Himeji Domain (1/2)Ruled by prestigious families such as Terumasa Ikeda and the Sakai family.

himeji domain

Ikeda family crest “Bizen butterfly”

Article category
History of the domain
domain name
Himeji Domain (1749-1871)
Hyogo prefecture
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Himeji castle

Himeji castle

National treasure tower
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One of Japan's most famous castles, Himeji Castle served as the domain office of Himeji Castle throughout the Edo period.
The Himeji Domain was founded by Terumasa Ikeda, a military commander who served Oda Nobunaga, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, and Tokugawa Ieyasu, and reached the Meiji Restoration during the era when the Sakai clan, the leading feudal lord, ruled.
Now, let's unravel the history of Himeji Domain.

Himeji Domain before Terumasa Ikeda

Himeji Castle has a long history as the residence of the Akamatsu clan, which began when they built a fort on Himeyama during the Nanbokucho period.
In the late Sengoku period, Himeji Castle became the base of Hideyoshi Hashiba's invasion of China, and after his half-brother Hidenaga Hashiba served as the castle's lord for a time, a military commander named Sadaka Kinoshita became the castle owner.

Sadaie Kinoshita served in important positions such as a housekeeper at Osaka Castle, but at the Battle of Sekigahara he remained neutral, not supporting either the Western or Eastern armies.
Therefore, Tokugawa Ieyasu took Himeji Castle from Kinoshita Sadaie and gave it to his vassal Terumasa Ikeda for 520,000 koku as a reward for capturing Gifu Castle.
As a result, the Himeji domain was established and the reign of the Ikeda family began.

Reign of the Ikeda family

Terumasa Ikeda, the first lord of Himeji Castle, married Tokuhime, the daughter of Tokugawa Ieyasu.
For this reason, he was highly trusted by Tokugawa Ieyasu, and although he was a Tozama daimyo, he was a great daimyo with a wealth of 520,000 koku.
He was also deeply involved in the politics of the shogunate, and was present at the meeting between Ieyasu and Toyotomi Hideyori at Nijo Castle.
Terumasa Ikeda extensively renovated Himeji Castle and brought it closer to its current form.
When he died at the age of 50, Toshitaka Ikeda succeeded him.

Toshitaka had already replaced his half-brother Tadatsugu Ikeda as the lord of the Bizen Okayama domain. However, shortly after becoming the lord of the Himeji domain, he died of illness at the young age of 33.

His son, Mitsumasa Ikeda, succeeded him, but since he was 7 years old at the time, it was judged that he was too young to rule the Himeji domain, so he was transferred to the Tottori domain.

In this way, the Ikeda family left the Himeji domain, but Mitsumasa Ikeda later moved from the Tottori domain to the Okayama domain, and his descendants ruled the Okayama domain from then on until the Meiji Restoration.

Reign of the Honda family

Honda Tadakatsu's eldest son, Honda Tadamasa, replaced the Ikeda family as the lord of the Himeji domain. Honda Tadakatsu was the first lord of the Ise-Kuwana domain, but changed country as the second generation. By the way, Honda Tadamasa also had a princess from the Tokugawa family as his legal wife (Nobuyasu Matsudaira's second daughter, Kumahime).

Tadamasa Honda died at the age of 50, and was succeeded by his second son Masatomo Honda, but neither of them had any notable achievements.
Masakatsu Honda, who succeeded him, was not originally in a position to become the lord of the domain. However, Masanaga and Masanobu, the children of the second lord Masatomo Honda, were both young, so Honda Masakatsu, Honda Masatomo's cousin, took over as a bridge. He adopted Masatomo's eldest son, Masanaga, and promised to give him the title of lord when he grew up, but gradually he came to want his biological son, Masatoshi Honda, to succeed him.

Therefore, after his father's death, Masakatsu's son, Masatoshi Honda, approached Tadakiyo Sakai, the chief roju of the fourth shogun, Ietsuna Tokugawa, to give 90,000 koku of Masakatsu's inheritance of 150,000 koku to Masanaga, and 60,000 koku. They worked to have political interests divide it up and inherit it. This is called the June 9 riot.

However, it is said that Masatoshi Honda was dissatisfied with this and killed Masanaga Honda with poison. In the end, Honda Masatoshi was unable to become the lord of Himeji Castle, and Masanaga Honda's adopted son, Honda Tadakuni, became the lord of Himeji Castle, and soon after, the country was transferred to Fukushima, Mutsu Province.
Masatoshi Honda was then transferred to Akashi, Harima, but due to his bad behavior, which included not hesitating the use of violence against his maids and vassals, he was finally expelled from the province in 1693, and became Dewa Province. It is now in the custody of Tadamasa Sakai, the lord of the Shonai domain. In other words, he was fired from the daimyo position.

It is said that his violent behavior never subsided during his lifetime, and if he had not been a daimyo, he would have been sentenced to death. This uproar marked the end of the Honda family's reign in the Himeji domain.

The process by which the Sakai family became the lords of Himeji

Until the Sakai family became the lords of the Himeji domain, the lords of the Himeji domain changed hands almost every two generations.
These are the Matsudaira (Okudaira), Matsudaira (Echizen), Sakakibara (Matsudaira), and Honda families.

The article on Himeji 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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