Kawakatsu Clan (川勝氏)

The Kawakatsu clan (Kawakatsu-shi or Kawakatsu-uji) was a Japanese clan. Their original family name was Hata. They are said to be the descendents of Kawakatsu HATA (also known as Hirotaka HATA), although the genealogy is unclear. Among their many branches, the Kawakatsu clan vassals who served the Edo bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by shogun) are well known. The kamon (crests) of the Kawakatsu clan (the vassals of the Edo bakufu) included the Kiri ni Hoo (paulownia flowers with a mythical fenghuang bird), Kuginuki (nail puller in the shape of a diamond), Go-shichi no Kiri (seventeen paulownia flowers divided into three groups as 5+7+5), Go-san no Kiri (eleven paulownia flowers divided into three groups as 3+5+3).
The toshiji (common kanji characters which the male members shared in given names) of the Kawakatsu clan (the vassals of the Edo bakufu) were '広,' '隆' and '氏.'


The clan originated during the Sengoku period (period of warring states in Japan) when Hirotsugu KAWAKATSU (Mitsuteru KAWAKATSU), the son and heir of Mimasaka no kami Hirouji SHIMODA, called himself Kawakatsu first (Hirouji had been a governor of Shimoda in Kuwata County in Tanba Province). According to family tradition, Hirouji SHIMODA was a descendent of Kawakatsu HATA (also known as Hirotaka HATA). The Kawakatsu clan (the Shimoda clan) had governed Kuwata County and Funai County, and had served the Muromachi bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun). During the Onin War, members of the clan had served Kanrei (Shogunal deputy) Katsumoto HOSOKAWA and fought battles as was the case for other governors. Hirotsugu KAWAKATSU served the 12th Shogun Yoshiharu ASHIKAGA and the 13th Shogun Yoshiteru ASHIKAGA, setting the family's base at Shima-jo Castle in Miyamacho-shizuhara (Kita-kuwata County) to counter the other strong commanders of Tanba Province such as the Naito clan who had been Shugodai (Deputy of Shugo, provincial constable) of Yagi, the Uzu clan of Keihoku, and the Hatano clan of Sasayama.

The son and heir of Hirotsugu, Tsuguuji KAWAKATSU served Nobunaga ODA, and in 1573, fought in the attack against Yodo-kojo Castle in Yamashiro Province (the second battle at Yodo-kojo Castle) under his superior Yusai HOSOKAWA who had been ordered by Nobunaga. During the capture of Tanba (started in 1576), he cooperated with Mitsuhide AKECHI as a Yoriki (a police sergeant). The son and heir of Tsuguuji, Hideuji KAWAKATSU served Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI as an Umamawari (a bodyguard), and in 1582 he was given 3,535 koku (637.68 cubic meters) of Ikaruga County in Tanba Province. In the Bunroku Keicho Campaign (started in 1592), he set up his camp at Nagoya-jo Castle in Hizen Province. At the Battle of Sekigahara (1600), he and his heir Hirotsuna KAWAKATSU joined the West Army, and fought in the attack against Tanabe-jo Castle in Tango Province (the Battle at Tanabe-jo Castle). Although the West Army lost, Ieyasu TOKUGAWA (the leader of the East Army) forgave Hideuji and Hirotsuna, and they avoided the punishment of kaieki (forfeiture of status and possession). In 1601 Hideuji was allowed to serve the Tokugawa family by the recommendation of Tadaoki HOSOKAWA, a member of a time-honored clan in Tanba (since the Muromachi period), and given the house status of Hatamoto (a direct retainer of the shogun).

In 1607 Hirotsuna became the head of the clan and was given a chigyo (enfeoffment) of more than 3,570 koku (644 cubic meters) in Tanba Province. With the exception of the head family to which Hideuji and Hirotsuna belonged, three families of the Tsuguuji KAWAKATSU (the oldest son of Hirotsugu) line were given the house status of Hatamoto (genealogy 1) during the Edo period. Four families of the Tomouji KAWAKATSU (the second son of Hirotsugu) line were also given the house status of Hatamoto (genealogy 2). At the end of the Tokugawa Shogunate, the members of those families of Hatamoto were appointed to important posts such as Wakadoshiyori (a managerial position in the Edo bakufu), Ometsuke (Chief inspector of the Edo bakufu), Kanjo bugyo (commissioner of finance), Vice President of the administrators of Gaikoku bugyo (magistrate of foreign affairs), and Chief of Kaiseijo (magistrate for examination of foreign books). Immediately before the Surrender of Edo-jo Castle (1868) on January 23, Hirokazu KAWAKATSU was appointed to Wakadoshiyori. On February 6, 1868, Gaikoku bugyo Hiromichi KAWAKATSU was appointed Vice President of the administrators, and his superior was Naoki YAMAGUCHI (President of the administrators of Gaikoku bugyo). In addition to the vassals of the Edo bakufu, there were other Kawakatsu clans in areas such as Hachinohe Domain, Tanakura Domain, Hachiman Domain, and Oshi Domain. The members of those Kawakatsu clans served governments of domains in important positions such as Karo (Chief retainer).

[Original Japanese]