration, including stricter punishment for fraud and the appointment of talented people. As a result, the Aizu clan was able to recover from bankruptcy.

Boshin War and Aizu Domain

Yosumi Matsudaira, the sixth lord of the domain who succeeded the fifth lord Yosuke Matsudaira, died young when his eldest child was young, and Yoshu Matsudaira became the seventh lord at the age of only three. Yoshu Matsudaira also died young at the age of 20 and left no legitimate children, so Matsudaira Yoshitaka, the second son of Haruyasu Tokugawa, the 6th lord of the Mito domain in Hitachi Province, and the illegitimate son of Yoshikazu Matsudaira, became the 8th lord of the Mito domain in Hitachi Province. Matsudaira Yasunori was also unable to have children, and handed over his position as the 9th lord to his nephew. This ``nephew'' is Katamori Matsudaira, who is famous in history. Katamori Matsudaira is a child of Yoshitake Matsudaira, the 10th lord of the Takasu domain in Mino Province, and his older brother is Yoshikatsu Tokugawa, the 14th head of the Owari Tokugawa family, Shigenori Tokugawa, the 10th lord of the Hitotsubashi Tokugawa family, and his younger brother is the 13th lord of the Kuwana domain of Ise. There is Sadataka Matsudaira, the next lord of the domain. At the end of the Edo period, these four were central figures on the Shogunate side, opposing the Meiji government, and were also known as the Four Takasu Brothers.

The article on Aizu 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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