Akashi domainCreated as a deterrent to Western countries

Akashi domain

Ogasawara family crest “Sankai Rhishi”

Article category
History of the domain
domain name
Akashi Domain (1617-1871)
Hyogo prefecture
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Akashi Castle

Akashi Castle

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The Akashi clan was a domain that ruled Akashi District, Harima Province, and Misukuro District, Harima Province (present-day Akashi City, Hyogo Prefecture, Nishi Ward, Kobe City, Tarumi Ward, Kobe City, and Miki City, Hyogo Prefecture), with Akashi Castle as the domain office. Just as Akashi Castle was a castle built to control the Western countries, the Akashi clan was a domain established to monitor the Western countries. For this reason, the feudal lord and the family of the feudal lord ruled the domain, but by the end of the Edo period, the domain had undergone frequent changes of country, with six families changing hands.
Let's unravel the history of the Akashi clan.

How the Akashi clan was born

The land of Akashi was part of the Himeji domain until the Osaka Siege in 1615. In 1617, when Mitsumasa Ikeda, the lord of the domain, was transferred to the Tottori domain, the 200,000 koku territory was divided, and the land of Akashi was transferred from the Matsumoto domain to Ogasawara Tadamane. It is given in 10,000 koku. Ogasawara Tadamasa's mother is Nobuyasu Honda, the eldest son of Tokugawa Ieyasu, and Tokuhime, the daughter of Tokuhime, one of the daughters of Oda Nobunaga.

In other words, Ogasawara Tadamasa had a wonderful bloodline, having Ieyasu Tokugawa and Nobunaga Oda as his great-grandfathers on both his paternal and maternal sides, and was a reliable member of the Tokugawa family.

Furthermore, there is an anecdote that he was so fond of rice bran pickles that he even carried his own rice bran bed with him. He was also a famous tea master, and after being transferred from Akashi to the Kokura domain, he established the tea ceremony there and worked hard to cultivate Ueno ware.
He built Akashi Castle, which was the mission of the second shogun, Hidetada Tokugawa. The Sanyo Expressway passes through Akashi, leading to Tanba Province, Tajima Province, Awaji Island, and Shikoku. Building a castle there and placing a domain ruled by a daimyo family loyal to the shogunate was very effective as a deterrent to the western countries.

Furthermore, Miyamoto Musashi, a renowned swordsman, was also involved in the construction of the Akashi clan's castle and castle town.
Miyamoto Musashi was born in Harima Province and had contact with Honda Tadatoki after Mitsumasa Ikeda. Honda Tadatoki and Ogasawara Tadamasa are brothers-in-law. After Miyamoto Musashi built Akashi Castle's tree mansion, etc., he served Ogasawara Tadamasa himself for a long period of time.

Eleven years after Ogasawara Tadamasa built Akashi Castle and established the Akashi Domain, he was transferred to the Kokura Domain in Buzen Province in 1632. He moved to Kokura with his nukadoko and spread rice bran pickles in his area, and it is said that even today, each house in Kokura still has a nukadoko called ``hyakunenyoko.''

After Tadamasa Ogasawara was transferred, his successor was Yoshinao Matsudaira, who had also been transferred from the Matsumoto domain, but he died at only 18 years old, so his nephew succeeded him. However, his nephew Mitsushige Matsudaira, who inherited the headship of the family, was soon transferred to Kano, Mino Province.
After that, the Akashi clan's Fudai and parent clan's families changed every few generations.

Rule from the Fujii Matsudaira family to the Honda family

After the Toda Matsudaira family was transferred, Okubo Tadatoki served as the only lord for 10 years. Due to the influence of his grandfather Tadayuki Okubo, he was forced to live in captivity, but in 1625 he was pardoned and served as the lord of various domains. The Akashi clan was one of them.

After Okubo Tadatoki was transferred, the Fujii Matsudaira family served as the lord for two generations. Tadakuni Matsudaira worked hard to develop new fields and excavate trenches. His successor, Nobuyuki Matsudaira, did his best to protect learning and culture, including protecting Kumazawa Banzan, which was left in the care of the Akashi clan due to his criticism of the shogunate, and building Hitomaro Shrine. He was then promoted to rojū (rojū) in 1685.

Masatoshi Honda, who became the lord of Akashi after Nobuyuki Matsudaira left Akashi, was the great-grandson of Tadakatsu Honda, one of the Four Heavenly Kings of Tokugawa. He became the lord of the Akashi domain because he became involved in the Honda family turmoil. Due to this disturbance, also known as the ``Kuroku Riot,'' Masatoshi was transferred from the Koriyama domain to the Akashi domain. He is focusing on developing new rice fields in a place called Okubo Village within his territory. However, the villagers complained to the visiting envoy from the shogunate, and he was transferred as a punitive measure and left to the Mutsu Okubo domain.

Rule of the Akashi Matsudaira family

After Masatoshi Honda left the Akashi clan, the Akashi Matsudaira family ruled the Akashi clan until the end of the Edo period. The Akashi Matsudaira family started with Hideyasu Yuki, the second son of Tokugawa Ieyasu. Naoaki Matsudaira, the grandson of Hideyasu Yuki, became the first lord of the Akashi domain. From around this time, the Akashi clan's finances became tight due to continued poor harvests due to locusts and orders from the shogunate to carry out construction work.

During the era of Naozumi Matsudaira, the third lord of the Akashi Matsudaira family, he tried to rebuild his finances by issuing silver notes. However, the country's finances continued to deteriorate, and by the time of the sixth lord, Naochika Matsudaira, they were even borrowing money from merchants within the domain.

Matsudaira Masanobu, the 8th feudal lord, was the adopted son of the 7th feudal lord and the 26th son of Tokugawa Ienari. He was the half-brother of the 12th shogun, Ieyoshi Tokugawa, and the uncle of the 13th shogun, Iesada Tokugawa. As a result, the koku of the domain was increased from 60,000 koku to 80,000 koku, but Nariinobu felt dissatisfied and requested that he be treated as a daimyo with 100,000 koku.

The shogunate accepted the request, but as a result, they had to maintain the status of 100,000 koku, which further worsened the domain's finances. Despite all that he had done, Matsudaira Yoshinobu passed away from illness at the age of 20.

The 9th lord, Yoshinori Matsudaira, was the eldest son of the 7th lord, Naota Matsudaira, and was temporarily excluded from succession to the family headship because the 8th lord, Ienari Tokugawa, was adopted by the 7th lord. However, due to the sudden death of the 8th lord, Ienari Tokugawa, he was forced to take over as head of the family.
The world was approaching the end of the Edo period, and foreign ships began to appear off the coast of Akashi. Yoshinori Matsudaira built 12 batteries on the Akashi coast and was ordered by the shogunate to guard Shinagawa.

The Boshin War was fought on the side of the shogunate at first, but without doing much, they surrendered to the Meiji government forces and headed into the Meiji era.
The last lord of the domain was the 10th generation, Naomune Matsudaira, who served as the governor of the domain, and soon handed over the headship to his younger brother before dying of illness.

Akashi clan summary

The Akashi domain was considered important by the shogunate as a key location in the western region, but it was a restless domain, with six generations of feudal lords and family members changing hands. The Akashi Matsudaira family eventually produced ten generations of feudal lords, some of whom were forced upon them by the shogunate, such as Naomune Matsudaira, the eighth lord.
By the way, although the descendants who inherited the surname of Matsudaira Akashi have disappeared, there are descendants remaining in the bloodline, and they still maintain ties with Akashi City.

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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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