Tsugaru Nobuhira

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Tsugaru Nobuhira
Born (1586-05-09)May 9, 1586
Died February 14, 1631(1631-02-14) (aged 44)
Edo, Japan
Nationality Japanese
Occupation Daimyō of Hirosaki Domain (1607-1631)

Tsugaru Nobuhira (津軽 信枚?, May 9, 1586 – February 14, 1631) was the 2nd daimyō of Hirosaki Domain in northern Mutsu Province, Honshū, Japan (modern-day Aomori Prefecture). His courtesy title was Etchū-no-kami.


Tsugaru Noruhira was born as the 3rd son of Tsugaru Tamenobu, head of the Tsugaru clan. In 1596, along with his two elder brothers Nobutake and Nobukata, he is known to have converted to Christianity.

In 1600, at the Battle of Sekigahara he and his father sided with Tokugawa Ieyasu’s Eastern Army, while his brother Nobutake fought on the side of Ishida Mitsunari’s Western Army. This was the same stratagem as employed by the Sanada clan to ensure the clan’s survival no matter which side won. As a reward for his services, Nobuhira was given a 2000 koku fief in Kōzuke Province. On his father’s death in 1607, he became head of the Tsugaru clan, over the objections of a faction which supported his nephew Tsugaru Kumachiyo (1600–1623), the young son of Nobutake. This was the first of many O-Ie Sōdō internal conflicts within the Tsugaru clan during the Edo period. From 1609-1611, Nobuhira rushed to complete Hirosaki Castle, demolishing other castles in his domains for buildings and materials to speed up construction. The completed castle, with its huge donjon was on a scale far larger than typical for a 47,000 koku daimyo. To secure his position vis-à-vis the Tokugawa shogunate, he married Tokugawa Ieyasu’s niece (the widow of Fukushima Masayuki), Mate-hime (1589–1638). Nobuhira already happened to be married to Tatsu-hime, the daughter of Ishida Mitsunari, and she was demoted in status to that of concubine, and exiled to the clan's small subsidiary holding in Kozuke Province.

In 1614, Nobuhira dispatched his forces in support of the Tokugawa at the Osaka Winter Campaign, but was ordered initially remain on garrison duty in Edo before being told to return to his home domain to guard against unrest from other northern domains who might come out in support of the Toyotomi. In June 1619, Ieyasu demoted Fukushima Masanori from Hiroshima Domain to Hirosaki Domain, with the Tsugaru clan ordered to be transferred to Echigo Province. The Tsugaru clan strongly protested this move, and through the assistance of the influential priest Nankōbō Tenkai were able to get the Fukushima clan transferred to Nakajima Domain in Shinano Province instead.

In August 1628, Nobuhira renamed his castle from "Takaoka" to "Hirosaki". He also developed Aomori port on Mutsu Bay as a main port for shipping to Edo, and for transit to the northern island of Ezo. He also took steps to increase the rice production in his province by developing new paddy fields, irrigation, and by bringing in craftsmen and artisans from other parts of Japan. Nobuhira died on January 14, 1631 at the clan residence in Edo. His grave is at the temple of Juyo-in in Taitō-ku, Tokyo.

Nobuhira was succeeded by his eldest son, Tsugaru Nobuyoshi, by his first wife Tatsuhime. Nobuhira had nine sons and four daughters. His second son, Tsugaru Nobufusa, by his second wife Mate-hime was given a 5000 koku holding in Kuroishi, and was the ancestor of the future daimyō of Kuroishi Domain.

See also[edit]


Preceded by
Tsugaru Tamenobu
2nd Daimyō of Hirosaki
Succeeded by
Tsugaru Nobuyoshi