Nihonmatsu Domain

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Nihonmatsu castle, administrative center of Nihonmatsu Domain

Nihonmatsu Domain (二本松藩, Nihonmatsu-han) was a feudal domain under the Tokugawa shogunate of Edo period Japan, located in southern Mutsu Province. It was centered on Nihonmatsu Castle in what is now the city of Nihonmatsu, Fukushima. For most of its history it was ruled by the Niwa clan. The Nihonmatsu Domain was also the scene of one of the battles of the Boshin War of the Meiji Restoration.


Niwa Nagahiro, last daimyō of Nihonmatsu

The area around Nihonmatsu was territory of the Hatakeyama clan during the late Kamakura and Muromachi periods. In 1586, Date Masamune destroyed the Hatakeyama and annexed the area to his territories. However, following the Siege of Odawara (1590), Toyotomi Hideyoshi re-assigned the area to Aizu Domain under the rule of the Gamō clan. Hideyoshi later reduced the holdings of the Gamō clan, giving Nihonmatsu and surrounding areas to Asano Nagamasa. This change was very short-lived, as Aizu domain was then reassigned to the Uesugi clan, and their holdings were expanded to encompass Nihonmatsu. The Uesugi were then shifted to Yonezawa Domain following the Battle of Sekigahara by Tokugawa Ieyasu. The Gamō then recovered Nihonmatsu, but the domain was soon beset by a variety of natural disasters, including a massive earthquake, bad weather and flooding, leading to crop failure and widespread famine. This in turn led to a peasant revolt, and the Gamō clan was eventually dispossessed by the Tokugawa shogunate and sent to Iyo Province in Shikoku.

In 1627, Matsushita Shigetsuna, daimyō of Karasuyama Domain and the son-in-law of Katō Yoshiaki was transferred to the re-established Nihonmatsu Domain, with revenues of 50,000 koku. He died a few months later, and his son was transferred to the much smaller Miharu Domain in 1628.

The Matsushita were replaced by Katō Akitoshi, the third son of Katō Yoshiaki, who had formerly held Miharu Domain. The Katō clan took steps to increase their revenues by development of new rice lands and development of non-rice based sources of income. However, their efforts were complicated by increasing demands for military support from the shogunate in policing the northern frontier areas of Ezo. The situation became critical in 1642–1643, after a crop failure. Many peasants were forced to sell themselves into servitude to pay for the high taxation, leading to unrest and even a revolt by senior retainers. As a result, the Katō were replaced by the Niwa clan, formerly of Shirakawa Domain, with an increase in the nominal kokudaka of the domain to 100,700 koku.

The Niwa rebuilt Nihonmatsu Castle and reformed the domain's financial situation and remained in control of Nihonmatsu until the Meiji Restoration. The Niwa had sided with the western armies against the Tokugawa at the Battle of Sekigahara, but were allowed a large domain due to their family ties with Tokugawa Hidetada. They were assigned repair work on the Nikkō Tōshōgū, Zōjō-ji and various tasks within the Tokugawa shogunate which proved a severe drain on their resources. Despite efforts at fiscal and land reform, the domain was deeply in debt, which was complicated during the time of the 7th daimyō, Niwa Nagayoshi, when the Great Tenmei famine struck. The 9th daimyō, Niwa Nagatomi, built a han school, but also suffered a problem when some of his senior retainers absconded with 3400 ryō of domain funds shortly before the domain was hit by the Tenpō famine. During the Bakumatsu period, the 10th daimyō, Niwa Nagakuni, was assigned to the defense of Edo Bay, and with the start of the Boshin War, joined the Ōuetsu Reppan Dōmei. The domain’s forces were defeated in battle by the Satchō Alliance, Nihonmatsu Castle was burned, and he was forced to flee to Yonezawa Domain. His successor, Niwa Nagahiro made peace with the imperial forces and was reduced in status by 50,000 koku.

After the abolition of the han system in July 1871, Nihonmatsu became part of Nihonmatsu Prefecture, which later became part of Fukushima Prefecture.

Holdings at the end of the Edo period[edit]

As with most domains in the han system, Nihonmatsu Domain consisted of several discontinuous territories calculated to provide the assigned kokudaka, based on periodic cadastral surveys and projected agricultural yields.[1][2]

List of daimyōs[edit]

# Name Tenure Courtesy title Court Rank kokudaka Notes
Mon Kyogoku andere-svg.svg Matsushita clan (tozama) 1627-1628
1 Matsushita Shigetsuna (松下重綱) 1627–1627 Iwami-no-kami (石見守) Lower 5th (従五位下) 30,000 koku Transfer from Karasuyama Domain
2 Matsushita Nagastsuna (松下長綱) 1627–1628 Iwami-no-kami (石見守) Lower 5th (従五位下) 30,000 koku Transfer to Miharu Domain
Japanese crest Sagari Fuji of Katou Yosiaki.svg Katō clan (tozama) 1628–1641
1 Katō Akitoshi (加藤明利) 1628–1641 Minbu-daiyu (民部大輔) Lower 5th (従五位下) 30,000 koku Transfer from Miharu Domain
Niwa clan crest.jpg Niwa clan (tozama) 1641–1871
1 Niwa Mitsushige (丹羽光重) 1643–1679 Sakyo-no-daifu (左京大夫); Jiju(侍従) Lower 4th (従四位下) 100,700 koku Transfer from Shirakawa Domain
2 Niwa Nagatsugu (丹羽長次) 1679–1698 Sakyo-no-daifu (左京大夫); Lower 4th (従四位下) 100,700 koku
3 Niwa Nagayuki (丹羽長之) 1698–1700 Echizen-no-kami (越前守) Lower 5th (従五位下) 100,700 koku
4 Niwa Hidenobu (丹羽秀延) 1701–1728 Sakyo-no-daifu (左京大夫); Lower 4th (従四位下) 100,700 koku
5 Niwa Takahiro (丹羽高寛) 1728–1745 Sakyo-no-daifu (左京大夫); Lower 4th (従四位下) 100,700 koku
6 Niwa Takayasu (丹羽高庸) 1745–1765 Wakasa-no-kami (若狭守); Lower 4th (従四位下) 100,700 koku
7 Niwa Nagayoshi (丹羽長貴) 1766–1796 Sakyo-no-daifu (左京大夫); Jiju(侍従) Lower 4th (従四位下) 100,700 koku
8 Niwa Nagaakira (丹羽長祥) 1796–1813 Sakyo-no-daifu (左京大夫); Lower 4th (従四位下) 100,700 koku
9 Niwa Nagatomi (丹羽長富) 1813–1858 Sakyo-no-daifu (左京大夫); Jiju(侍従) Lower 4th (従四位下) 100,700 koku
10 Niwa Nagakuni (丹羽長国) 1858–1868 Sakyo-no-daifu (左京大夫); Jiju(侍従) Lower 4th (従四位下) 100,700 koku
11 Niwa Nagahiro (丹羽長裕) 1868–1871 -none- 5th (五位下) 100,700 → 50,700 koku


  1. ^ Mass, Jeffrey P. and William B. Hauser. (1987). The Bakufu in Japanese History, p. 150.
  2. ^ Elison, George and Bardwell L. Smith (1987). Warlords, Artists, & Commoners: Japan in the Sixteenth Century, p. 18.

Further reading[edit]

  • Papinot, E (1910). Historical and Geographic Dictionary of Japan. Tuttle (reprint) 1972. 

External links[edit]