Musashi Province (武蔵国)

Musashi Province was one of the provinces administered by the Ryo-sei, or administrative codes. The province was equal in size to the combined areas of present-day Saitama Prefecture, the part of Tokyo east of the Sumida River (excluding Shimakyo), and the northeastern part of Kanagawa Prefecture (all of present-day Kawasaki City and the eastern and coastal parts of Yokohama City). It is also called Bushu.

Its status under the Engishiki (a book of laws and regulation compiled during the Engi era) was Engoku, meaning distant province, in the Kokushi-Kokutokyu-kubun (classification of provinces according to their political and economic situation) category.

The province is described as Muzashi Province in the wooden tablets from the site of Fujiwara Palace in Asuka-kyo. Additionally, it has been found that Musashi was represented differently, as the kanji 'Muzashi,' until the seventh century.


Musashi Province was established in the seventh century, after the Musashinokuni-no-Miyatsuko no Ran (Musashinokuni-no-Miyatsuko Rebellion) of the sixth century. It is known that Muzashi (胸刺(むざし)), Muzashi (无邪志(むざし)) and Chichibu (知知夫(ちちぶ)) were combined to form Musashi Province. The ancient provincial capital was established in Minabe (Ohohi), which was received after the Musashinokuni-no-Miyatsuko no Ran. Because of the relationship with Keno Province, Musashi Province initially belonged to Tosando, and accordingly the Tosando Musashi-michi Road was built. Japanese copper, a domestic type that doesn't need refining, was found in the Chichibu district in the year 708. Musashi Province was transferred to Tokaido from Tosando on October 27, 771.

According to the Engishiki, which was completed in 927 during the Heian period, four government-run farms, or Chokushi-maki (勅旨牧), were built. Each year the farms would present 50 good horses to the Imperial Court. The farms were subsequently expanded and treated as important production sites for military supplies. Military nobles were sent from the capital, and local officials (zaicho-kanjin) were in charge of the day-to-day business operations. Conflicts erupted among them, and in 939 the clash between MINAMOTO no Tsunemoto and MUSASHI no Takeshiba nearly triggered the beginning of Johei Tengyo no Ran (Johei Tengyo Rebellion).

Out of the administrators of the farms, tribal warrior bands emerged and prospered. Those groups were later known as the Musashi-shichito, or the seven warrior bands of Musashi Province. They played a major role in establishing the Kamakura bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun), and supported the bakufu. The government was placed in Kamakura, and as a result strong local families were removed and the southern Kanto region was reorganized by the government as an adjacent area (called "Kanto-gobunkoku"). Powerful local officials, including the Kazusa and Miura clans (Wada clan), were defeated in the neighboring provinces. The Hiki and Hatakeyama clans (of Taira family) were defeated in Musashi Province. With the decline of the Chichibu clan, the Hojo clan Tokuso seized control of the province. Musashi Province became a province in which small to medium-size warrior bands thrived.

The situation did not change, even after the start of the Muromachi period. The Kamakura-fu (government of Kamakura) was established in Kamakura. The Chichibu clan lost its power in the Musashi Hei Ikki no Ran (Musashi Hei Riot Rebellion (武蔵平一揆の乱)), and the Uesugi clan of Kanto Kanrei (a position to support the chief of Kamakura-fu) took over Musashi Province. Small to medium-size warrior bands in Musashi Province formed factions, which were called the Musashi Hei Ikki and Kita Ikki.

Subsequently, in the Kanto region clashes continued between the Muromachi bakufu and the Kamakura-fu, between the Kamakura-fu and the Kanto Kanrei, between the Ogigayatsu Uesugi clan and the Yamanouchi Uesugi clan, and between the two Uesugi clans and the Kasai (家宰) (Dokan OTA and Kageharu NAGAO). A series of battles ensued, including the UESUGI Zenshu no Ran, Eikyo no Ran, Kyotoku no Ran, NAGAO Kageharu no Ran, Chokyo no Ran and others. A frequent battleground was the Kamakura Kaido Road stretching from the northern Kanto, where traditional powerful families ruled, to Kamakura via the provincial capital of Musashi Province. Having good ports such as Mutsuura and Shinagawa Minato Port, on the other hand, Musashi Province was actively engaged in trade with provinces in the west and the 'inland sea' stretching over the internal region.

The Go-Hojo clan became more powerful during the late Sengoku (Warring States) period. In 1546, the Go-Hojo clan was victorious in the Battle of Kawagoejo and thus became the dominant power. They established operations in the Edo-jo, Kawagoe-jo, Iwatsuki-jo, Hachigata-jo, Takiyama-jo (later Hachioji-jo) and Kozukue-jo castles. In 1590, Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI defeated the Go-Hojo clan in the Odawara no Eki (the Siege of Odawara). Thereafter, Ieyasu TOKUGAWA moved to Edo.

With the start of the Edo period, Musashi Province became an adjacent area of the Edo bakufu and the center of politics in Japan. In 1594, improvement work on the Tone River was started. In the beginning of the early modern period (1683) or, as some people say, between 1622 to 1643, a portion of the Katsushika district in Shimo-Usa Province, from the Sumida River to the Tone River (the downstream of the present-day Edo-gawa River), was combined to form the Katsushika district of Musashi Province. Development of the Tokyo lowland was initiated. In 1653 the Tamagawa Water Supply System was completed, and the development of the Musashino Plateau moved ahead as planned.

In 1853 the coastal area of Musashi Province, as well as Edo, was threatened by the arrival of the "black ships" of Commodore Perry. Because the office of the Nirayama magistrate was strongly concerned about the threat, they built Odaiba off the coast of Shinagawa and organized Hikogoro SATO in areas such as the Tama district.
Hachioji Sennin Doshin (the police force of Tokugawa shogunate that was based in Hachioji) was mobilized, and Isami KONDO became a leading member of the Shinsengumi (a special police force of late Tokugawa shogunate that was based in Kyoto)
In 1854, the Treaty between the United States of America and the Empire of Japan (the Treaty of Kanagawa) was concluded in Yokohama Village, Kanagawa, Musashi-no-kuni (Musashi Province).

As a result of the Meiji Restoration and the capital's subsequent transfer to Tokyo, the function of the capital was transferred from Heian-kyo (Kyoto) to Tokyo in Musashi Province (formerly Edo).

Provincial capital, provincial monastery, provincial nunnery, Ankoku-ji Temple (Temple for National Pacification) (安国寺), Rishoto Pagoda, Ichinomiya (first shrine) and subsequent shrines; a shrine that enshrines several gods

The provincial capital was located in the Tama district. The area corresponds to the present-day Fuchu City, Tokyo (Tokyo Prefecture), and associated facilities have been unearthed. The provincial capital is believed to have been located in the urban area to the south of what is now Fuchu Station (its western side ending at the eastern half of the grounds of the present-day Okunitama-jinja Shrine) (Musashi-kokufu-kanren-iseki (武蔵国府関連遺跡) (associated remains of the provincial capital of Musashi)).

Some people believe that Kouzu was located in Shinagawa Minato.

The provincial monastery was located in what is now Nishimotomachi, Kokubunji City, Tokyo. There is a temple in the area called the Iozan Saisho-in Provincial Monastery (principal image, Yakushi-nyorai), which is said to have inherited the light of Buddhism. The provincial nunnery is unknown. As for Ankoku-ji Temple, the Ryumonsan Toji-in Koan-ji Temple (principal image, Shaka-nyorai) in Katamachi, Fuchu City, Tokyo, and the Dairyuzan Toko-in Ankoku-ji Temple (principal image, Amida-nyorai) in Odomari, Koshigaya City, Saitama Prefecture, both inherited the light of Buddhism. The Rishoto Pagoda is unknown.

The Engishiki Jimmyo-Cho (a list of shrines) contains information on two gods and two grand shrines, as well as 42 gods, for a total of 44 gods. The Hikawa-jinja Shrine in the Adachi District and the Kanasana (金佐奈)-jinja Shrine (present-day Kanasana (金鑽)-jinja Shrine) in the Kodama District are large shrines belonging to the Myojin Taisha Shrine.

The Okunitama-jinja Shrine in Miyamachi, Fuchu City, Tokyo, is a shrine to several gods; it is also referred to as Rokusho-no-miya Shrine (六所宮) and enshrines gods of the first to sixth 'miya,' as follows:

Ichinomiya: Ono-jinja Shrine (Tokyo Prefecture), (Ichinomiya, Tama City, Tokyo)
Main enshrined deity (主祭神): Ono-no-okami (Amanoshitaharu-no-mikoto)

Ninomiya: Ninomiya-jinja Shrine (Ninomiya, Akiruno City, Tokyo)
Main enshrined deity: Ogawa-no-okami (Kuninotokotachi no Mikoto (eternal god of the land))

Sannomiya: Hikawa-jinja Shrine (Takahana-cho, Omiya Ward, Saitama City, Saitama Prefecture)
Main enshrined deity: Hikawa-no-Okami (Susanoo-no-mikoto, Inadahime-no-mikoto)

Yonnomiya: Chichibu-jinja Shrine (Banbamachi, Chichibu City, Saitama Prefecture)
Main enshrined deity: Chichibu-no-okami (Yagokoroomoikane-no-mikoto, Chichibuhiko-no-mikoto)

Gonomiya: Kanasana-jinja Shrine (Ninomiya, Kamikawa-machi, Saitama Prefecture)
Main enshrined deity: Kanasana-no-okami (Amaterasu-omikami, Susanoo-no-mikoto)

Rokunomiya: Sugiyama-jinja Shrine (there are various Hiteisha (比定社) (shrines judged to be equivalent) of this shrine, but most of them are located in Yokohama City.)

As shown above, the Ichinomiya was originally the Ono-jinja Shrine, but during the Sengoku period (Japan) the Hikawa-jinja Shrine (the former Sannomiya) served as the Ichinomiya. After Hikawa-jinja Shrine was referred to as Ichinomiya, the Kanasana-jinja Shrine (the Gonomiya), was referred to as Ninomiya. Additionally, the Hikawa-nyotai-jinja Shrine at Miyamoto, in the Midori ward of Saitama City, was originally separated from Hikawa-jinja Shrine, and subsequent to the Edo period it has been treated as Ichinomiya.

[Original Japanese]