Kyōgoku clan

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Kyōgoku clan
Kamon yotumeyui.png
The emblem (mon) of the Kyōgoku clan
Home province Ōmi
Parent house Sasaki clan
Titles Various
Current head Takaharu Kyōgoku
Dissolution still extant

The Kyōgoku clan (京極氏, Kyōgoku-shi) were a Japanese daimyo clan which rose to prominence during the Sengoku and Edo periods. The clan descend from the Uda Genji through the Sasaki clan.[1] The name derives from the Kyōgoku quarter of Kyoto during the Heian period.[2]

The Kyōgoku acted as shugo (governors) of Ōmi, Hida, Izumo and Oki Provinces in the period before the Ōnin War.[2]

A period of decline in clan fortunes was mitigated with the rise of the Tokugawa clan. Members of the clan were daimyo of territories on the islands of Kyūshū and Shikoku during the Edo period.[2] Under the Tokugawa shogunate, the Kyōgoku were identified as tozama or outsiders, in contrast with the fudai or insider daimyo clans which were hereditary vassals or allies of the Tokugawa.[3]

At the fall of the Tokugawa shogunate, the Kyōgoku had been enfeoffed at Marugame and Tadotsu in Sanuki, Toyooka in Tajima, and Mineyama Domain in Tango Province. A branch of the Kyōgoku was ranked among the kōke.[2]


The tozama Kyōgoku are descended directly from Emperor Uda (868-897) through his grandson Minamoto no Masanobu (920-993).[4] They represent a branch of the Sasaki clan who were adopted by the Seiwa Genji.[2]

The branches of the tozama Kyōgoku clan include the following:

Takatsugu's son, Kyōgoku Tadataka (1593–1637), married the fourth daughter of Shogun Tokugawa Hidetada in 1607. Tadataka's revenues were increased gradually over time. In 1634, he was granted Matsue Domain (260,000 koku) in Izumo Province; but he died three years later without leaving any heirs. His holdings reverted to the shogunate.[5]
Kyōgoku Takatomo.
The bakufu designated Kyōgoku Takakazu, the son of Tadataka's brother Takamasa, to continue the line. Tadakazu was enfeoffed at Tatsuno (50,000 koku) in Harima Province. In 1658, the family was transferred to Marugame in Sanuki Province, where they remained daimyo until the abolition of the han system in 1871. The head of this clan line was ennobled as a viscount in the Meiji period.[1]
Kyōgoku Takahiro (1599–1677) was the adopted son and heir of Takatomo. When the administration of Miyazu became his responsibility after 1621, the revenues of the domain were reduced to 75,000 koku. The poor stewardship of Takahiro was exacerbated by that of his son Kyōgoku Takakuni (1616–1675). Shogun Tokugawa Ietsuna dispossessed the Kyōgoku of Miyazu in 1666, banishing both Takakuni and his son, Kyōgoku Takayori. In 1687, Takayori was permitted to return from banishment; and he was granted a pension of 2,000 koku and a position amongst the kōke. This Edo period bureaucratic position was responsible for official rituals and ceremonies.[7]
The Kyōgoku residence in Toyooka.
  • An offshoot of the cadet branch was created in 1604 when Kyōgoku Takatomo transferred his seat of authority to Miyasu Castle. This clan sub-branching comprised those descendants of the Kyōgoku who continued to hold Tanabe Castle in Tango Province. In 1668, this clan branch was transferred to Toyooka Domain (15,000 koku) in Tajima Province. The head of this clan line was created a viscount in the Meiji period.[1]
  • Another offshoot of the cadet branch was established in 1620 when Kyōgoku Takamichi (1603–1665) was enfeoffed at Mineyama Domain (10,000 koku) in Tango Province. Takamichi, who was the son of Kuchiki Tanetsuna, had been adopted by Takatomo. The descendants of Takamichi were daimyo in this han until 1871. The head of this clan line was recognized as a viscount in the Meiji period.

Modern times[edit]

The fall of the Tokugawa shogunate created ripple of unanticipated consequences amongst the daimyo closely associated with the bafuku. One results of these economic changes was that the residence in Edo belonging to the Kyōgoku daimyo of Tadotsu was sold. The clan's house and garden fell into the hands of Inoue Kaoru, the first foreign minister in the Meiji government.[8] The home became a venue for entertaining foreign dignitaries and introducing them to the esthetics of Japanese gardens.[9]

After World War II, the former Kyōgoku property was acquired by the International House of Japan. A new residence hall and cultural center was built on the site, but the garden was preserved as the unanticipated yet enduring legacy of the Kyōgoku clan.[8] The garden survives and the clan continues, albeit with less public visibly.

Notable clan members[edit]

Ōishi Riku, wife of Ōishi Kuranosuke, leader of the Forty-seven Ronin, was a daughter of Ishizuka Tsuneyoshi, principal house elder of Toyooka domain. She later returned to Toyooka, and lived with her father at the time of the revenge of the ronin.

In 1925, the first election of the members of the House of Peers representing the Meiji-created nobility ( the kazoku) was held. As a result, Viscount Takanori Kyōgoku of Sanuki was amongst those who were seated in the upper house of the Imperial Diet.[10]

In 2009, Takaharu Kyōgoku became the chief priest (kannushi) of the Yasukuni Shrine. He is the 15th head of the Kyogoku family that held power in Toyooka until the Meiji Restoration.[11]

Clan heads[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Papinot, Jacques. (2003). Nobiliare du Japon, pp. 27-28.
  2. ^ a b c d e Iwao, Seiichi et al. (2002). Dictionnaire historique du Japon, p. 1704.
  3. ^ Appert, Georges et al. (1888). Ancien Japon, p. 76.
  4. ^ Plutschow, Herbert. (1995). "Japan's Name Culture: The Significance of Names in a Religious, Political and Social Context, pp. 133-134.
  5. ^ Papinot, pp. 27-28; Murdock, James. (1996). A History of Japan, p. 19.
  6. ^ Mass, Jeffrey P. (1985). The Bakufu in Japanese history, p. 162.
  7. ^ Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric. (2005). "Kōke" in Japan Encyclopedia, p. 547, p. 547, at Google Books; n.b., Louis-Frédéric is pseudonym of Louis-Frédéric Nussbaum, see Deutsche Nationalbibliothek Authority File Archived 2012-05-24 at
  8. ^ a b Pearson, Clifford. "Glimpses of Contemporary Japan: Or Octopus Balls for Breakfast," Japan Society (New York).
  9. ^ International House of Japan: Edo residence and garden.
  10. ^ "Nobility, Peerage and Ranks in Ancient and Meiji-Japan," p. 27-28.
  11. ^ a b "New Yasukuni chief priest picked," Japan Times. June 13, 2009.
  12. ^ "House of Peers (Kizokuin), 1909" at, p. 14; retrieved 2013-4-9.


External links[edit]