Ogasawara clan

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The emblem (mon) of the Ogasawara clan
In this Japanese name, the family name is "Ogasawara".

The Ogasawara clan (小笠原氏 Ogasawara-shi?) was a Japanese samurai clan descended from the Seiwa Genji.[1] The Ogasawara acted as shugo (governors) of Shinano province in the medieval period (c. 1185–1600), and as daimyō (feudal lords) of territories on Kyūshū during the Edo period (1600–1867).

During the Kamakura and Muromachi periods, the clan controlled Shinano province, while related clans controlled the provinces of Awa, Bizen, Bitchū, Iwami, Mikawa, Tōtōmi and Mutsu. According to some theories, the Miyoshi clan was descended from the Ogasawara clan.

The clan developed a number of schools of martial arts during this period, known as Ogasawara-ryū, and contributed to the codification of bushido etiquette.[2]

Towards the end of the Sengoku period (late 16th century), the clan opposed both Toyotomi Hideyoshi and Tokugawa Ieyasu.

During the Edo period, the Ogasawara were identified as one of the fudai or insider daimyō clans which were hereditary vassels or allies of the Tokugawa,[3] in contrast with the tozama or outsider clans.

Ogasawara clan branches[edit]

The fudai Ogasawara clan originated in 12th century Shinano province.[3] They claim descent from Takeda Yoshikiyo and the Seiwa-Genji.[1] Broadly, there are two genealogical lines of the Ogasawara, the Matsuo and the Fukashi, each of which identify places in Shinano. The Matsuo line gave rise to the Ogasawara of Echizen, and the Fukashi line is ultimately established at the Ogasawara of Bunzen.[4]

The great grandson of Yoshikiyo, Nagakiyo, was the first to take the name Ogasawara. The area controlled by his descendants grew to encompass the entire province of Shinano.[5]

Nagakiyo's grandson, Ogawawara Hidemasa (1569–1615), served Ieyasu; and in 1590, Hidemasa received Koga Domain (20,000 koku) in Shimōsa province. In 1601, Ieyasu transferred Hidemasa to Iida Domain (50,000 koku) in Shinano; then, in 1613, he was able to return to the home of his forebears, Fukashi Castle (80,000 koku),[1] now known as Matsumoto Castle.[6]

The branches of the fudai Ogasawara clan include the following:

  • The senior branch of the Ogasawara from the beginning were daimyō at Fukashi; then, in 1617, the daimyō was transferred to Akashi Domain (120,000 koku) in Harima province. In the years spanning 1632 through 1868, the descendants of this branch of the Ogasawara were daimyō at Kokura Domain (150,000 koku)[7] in Buzen province.[3] The head of this clan line was ennobled as a "Count" in 1884.[8]

Ogasawara-Miyoshi line[edit]

The Miyoshi clan of daimyō were cadet descendants of the Ogasawara; and through them, they were also descendants of the Seiwa-Genji Minamoto.[12] At the beginning of the 14th century, Ogasawara Nagafusa established himself in Shikoku. Amongst his descendants in the 8th generation was Yoshinaga, who established himself at Miyoshi in Awa province (now Tokushima Prefecture).

Osagawa Yoshinaga took the name Miyoshi Yoshinaga and became a vassel of the Hosokawa clan, who were then the strongest force on the island. Accounts from the late 16th century include mention of Miyoshi Yoshitsugu as the nephew and adopted son of Emperor Chōkei; however, his family in Shikoku disappears from history during this troubled period. Any remnants of the Miyoshi branch of the Ogasawara clan would have been vanquished by the Chōsokabe clan as they gradually took control of the entire island of Shikoku.[12]

Notable clan members[edit]

Ogasawara Islands (Bonin Islands)[edit]

The Ogasawara clan is inlinked to Japanese discovery of the Bonin Islands, and to Japan's claim over those islands which are now administratively considered part of metropolitan Tokyo:

  • Bunroku 1 (1592): Ogasawara Sadayori claims to have discovered the Bonin Islands, and the territory was granted to him as a fief by Toyotomi Hideyoshi.[16] These claims are later proven false and Ogasawara is exiled.
  • Kanbun 10 (1670): The islands are discovered by the Japanese when a ship bound for Edo from Kyushu is blown off course by a storm.[17]
  • Enpō 3 (1675): The islands are explored by shogunate expedition, following up "discovery" in Kanbun 10. The islands are claimed as a territory of Japan.[17]
  • Bunkyū 1 (January 1862): The islands are re-confirmed as a territory of Japan, following "discovery" of the islands in Kanbun 10 (1670) and a shogunate expedition to the islands in Enpō 3 (1675).[17]

See also[edit]

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References[edit]

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