The Edo Clan (江戸氏)

The Edo clan was a shizoku (family) in Japan. In Japanese history, the Edo clan who were in power in Musashi and Hitachi Provinces are particularly well-known.

The Musashi-Edo clan was a family of the Chichibu clan of Kanmu Heishi (Taira clan originated from the Emperor Kanmu). The clan was based in Edo-go, Musashi Province in the beginning and later shifted their base to the place where the Imperial Palace stands today.

The Hitachi-Edo clan was a family of the Naka clan related to FUJIWARA no Hidesato. The clan was based in Edo-go, Naka County, Hitachi Province in the beginning and later shifted their base to Mito-jo Castle.

The Musashi-Edo Clan
The clan started when, in the 11th century, Shigetsugu EDO, the fourth son of Shigetsuna CHICHIBU, inherited Edo-go, Musashi Province and called himself 'Shiro EDO.'
Shigetsugu is believed to have lived in a highland castle near the Honmaru (the keep) and the Ninomaru (second bailey) of the current Imperial Palace.

The Edo clan was already one of the most powerful samurai clans of Musashi Province when MINAMOTO no Yoritomo raised his army in 1180. In the beginning, Shigetsugu's son Shigenaga EDO, opposed to Yoritomo, killed a Miura clan member on the Yoritomo side, but after they made peace, he became a shogunal retainer of the Kamakura bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun).

According to records, in November 4, 1261, one of the Edo clan and Jito (manager and lord of an estate) Nagashige EDO donated Maejima-mura village of Edo-go (present-day Tokyo Station and its neighborhood) to the Tokuso family (the direct line of the regency Hojo family) when he could no longer manage the village because of the Shoka Famine, which incident led him to serve the family, and by 1315, the village was donated again from the Tokuso family to the Enkaku-ji Temple.

During the period of the Northern and Southern Courts following the fall of the Kamakura bakufu, the Edo clan took Yoshisada NITTA's side to support the Southern Court, but later switched to the Northern Court's side to serve Kamakura kubo (Governor-general of Kamakura Region). Nagato EDO and 江戸高良 became involved in the killing of Yoshioki NITTA at Yaguchi no Watashi (The Yaguchi Bridge) on Kunikiyo HATAKEYAMA's order. After that, the clan, who suffered a defeat in Musashi hei ikki Riot, lost power.

The Kitami clan, a branch family of the Edo clan, worked for the Setagaya-Kira clan. Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI attacked the Setagaya-Kira clan and the Gohojo clan, its master house, which incident led to the downfall of the Kitami clan. Katsutada KITAMI worked for Ieyasu TOKUGAWA who entered Edo and had a territory in Kitami, Setagaya granted. As Seii Taishogun (literally, great general who subdues the barbarians), Tsunayoshi TOKUGAWA's favorite retainer, Shigemasa KITAMI became a daimyo (Japanese feudal lord) and established the Kitami Domain. Yet, on March 22, 1689, Shigemasa suffered kaieki (sudden dismissal and deprivation of position, privileges and properties), which incident resulted in the downfall of the Kitami clan (one theory holds that he was held responsible for one branch family's involvement in a sword fight).

The remains of the residence of the Edo clan was rebuilt as Edo-jo Castle in 1457 by Dokan OTA who was assigned to Edo. The Ota clan's Edo-jo Castle was put under the rule of the Gohojo clan later. The castle, used as the base by Ieyasu Tokugawa and his successors, turned into Kyujo (place where Emperor lived) after the Meiji Restoration and was rebuilt as the current Imperial Palace.

The Hitachi-Edo Clan

The real family name of the Edo clan of Hitachi Province was Fujiwara. The clan originated from the Naka clan, a branch family of the Kawanobe clan whose ancestor was FUJIWARA no Hidesato, Chinjufu-shogun (Commander-in-Chief of the Defense of the North).

Based in Naka County at the end of the Heian Period, the Naka clan was a powerful local ruling family in Hitachi.
In the period of the Northern and Southern Courts, the clan sided with the Southern court and most of the clan members faced their downfall
However, Michiyasu NAKA, one of the Naka clan members, who sided with the samurai, was assigned to Edo-go of Naka County and his son Michitaka adopted Edo as his family name. Michitaka married a daughter of Yoshiatsu SATAKE (the ninth head of the Satake family) who was working as a Shugo (provincial constable), and sometimes established distinguished military records. Michikage EDO moved his base to Kawawada (today's Mito City). When the War of Zenshu UESUGI occurred, Michikage's son Michifusa supported Mochiuji ASHIKAGA, the then-Kamakura kubo, and gained a territory near the Baba-jo Castle (later Mito-jo Castle) owned by the Baba clan, a family of the Daijo clan who sided with Zenshu and fell. Mitsutomo DAIJO continued to occupy Baba-jo Castle even after the incident, but in 1426, Michifusa attacked and captured the castle when he was away. Based in Baba-jo Castle (Mito-jo Castle), the Edo clan wielded power in the midstream and downstream areas of the Naka-gawa River. When an internal strife called the Yamairi Uprising occurred within the Satake clan serving as Shugo, the Edo clan actively intervened in the strife, which intervention was a good excuse for the Edo clan to expand their sphere of influence to the Satake Domain. In the Sengoku Period (Warring States Period), the strife ended when Yoshikiyo SATAKE destroyed the Yamairi clan, which incident stopped the Edo clan's northward expansion. Although Michiyasu EDO acted as a vassal to the Satake clan, he, independent-minded, expanded his sphere of influence to the western and southern areas of Hitachi where there were a series of disturbances such as succession disputes within the Furukawa kubo family. Tadamichi EDO, Michimasa EDO and Shigemichi EDO formed an alliance with Yoshishige SATAKE (the 18th family head) and the Satake clan extended its influence to the deep south and the Edo clan to the southern areas of Hitachi. Shigemichi fiercely attacked the Daijo clan who had their base in Fuchu.

In 1590, when the Siege of Odawara occurred, Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI and his army, surrounding Odawara-jo Castle, ordered other clans in Kanto and Tohoku to join the battle. The Satake clan, who was opposed to the Gohojo clan, joined the battle because they had a diplomatic tie with Hideyoshi, while the Edo clan, as the Gohojo clan's ally, did not join. Hideyoshi issued a certificate for the land of Hitachi of 210,000 kan (787,500 kg) crop yields to Yoshishige SATAKE. It justified Yoshishige and his army in advancing southward to occupy Mito-jo Castle. Shigemichi fled to his wife's brother Harutomo YUKI. This meant the downfall of the Edo clan. His descendants are said to have worked for Hideyasu YUKI.

[Original Japanese]