Shinpan (Tokugawas relatives) (親藩)

Shinpan is one of the classifications of clans during the Edo period, that distinguished the clans forefathers as male descendants through a line of males from Ieyasu TOKUGAWA. Especially the heads of Tokugawa "gosanke" and "gosankyo" (three privileged branches of the Tokugawa family, respectively) who referred to themselves as 'TOKUGAWA' were limited to male descendants through a line of males from Ieyasu TOKUGAWA, and if the line of the Tokugawa Shogunate family failed, they played a role to provide an heir. Other families referred to themselves as 'MATSUDAIRA'.

Apart from the above, the Takatsukasa-Matsudaira family, from the family home of Iemitsu and Tsunayoshi TOKUGAWA's lawful wives, was shinpan as well.
(It is a superstition to believe that it was a descendant of Tadanaga TOKUGAWA's bereaved child, Choshichiro MATSUDAIRA.)

And sometimes the Okudaira-Matsudaira family, a male descendant through a line of females of Ieyasu and the Hisamatsu-Matsudaira family, a descendant of Ieyasu's younger maternal half-brother, were also treated as shinpan. However, narrowly defined, shinpan doesn't include gosanke and gosankyo.


The following Tokugawa gosanke are the male descendants through the line of males of Ieyasu TOKUGAWA, and were given even extra special treatment within shinpan.

The Owari clan, the first lord Yoshinao TOKUGAWA

the Kishu clan, the first lord Yorinobu TOKUGAWA

the Mito clan, the first lord Yorifusa TOKUGAWA

These three clans had to provide a shogun if the Shogun family (the head of the Tokugawa family) lacked a male through a line of males (an heir to Shogun). And they were allowed to call themselves Tokugawa (other "ichimon", family-related clans of the Tokugawa family, called themselves Matsudaira), and also use "Mitsuba-aoi no kamon" (family crest of three leaves of Hollyhock). But at first, the Shogun family, the Owari family, and the Kishu family were referred to as gosanke (the Mito family was not included). Yoshimune TOKUGAWA, the eighth shogun became shogun through the lord of the Kishu clan, and so did Iemochi TOKUGAWA, the fourteenth Shogun, through the lord of the Kishu clan, as also did Yoshinobu TOKUGAWA, the fifteenth Shogun, from the Mito-Tokugawa family through the head of the Hitotsubashi family.


In addition, during the Yoshimune era, the so-called gosankyo was established.

the Tayasu family first headed by Munetake TOKUGAWA

the Hitotsubashi family first headed by Munetada TOKUGAWA

and during the Ieshige TOKUGAWA, the ninth shogun era

the Shimizu family first headed by Shigeyoshi TOKUGAWA
Gosankyo were treated as "Shogun families. "


There were also families (ichimon) next to gosanke and gosankyo, such as the Echizen Matsudaira family, the forefather Hideyasu YUKI, the second son of Ieyasu TOKUGAWA (Hidetada's older brothor), and the Aizu-Matsudaira family, the forefather Masayuki HOSHINA, the son of Hidetada TOKUGAWA (Iemitsu TOKUGAWA's younger paternal half-brother). Those ichimon daimyo (family-related feudal lords) were favored in the Kakaku (family status) and official ranks, but never allowed to participate in the shogunate government, as they were only the shogun's relatives, but not fudai daimyo (feudal lords in hereditary vassal to the Tokugawa family). Therefore, Masayuki HOSHINA held no post in the shogunate government although he took part in the government as an assistant to Ietsuna TOKUGAWA.

In the Ansei Reform during the end of the Edo Period, Nariaki TOKUGAWA (the Mito-Tokugawa family) became a coastal defense officer and was allowed to participate in the shogunate government. This was a reflection of the government's special circumstances, a 'critical moment,' such as the cession of Hong Kong by Qing after the defeat of the First Opium War, and the opening of the country to the world (refer to Ansei Reform). And during the Bunkyu Reform, Yoshinaga MATSUDAIRA (the Echizen Matsudaira family) and Yoshinobu TOKUGAWA (the Hitotsubashi-Tokugawa family) participated in the shogunate government by an Imperial order released under the leadership of Hisamitsu SHIMAZU and the court nobles in the Imperial Court who supported the idea of uniting the court and the shogunate, as did Katamori MATSUDAIRA (the Aizu-Matsudaira family) by an order from Shogun (taimei).

[Original Japanese]