Kishu Tokugawa family (紀州徳川家)

The Kishu Tokugawa family was one of branches of the Tokugawa family and one of Tokugawa Gosanke (three privileged branches of the Tokugawa family), which governed Kii Province and Ise province during the Edo period
It is also referred to as the Kii Tokugawa family, or as the Kishu family or the Kii family in its simple form. The first family head, Yorinobu, was given a fief in Hitachi Province and appointed as Hitachi no Suke (the vice-governor of Hitach Province) to become a kunimochidaimyo (a daimyo [Japanese feudal lord] with a vast fiefdom). Subsequently, Yorinobu would become a daimyo (Japanese feudal lord) with a governing province. Because of this, successors of Yorinobu were appointed Hitachi no Suke for generations although his fief was later moved to Kii Province. Therefore, the Kishu Tokugawa family is also referred to as the Tokugawa Hitachi no Suke family in some cases.


The Kishu Tokugawa family was founded by Yorinobu TOKUGAWA, the tenth son of Ieyasu TOKUGAWA, and its family heads governed Kishu Domain throughout the Edo period. Its fifth lord Yoshimune and thirteenth lord Yoshitomi became the eighth Seiitaishogun (the formal title name of the Shogun, which originally means the commander in chief of the expeditionary force against the barbarians), Yoshimune TOKUGAWA, and the fourteenth Seiitaishogun, Iemochi TOKUGAWA, respectively. It is the only the family which had produced a Seitaishogun among Tokugawa Gosanke (three privileged branches of the Tokugawa family).

Its subsidiary line (referred as "Gorenshi") was solely the Saijo Matsudaira Family of Saijo Domain in Iyo Province. However, after Yoshimune succeeded to the Tokugawa Shogun family, he founded Gosankyo (Three Lord: three junior collateral houses of the Tokugawa family) (originally the Tayasu Tokugawa family and the Hitotsubashi Tokugawa family; later the Shimizu Tokugawa family was added); as a result, the lineage of the Kishu family greatly prospered. The result of this was in the lineage of the families of Kishu gaining great prosperity. Many sons born in the Kishu family were offered for adoption to other daimyo families as well as the Shogun family, or the Gosankyo families.

After the Meiji Restoration, the Kishu family was ranked among kazoku (the noblity) and received the title of Marquis. The pre-war Kishu family was reputed to be one of the wealthiest families in Japan, and it still remained active after the war; for instance, the 16th family head Yorisada TOKUGAWA was elected to the House of Councilors for two consecutive terms. However, not only did the family suffer Yorisada's squandering during his lifetime, but also the businesses it had launched after his death in 1954 to pay off the debt made by him failed one after another, and furthermore, a scandal took place in the family; thus, during the post-war period, the Kishu family fell victim to the burning curiosity of the mass media.

Yoriaki TOKUGAWA, an heir of Yorisada, died young at the age of 42 in 1985, and after that the family name was kept by the female family members, namely Yorisada's wife and daughter, in name. However, it is mentioned in some cases that the Kishu Marquis family in reality became extinct, and also there exists a view that the 19th family head has not been recognized as a member of the Tokugawa and Matsudaira family association, which was formed by descendents of the Matsudaira clan.

Successive family heads and their offspring

The first (the lord of the domain): Yorinobu TOKUGAWA

Mitsusada (the second lord of Kishu Domain)

Yorizumi MATSUDAIRA (the first lord of Saijo Domain in Iyo Province)

The second (the lord of the domain): Mitsusada TOKUGAWA

Tsunanori TOKUGAWA (the third lord of Kishu Domain)

Yorimoto MATSUDAIRA (the lord of Nyu Domain in Echizen Province; later the fourth lord of Kishu Domain, Yorimoto TOKUGAWA)

Yorikata MATSUDAIRA (the lord of Kazurano Domain in Echizen Province; later the fifth lord of Kishu Domain; and further, the eighth Shogun Yoshimune TOKUGAWA)

The third (the lord of the domain): Tsunanori TOKUGAWA

(He had no child.)

The fourth (the lord of the domain): Yorimoto TOKUGAWA

(He had no child.)

The fifth (the lord of the domain): Yoshimune TOKUGAWA

In 1716, he was adopted into the Tokugawa Shogun family to become the eighth Shogun, Yoshimune TOKUGAWA.

The sixth (the lord of the domain): Munenao TOKUGAWA (adopted from the lord family of Saijo Domain, a branch domain of Kishu; a cousin of Yoshimune)

Munenobu (the seventh lord of Kishu Domain)

Yoriatsu MATSUDAIRA (the fifth lord of Saijo Domain; later the ninth lord of Kishu Domain, Harusada TOKUGAWA)

The seventh (the lord of the domain): Munenobu TOKUGAWA

Shigenori TOKUGAWA (the eighth lord of Kishu Domain)

Yorikata MATSUDAIRA (the sixth lord of Saijo Domain)

The eighth (the lord of the domain): Shigenori TOKUGAWA

Harutomi (the tenth lord of Kishu Domain)

The ninth (the lord of the domain): Harusada TOKUGAWA

(He had no child.)

The tenth (the lord of the domain): Harutomi TOKUNAGA

(He had no child.)

The eleventh (the lord of the domain): Nariyuki TOKUNAGA (the former third family head of the Shimizu Tokugawa family; a biological son of the eleventh Shogun Ienari TOKUGAWA)

Yoshitomi (the thirteenth lord of Kishu Domain)

The twelfth (the lord of the domain): Narikatsu TOKUNAGA (the former fifth family head of the Shimizu Tokugawa family; a biological son of the eleventh Shogun Ienari TOKUGAWA)

(He had no child.)

The thirteenth (the lord of the domain): Iemochi TOKUGAWA

In 1858, he was adopted into the Tokugawa Shogun family to become the fourteenth Shogun Iemochi TOKUGAWA.

The fourteenth (the lord of the domain): Mochitsugu TOKUGAWA (adopted from the lord family of Saijo Domain, a branch domain of Kishu; a great-great-grandson of the seventh lord Munenobu TOKUGAWA)

Chofuku Maru (died prematurely)

Kishu Tokugawa Marquis family

The fifteenth (a marquis): Yorimichi TOKUGAWA (adopted from the Tayasu Tokugawa Family; his wife was a daughter of the thirteenth lord Iemochi TOKUGAWA)

Yorisada (the sixteenth lord of Kishu Domain)

The sixteenth (a marquis): Yorisada TOKUGAWA (after the war, a member of the House of Councilors)

Yoriaki (the seventeenth family head; died young)

Kishu Tokugawa family heads after the war

The seventeenth family head: Yoriaki TOKUGAWA (the eldest child of Yorisada; died young)

The eighteenth head of the family: Tsuyoshi TOKUGAWA (a brief personal record follows.)
Tsuyoshi was an adopted son–in law of Yorisada. Tsuyoshi was the second son of Yoshitaro AOYAMA; it was said that Yoshitaro AOYAMA was a second generation Japanese American. Tsuyoshi became an adopted child of Tameko, the widow of Yorisada; later he married the eldest daughter of Yorisada, Tomiko. Tomiko opened the restaurant "Marquise" at the basement floor of a building in Hibiya, but ultimately the business failed. Tomiko and Tsuyoshi divorced in August 1965.

The nineteenth family head: Kotoko TOKUGAWA

[Original Japanese]