Omura Domain (大村藩)

Omura Domain was a feudal domain that ruled the Sonogi region of Hizen Province. Kujima Castle (located in present-day Omura City, Nagasaki Prefecture) was the domain's seat of power.

The Omura clan, who were the feudal lords of this domain, had been the proprietary lords of this land since ancient times. The family was permitted to continue to rule this land even after the subjugation of Kyushu by Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI in 1587. Son of Sumitada OMURA (a Christian daimyo who was the second son of Haruzumi ARIMA and was adopted by the Omura clan), Yoshiaki OMURA was the first lord of this domain and he continued to rule over this land, which yielded 27,900 koku in rice, even after the establishment of the Edo Shogunate. This domain was extremely unusual given the fact that it was still intact at the time of the Meiji Restoration.

The domain included Nagasaki City from the Sengoku, or Warring States, period (Japan) and enjoyed a strong economy thanks to trade with Europe. However, under the Toyotomi regime and the Edo bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun), the domain no longer benefited from the profits of this trade because Nagasaki became a demesne of the central government. When initially established as an independent domain, the demesme of the lord of the domain was only 4000 koku in rice, while the territories of the 15 families in the side line of the family were worth a total of 8000 koku rice. In 1607, Sumiyori OMURA, the 2nd lord of the domain annexed the lands of these families in a move known as "Goichimon Barai" to secure a source of income and shore up his position as lord of the domain.

In 1657, the era of Suminaga OMURA, the 4th lord of the domain, a large number of crypto-Christians were exposed and arrested in three villages in a rural district in a northern part of the castle town. Happening as it did 45 years after the order to ban Christianity, this "Gun kuzure", or breakdown of the region, was a serious event which destabilized the domain. However, the domain escaped censure by following procedure and reporting the particulars of the incident immediately through Katsunaga ITAMI, a hatamoto, or shogun's vassal, who was also Suminaga's father and served as commissioner of shogunate demesne and in other key posts.
After this incident, the domain worked to seek out and suppress Christianity, and looked to strengthen the faith of the people of the domain in Buddhism and Shintoism

Sumihiro OMURA became the 12th and last lord in the final days of the Tokugawa shogunate when opinion in the domain was largely divided between support for the Bakufu and support for the pro-imperialists. The supporters of Bakufu gained power in 1862 when Sumihiro became the Nagasaki magistrate, and in response, the pro-imperialists organized the alliance for reform group. In 1864, the pro-imperialists took back power on Sumihiro's resignation of the Nagasaki magistrate. In 1867, Kyuzaemon HARIO and Banzan MATSUBAYASHI, the leaders of the alliance for reform group, were assassinated. This battle known as the "Koji disorder" had the unintended effect of unifying opinion in the domain behind pro-imperialism, and an army was organized for the overthrow of the bakufu and their subordinates in the region. Thereafter, together with domains of Satsuma and Choshu, the domain played a central role in the overthrow of the bakufu.

In 1871, with the abolition of domains and establishment of prefectures, the domain became Omura Prefecture
It later became part of Nagasaki Prefecture. The House of Omura was raised to the peerage in 1884, receiving the rank of viscount. Its role in overthrowing the bakufu was recognized with a promotion to the rank of count in 1891.

Kihachiro NAKAMURA, one of the pro-imperial warriors, received a mountain cherry tree in recognition of his contribution to the Restoration. His ancestors from a family of goshi, or village officer, status had served as (accounting) clerks in the local government of a fishing village (also a smuggling port of the domain of Omura) at the beginning of the Edo period, and were later promoted to accounting officer status. Kihachiro's grandfather was Nagasaki-ban Junin-gumi kashira, head of an autonomous group of 10 families, and is known for helping a group of Jews who were being persecuted by the Schutzstaffel (SS) to escape to the U.S. on a ship conscripted from Mitsubishi when Matsuo, his grandson was serving as in Special Service Agency in Shanghai on the eve of the Second World War; a story which reminds us of the historical bond between the domain of Omura that produced Christian daimyos and the open and liberal port of Nagasaki.

The chronological order of the Lords.
Omura family
Tozama daimyo (outside lords) with 27,900 koku
Yoshiaki OMURA (Junior Fifth Rank, Lower Grade, Governor of Tango)
Sumiyori OTOMO (Junior Fifth Rank, Lower Grade, Mimbuno-Daifu, Deputy Minister of the Popular Affairs Office)
Suminobu OMURA (Junior Fifth Rank, Lower Grade, Governor of Tango)
Suminaga OMURA (Junior Fifth Rank, Lower Grade, Governor of Imba)
Sumimasa OMURA (Junior Fifth Rank, Lower Grade, Governor of Chikugo)
Sumitsune OMURA (Junior Fifth Rank, Lower Grade, Governor of Ise)
Sumihisa OMURA (Junior Fifth Rank, Lower Grade, Governor of Kawachi)
Sumimori OMURA (Junior Fifth Rank, Lower Grade, Danjyo-shohitsu, Minor Second Officer of the impeachment office)
Sumiyasu OMURA (Junior Fifth Rank, Lower Grade, Governor of Shinano)
Sumiyoshi OMURA (Junior Fifth Rank, Lower Grade, Governor of Tango)
Sumiaki OMURA (Junior Fifth Rank, Lower Grade, Governor of Tango)
Sumihiro OMURA (Junior Fifth-low Court Rank, Governor of Tango, Nagasaki Magistrate)

[Original Japanese]