Tanuma Okitsugu

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In this Japanese name, the family name is Tanuma.
Tanuma Okitsugu
Tanuma Okitsugu2.jpg
Tanuma Okitsugu
Lord of Sagara
In office
1767–1786
Preceded by Honda Tadanaka
Succeeded by Tanuma Okiaki
Personal details
Born (1719-09-11)September 11, 1719
Edo, Japan
Died August 25, 1788(1788-08-25) (aged 68)
Edo, Japan
Nationality Japanese

Tanuma Okitsugu (田沼意次?) (September 11, 1719 in Edo, Japan – August 25, 1788 in Edo) was a chamberlain (sobashū) and a senior counselorrōjū to the shogun Tokugawa Ieharu . He is known for the economic reforms of the Tenmei era and rampant corruption. He was also a daimyo of the Sagara han. He used the title Tonomo-no-kami.[1]

The reforms aimed to rectify the systemic problems in the economy, particularly the trade imbalance between the provinces and the shogunal areas of Japan.[2] He took steps to increase the foreign trade and set export quotas for Akita copper mines (the copper being the primary coinage metal during that period), despite higher domestic prices. Tanuma's administration granted monopoly patents for numerous products, including iron, brass, sulfur, ginseng and lamp oil. Large investments were into the massive drainage program to increase the agricultural land. The program failed. Several years of crop failures, resulting from drought followed by floods, led to famine.

In Tenmei 4 (1784), Okitsugu's son, the wakadoshiyori (junior counselor) Tanuma Okitomo, was assassinated inside Edo Castle. Okitomo was killed in front of his father as both were returning to their norimono after a meeting of the Counselors of State had broken up. Okitomo was killed by Sano Masakoto, a hatamoto. The involvement of senior figures in the bakufu was suspected, but only the assassin himself was punished.

The famine let to a spike in a number of protests and peasants rebellions, culminating in the Edo riots of 1787. Traditionalist opponents of the reform interpreted it as the "the voice of Heaven" being followed by the "voice of the people". With the assassination of his son and the death of his patron Tokugawa Ieharu Tanuma fell from power.[3] The result was that the reforms and the relaxation of the strictures of sakoku were blocked.[4]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Screech, Timon. (2006). Secret Memoirs of the Shoguns: Isaac Titsingh and Japan, 1779-1822, p. 222 n65.
  2. ^ Jansen, Markus B. (2000). The Making of Modern Japan, pp. 240-241.
  3. ^ Jensen, p. 241
  4. ^ Screech, pp. 148-151, 163-170, 248.
Preceded by
Honda Tadanaka
Lord of Sagara
1767-1786
Succeeded by
Tanuma Okiaki

References[edit]

See also[edit]