Mito Domain (1/2)One of the three Tokugawa families

Mito domain

Tokugawa family crest: “Three-leaved Aoi”

Article category
History of the domain
domain name
Mito Domain (1602-1871)
Ibaraki Prefecture
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mito castle

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The Mito domain was ruled by the Mito Tokugawa family, a branch of the Tokugawa family, like the Kii Tokugawa family and the Owari Tokugawa family, until the Meiji Restoration.
These three families were collectively called the ``Gosanke.''
Because the castle's family background is close to that of a shogun, the castle lord often appears on the center stage of history.
Let's unravel the history of the Mito domain.

Establishment of the Mito domain

During the era when Toyotomi Hideyoshi was at the top of the samurai ranks as Kanpaku, Mito was ruled by the Satake clan.
When the Battle of Sekigahara occurred in 1600, Yoshinobu Satake, the feudal lord, remained neutral and did not side with either the eastern or western armies, so after the establishment of the Edo shogunate, Dewa Kubota was given 210,000 koku. I ended up having it resealed.

After that, Takeda Shinkichi, the fifth son of Tokugawa Ieyasu, moved to Mito, but died suddenly the following year without a successor, so the land of Mito was given to Tokugawa Ieyasu's tenth son, Yorinobu.
By the way, Yorinobu Tokugawa was only 2 years old at this time, and at the age of 8 he became the lord of the Kishu domain and became the founder of the Kii Tokugawa family.

During this period, the financial side of government was handled by Nobushige Ashizawa, and the administrative side was handled by a man named Tadatsugu Ina, the Kanto District representative, but due to a misunderstanding between the domain officials and the villagers, the residents of a village called ``Namase Village'' were brutally murdered. There is a legend that an incident called the ``Namase Incident'' occurred.
When Yorinobu Tokugawa became the lord of the Kishu domain, Yorifusa Tokugawa, who was 6 years old at the time and was the 11th son of Ieyasu, Yorinobu's younger brother by the same mother, was transferred from the Shimotsuma domain of Shimousa and became the founder of the Mito Tokugawa family.

The Mito domain was the only domain in the Edo-seifu domain that did not practice sankin kotai among the three Tokugawa families. It is said that this is because they served as the shogun's successor in case something happened to the shogun.
During the era of the third lord of the Mito domain, Tokugawa Tsunajo, the stone height of the Mito domain was set at 350,000 koku for ``developing new fields,'' but the actual stone height was in the low 200,000 koku range.
The Mito domain had to pay double costs for the castle lord and some of his vassals to live in Edo and for the vassals who practiced in the province, and everything required a formal status of 350,000 koku. It actually looked like it was quite painful.

Mito Domain from the second lord to the Meiji period

Yorifusa Tokugawa, the founder of the Mito domain, lived his entire life in Edo and never set foot on Mito.
The first castle lord born in Mito was Mitsukuni Mito, the second lord of the domain.
Mito Mitsukuni is famous for the fiction that he traveled around various countries accompanied by his companions, but in real life, Mito Mitsukuni encouraged Confucianism, established the Shokokan, compiled the Great History of Japan, and created the foundations of Mito Studies. Ta.

Mito Mitsukuni was the third son born to his father, Yorifusa Tokugawa, and a woman who was not his official concubine, and although he was initially ordered to have an abortion, there is an anecdote that his mother disobeyed orders and gave birth. .

Mito Mitsukuni was a scholarly feudal lord who built a ship called the Kaifu Maru and ordered three expeditions to Ezo.
In the real story, Mitsukuni only traveled back and forth around the Kanto area and never visited other places in his life, but he has sent people to do fieldwork all over the country.
This may have been the basis for fiction.

In addition, he has left many other achievements, including inviting the exiled Ming Dynasty Confucian scholar Zhu Shunsui to teach him, and running a water supply project.
It also had an influence on the shogunate during the era of the fifth shogun, Tokugawa Tsunayoshi.
On the other hand, there was also the negative side of the fact that the compilation of the history of Japan cost a great deal of money, which put pressure on the domain's finances, and the villages within the domain were constantly forced to flee.

The third lord of the domain, Tokugawa Tsunajo, attempted a financial reform called Hoei's New Law in an attempt to rebuild the sagging finances, but in the end it failed and the domain's finances worsened.
Although his political skills were poor and he was not enthusiastic, he seems to have been a scholar like Mitsukuni Tokugawa, and left behind many works such as ``Hōzan Bunko'' and ``Hōzan Eiso.''

The fourth lord, Tokugawa Munetaka, was an intelligent man, but died young at the age of 26, and the fifth lord, Tokugawa Munetaka, became lord at the age of one and after growing up, tried to reform the domain, but failed and gave up and lost interest in politics. will be lost.

During the era of the sixth lord, Haruyasu Tokugawa, the financial situation of the Mito domain worsened. Meanwhile, in the 7th year of Tenmei (1787), together with the lords of the Kii and Owari domains and the head of the Hitotsubashi clan, Harusuke Tokugawa, he promoted the purge of the Tanuma Okitsugu faction and the appointment of Matsudaira Sadanobu as roju. This will create an opportunity for the end of the Tanuma era.

He also tried to encourage industry, cultivate commercial crops, and rebuild the domain's finances, but to no avail.
On the other hand, he left an outstanding legacy as a literary figure, writing many books such as ``Bunkobunshu'' and ``Shokokaku Zaroku.''
In addition, highly learned people such as Yukoku Fujita, who was a townsman, and Sekisui Nagakubo, a farmer, were appointed as feudal retainers.

Harunori Tokugawa, the 7th lord of the domain, along with Yukoku Fujita and Sekisui Nagakubo embarked on reforming the domain's administration, but no notable results were achieved.

The article on Mito 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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