Hikone Domain (彦根藩)

Hikone Domain refers to a domain which possessed the northern part of Omi Province.
The government building of the domain was located at Hikone-jo Castle (Hikone City, Shiga Prefecture) (at Sawayama-jo Castle at the beginning of the domain.)
The lord of domain was the Ii clan, the first on the list of fudai daimyo (a daimyo in hereditary vassal to the Tokugawa family.)
It once had Hikone-Shinden Domain as its branch domain.

Brief history

In 1600, Naomasa II who was the lord of Takasaki-jo Castle in Kozuke Province with properties bearing 120,000 koku (1 koku was about 180 liter; an old unit showing volume) and was one of Tokugawa-shitenno (four generals serving Tokugawa Ieyasu), received an additional properties bearing 60,000 koku due to his distinguished war service in the Battle of Sekigahara, entered into the Sawayama-jo Castle which used to be the residential castle of Mitsunari ISHIDA, and established the Sawayama Domain.

Naomasa disliked the residential castle of Mitsunari ISHIDA who was a rebel general, and planned a construction of new castle at Isoyama at the lakefront of Lake Biwa, but died of war injury in 1602 before starting the construction. When his legitimate child Naotsugu II succeeded, the construction of new castle started in Mt. Hikone where the Hikone-jo Castle exists at present. In 1606, the new castle was completed and Naotsugu II entered the Hikone-jo Castle.

In 1615, Naotsugu changed his name to Naokatsu and was transferred to the Annaka Domain in Kozuke Province with subdivided properties bearing 30,000 koku because he could not participate in Osaka no Eki (The Siege of Osaka) due to sickliness. His younger brother Naotaka II, who participated in Osaka no Eki on behalf of Naokatsu and played an active role, became the lord of the domain. The record of Naotsugu as the second lord of domain was deleted at this point of time, and Naotaka was recorded as the second lord of domain.

Naotaka's activities as a key cabinet official of the Shogunate were recognized and he was granted three-time additional properties bearing 50,000 koku each in 1615, 1617 and 1633. As a result, Naotaka became daimyo (Japanese feudal lord) possessing large properties bearing 300,000 koku. Moreover, he was granted properties bearing 20,000 koku (equivalent to 50,000 koku when converted into Chigyo daka [a stipend in terms of rice production of the fief] as custodian of rice working in the castle of tenryo [a shogunal demesne,] and finally received a social status of 350,000 koku.

The Ii clan of Hikone Domain found fame as a key cabinet figure of the Shogunate and was never transferred to other lands while other powerful fudai daimyo such as the Sakai clan and the Honda clan were transferred one after another, and had the largest yield among fudai daimyo. And, Tairo (chief minister) was assumed by the Ii clan six times for five generations such as Naozumi II, Naomori II, Naohide II, Naoaki II and Naosuke II (there are arguments for and against the theory that Naomori assumed Tairo twice, and Naotaka assumed Tairo).
It is possible to say that the Ii clan was literally fudai hitto (head of fudai daimyo [a daimyo in hereditary vassal to the Tokugawa family].)

The most famous among the successive lords of the domain was Naosuke who became the lord of domain at the end of Edo period. In 1850, Naosuke became the lord of domain because his elder brother Naoaki died. In 1858, Naosuke assumed Tairo. He signed up to the Treaty of Amity and Commerce with the United States without obtaining the Imperial sanction, and asserted ultimate authority in what is called Ansei no Taigoku (suppression of extremists by the Shogunate). His action provoked a backlash, and he was assassinated by roshi (masterless samurai) of Mito Domain in the Sakuradamongai Incident in 1860. In the same year, Naonori II became the lord of domain, and in 1862, his yield was reduced by 100,000 koku because he was accused of Naosuke's sins.

In 1864, Naonori regained properties bearing 30,000 koku among former territories because of his distinguished service in the Kinmon Incident.

After Taisei Hokan (transfer of power back to the Emperor) in 1867, Naonori converted the opinion of domain people into the new government side even though he was fudai hitto (head of fudai daimyo.)
In the Battle of Toba-Fushimi in the next year, 1868, Naonori fought as the army of old bakufu but he seceded, and thereafter, Naonori joined the Meiji Government and moved from place to place to fight in the Boshin Civil War. He was granted properties bearing 20,000 koku by the Imperial Court as Shotenroku (premium).

In 1871, Hikone Prefecture was formed by Haihan-chiken (abolition of feudal domains and establishment of prefectures). Later, Hikone Prefecture was finally incorporated into Shiga Prefecture, after being a part of Nagahama Prefecture and Inukami Prefecture.

In 1884, the Ii Family became hakushaku (a count), and was raised to the peerage.

Branch domain
Hikone-Shinden Domain
Hikone-Shinden Domain refers to a domain which existed from 1714 to 1734 in the middle of the Edo period. Naosada II, 14th son of Naooki, was granted a distribution of properties bearing 10,000 koku, and established this branch domain.
In 1732, Naosada assumed sojaban (an official in charge of the ceremonies.)
In 1734, this branch domain was abolished because Naosada became an adopted heir of Naonobu II who was Naosada's elder brother and the 8th lord of domain. Later, Naosada became the 9th and 11th (resumption) lord of Hikone Domain.

Karo (chief retainer)

The position of Karo was succeeded by Kimata family (having properties bearing 10,000 koku in Hikone Domain) who became Baron after Meiji Restoration.

Morikatsu KIMATA - Yoriyasu - Moriaki - Morinaga - Morimitsu - Morisada - Morimasa - Morimae - Moriyasu - Seikan - Kan - Morimichi

[Original Japanese]