Hirosaki Domain (1/2)Tsugaru family continues to rule

Hirosaki domain

Tsugaru family crest "Tsugaru peony"

Article category
History of the domain
domain name
Hirosaki Domain (1600-1871)
Aomori Prefecture
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Hirosaki Castle

Hirosaki Castle

Existing castle tower
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The Hirosaki domain was located in the western part of present-day Aomori prefecture. The Kuroishi clan was a branch domain, and the Tsugaru domain continued to rule this domain throughout the Edo period. Here, we will introduce the history of the Hirosaki clan in detail.

Birth of the Hirosaki clan

The Hirosaki domain was ruled throughout the Edo period by the Tsugaru clan, whose founder was Oura Tamenobu (Tsugaru Tamenobu). During the Edo period, feudal lords in many domains were transferred periodically, and it was common for a domain to be ruled by several feudal lords. However, the Tsugaru clan, who built Hirosaki Castle, continued to rule the Hirosaki domain until the end of the Edo period.

Tamenobu Tsugaru was originally a vassal of the Nanbu clan, who was also the lord of the Morioka domain, but at the end of the Sengoku period, he promoted independence, and when Hideyoshi Toyotomi was conquering Odawara, he had an audience with Hideyoshi before the Nanbu clan, and he acquired territory in the Tsugaru region. He received a red stamp that ensured his peace and became a daimyo.
Later, in the Battle of Sekigahara, he served in the eastern army led by Tokugawa Ieyasu, so his 2,000 koku was increased, and he opened the Hirosaki domain with 47,000 koku.

Tamenobu Tsugaru, the first lord of the Hirosaki domain, died in Kyoto in 1604, shortly after establishing the Hirosaki domain. The second lord of the domain, Nobuhira Tsugaru, succeeded him, but before he could become the lord of the castle, a conflict arose with a group of vassals supporting Kumachiyo, the orphaned son of his eldest son, Nobuken. This is called the Tsugaru Riot.

Due to this commotion, the Tsugaru domain was temporarily in danger of being destroyed, but Tsugaru Nobumaki took friendly measures against the Edo shogunate, won the conflict, and became the lord of the castle. Tsugaru Nobumaki inherited the construction of Hirosaki Castle, which his father was in the middle of building, and at the same time quieted down the group of vassals who had supported Kumachiyo.

In addition, Nobumaki is a devotee of Tenkai Sojo, a close aide of Tokugawa Ieyasu, and upon the priest's recommendation, he takes Mantenhime, Tokugawa Ieyasu's adopted daughter, as his wife, strengthening his ties with the shogunate. Later, after Ieyasu's death, he was caught up in the feud caused by Masanori Fukushima and almost had his fief transferred from Tsugaru to Shinshu. However, due to the strong encouragement of the monk Tenkai, he escaped from the trouble.

After that, Tsugaru Nobumaki developed new rice fields and maintained highways, built the port facilities and town of Aomori Port, established trade routes from Ezo to Kamigata and Edo, and laid the foundations of the Tsugaru domain.

Tsugaru feudal lord and family turmoil

After Nobumaki Tsugaru's death, Nobuyoshi Tsugaru, who was only 13 years old, succeeded him. Since the feudal lord is young, his aides become powerful. In particular, the power of Funabashi Hanzaemon and his son, who had served as side servants since childhood, increased, leading to a conflict with the former vassals. As a result, when Tokugawa Iemitsu and Tsugaru Nobuyoshi came to Kyoto, the vassals of the Tsugaru domain barricaded themselves in the Edo domain residence, resulting in the ``Funabashi Riot'' and an attempt to disinherit Nobuyoshi and support his younger brother, Nobuyoshi Tsugaru. This is the ``Shoho riot.'' These two family disturbances occurred during the 10 years of Kanei 11 (1634) and Shoho 4 (1647). Fortunately, he was not punished severely, such as being forced to change his position, but it seems certain that the feudal lord was restless. However, Tsugaru Nobuyoshi had a talent for politics, and he stabilized the domain's finances by establishing a series of industries, including flood control construction, the development of Tsugaru new rice fields, the opening of the Ota mine, and the establishment of a ranch. On the other hand, he was also a tyrant and a drunkard, and died at the young age of 37.

Tsugaru Nobumasa, his successor, was intelligent from an early age and studied Confucianism, military tactics, and theology under Motoyuki Yamaga and Korezari Yoshikawa. When he began to take charge of the domain, he actively tried to enrich the domain by developing Tsugaru new rice fields, constructing flood control works, and improving the forestry system. He also put effort into developing and nurturing the silk reeling industry and paper making. In addition, Japan's largest reservoir, Lake Tsugaru Fujimi, will be constructed as a water source for irrigation for new field cultivation in Nishi-Tsugaru. Due to this proactive policy, the Hirosaki domain reached its peak.
However, in his later years, a major famine occurred within the domain, resulting in over 30,000 deaths. He was also involved in an inheritance dispute with Sutonori Nasu, the lord of Karasuyama in Shimotsuke Province, and was reprimanded by the shogunate.

worsening finances

During the reign of the fifth and sixth lords of the Hirosaki domain, Nobuhisa Tsugaru and Nobuhisa Tsugaru, the Hirosaki domain experienced a series of natural disasters. The domain's finances quickly deteriorated due to poor harvests, tsunamis caused by the eruption of Matsumae Oshima, several floods, and outbreaks of disease. In addition, the fifth lord of the domain, Nobuhisa Tsugaru, had a taste for elegance and his personal indulgences were putting pressure on the domain's finances, so the sixth lord of the domain, Nobuhisa Tsugaru, had a hard time dealing with this situation. When he was the lord of the domain, Yoshimune Tokugawa carried out the Kyoho reforms in Edo, and Nobuhisa Tsugaru followed suit and carried out administrative reforms in the Hirosaki domain. However, Tsugaru Nobuhisa died young at the young age of 26, so the reforms were only half way through.

The article on Hirosaki 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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