|13th Tokugawa Shogun|
|Preceded by||Tokugawa Ieyoshi|
|Succeeded by||Tokugawa Iemochi|
|Born||6 May 1824|
|Died||14 August 1858(aged 34)|
Tokugawa Iesada (徳川 家定 (May 6, 1824 – August 14, 1858) was the 13th shogun of the Tokugawa shogunate of Japan who held office for only 5 years, from 1853 to 1858. He was physically weak and therefore unfit to be shogun in this period of great challenges. His reign marks the beginning of the Bakumatsu period.
Having risen to power soon after the Black Ships episode, he is held to have been responsible for the Unequal Treaties (Convention of Kanagawa, Anglo-Japanese Friendship Treaty, Harris Treaty, Anglo-Japanese Treaty of Amity and Commerce) which broke the sakoku and opened the Japanese frontliners to foreign influences. Kōmei, the reigning emperor at the time, was a major opponent of his policies. This strengthened the Sonnō jōi movement.
Iesada died childless in 1858, which caused factions within the bakufu to clash over the succession. Tokugawa Nariaki of Mito, Satsuma and others wanted to see Tokugawa Yoshinobu as his successor, while the Ōoku and shogunate officials like Ii Naosuke supported Tokugawa Iemochi, and succeeded. These quarrels ended in the Ansei Purge.
Eras of Iesada's bakufu
Tokugawa Iesada is featured in the 2008 NHK Taiga drama Atsuhime, which chronicles the life of his wife Tenshoin. He is portrayed by Masato Sakai. Iesada's portrayal in this series (unlike most other characterizations of him as an imbecile), presents a romanticized (and largely-fictionalized) image him as a reasonable, if weak-willed individual, whose interactions with his wife Atsuhime pushed him to exert effort into his work as shogun.
- Ravina, Mark. (2004). The Last Samurai: The Life and Battles of Saigo Takamori, pp. 62-63.
- Jansen, Marius B. and John Whitney Hall, eds. (1989). The Cambridge History of Japan, p. 316.
- See, for example, other contemporary taiga dramas such as Shinsengumi!, Ryomaden and Yae no Sakura which exaggerates his oddities and the apocryphal story of him chasing a duck within the Edo Castle compound.
- Jansen, Marius B. and John Whitney Hall, eds. (1989). The Cambridge History of Japan: The nineteenth century. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 10-ISBN 0-521-22356-3; 13-ISBN 978-0-521-22356-0
- Mogues, Alfred de. Recollections of Baron Gros's Embassy to China and Japan in 1857-58. London: Richard Griffin and Company. 1860. OCLC 6019667
- Ravina, Mark. (2004). The Last Samurai: The Life and Battles of Saigo Takamori. Hobokin, New Jersey: John Wiley and Sons. 10-ISBN 0-471-08970-2; 13-ISBN 978-0-471-08970-4; OCLC 51898842
- Totman, Conrad. (1967). Politics in the Tokugawa bakufu, 1600-1843. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. OCLC 279623