Honjō Domain

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Moats of Honjō Castle, administrative center of Honjō Domain

Honjō Domain (本荘藩 Honjō-han?) was a feudal domain in Edo period Japan, located in Dewa Province (modern-day Akita Prefecture), Japan. It was centered on Honjō Castle in what is now the city of Yurihonjō, Akita.


Much of Dewa Province was controlled by the powerful Mogami clan during the Sengoku period. The Mogami established a subsidiary holding centered on Honjō Castle in the center of the Yuri region of central Dewa Province in 1610. However, the Mogami were dispossessed by the Tokugawa shogunate in 1622, with the majority of their holdings going to the Satake clan, who were transferred from Hitachi Province, to their new (and much smaller) holdings at Kubota Domain.

Rokugō Masanori, a relatively minor samurai from Senboku Country in Dewa Province served Toyotomi Hideyoshi at the Battle of Odawara in 1590, sided with Tokugawa Ieyasu at the Battle of Sekigahara, and was eventually promoted to the status of a 10,000 koku daimyo, with his holdings scattered in Dewa and Hitachi Provinces. When the Mogami were dispossessed, the Tokugawa shogunate transferred him in 1623 from Hitachi to the newly created Honjō Domain, and increased his revenues to 20,000 koku, which were all consolidated in the form of 103 villages in Yuki County where his descendants ruled for 11 generations to the Meiji restoration.

The domain has a population of 23,911 people in 3784 households per the 1674 census. It was 11-days travel time from Edo, where the clan maintained its primary residence (kamiyashiki) at Kita-Inari-cho, in Shitaya.[1] The clan’s Edo temple was Tessho-ji in Nishi-Asakusa.

During the Boshin war, the final daimyo of Honjō Domain, Rokugō Masakane sided with the Ōuetsu Reppan Dōmei; however, the domain had scant military resources and was quickly overrun by forces of the pro-Imperial Satchō Alliance, which destroyed Honjō Castle. The new Meiji government reinstated him as domain governor in 1868, but halved his revenues to 10,000 koku. With the abolition of the han system in July 1871, and the absorption of Honjō Domain into Akita Prefecture, Rokugō Masakane relocated to Tokyo. In 1884, he and his descendents were granted the title of viscount (shishaku) in the kazoku peerage.

List of daimyō[edit]

# Name Tenure Courtesy title Court Rank kokudaka
1 Rokugō Masanori ( 六郷政乗?) 1623–1634 Hyōgō-gashira (兵庫頭) Lower 5th (従五位下) 20,000 koku
2 Rokugō Masakatsu ( 六郷政勝?) 1634–1676 Iga-no-kami (伊賀守) Lower 5th (従五位下) 20,000 koku
3 Rokugō Masanobu ( 六郷政信?) 1676–1685 Sado-no-kami (佐渡守) Lower 5th (従五位下) 20,000 koku
4 Rokugō Masaharu ( 六郷政晴?) 1685–1735 Iga-no-kami (伊賀守) Lower 5th (従五位下) 20,000 koku
5 Rokugō Masanaga ( 六郷政長?) 1735–1754 Iga-no-kami (伊賀守) Lower 5th (従五位下) 20,000 koku
6 Rokugō Masashige ( 六郷政林?) 1754–1783 Hyōgō-gashira (兵庫頭) Lower 5th (従五位下) 20,000 koku
7 Rokugō Masachika ( 六郷政速?) 1783–1812 Sado-no-kami (佐渡守) Lower 5th (従五位下) 20,000 koku
8 Rokugō Masazumi ( 六郷政純?) 1812–1822 Awa-no-kami (阿波守) Lower 5th (従五位下) 20,000 koku
9 Rokugō Masatsune ( 六郷政恒?) 1822–1848 Hyōgō-gashira (兵庫頭) Lower 5th (従五位下) 20,000 koku
10 Rokugō Masatada ( 六郷政殷?) 1848–1861 Hyōgō-gashira (兵庫頭) Lower 5th (従五位下) 20,000 koku
11 Rokugō Masakane (六郷政鑑?) 1861–1871 Hyōgō-gashira (兵庫頭) 3rd (従三位), Viscount 20,000->10,000 koku

Further reading[edit]

  • Papinot, E (1910). Historical and Geographic Dictionary of Japan. Tuttle (reprint) 1972. 
  • Sasaki Suguru (2004). Boshin Sensō 戊辰戦争. Tokyo: Chuokōron-shinsha.

External links[edit]

  • (Japanese) [www.asahi-net.or.jp/~me4k-skri/han/mutudewa/honjou.html] Honjō on "Edo 300 HTML"


  1. ^ Edo daimyo.net (Japanese)