Oie-sodo (family feuds) (お家騒動)

Oie-sodo is a term denoting family squabble within feudal lord households in the Edo Period. In modern times, the term is occasionally used to describe clash for power within an organization, such as a business corporation or a family.


Many of the households of powerful feudal lords of the Edo Period had instances of internal conflicts among factions formed by the lord, his family members, senior household advisors and others who likely to become a group head. Such cases were dramatized in Kyogen play formats know as "oie-mono (family feud tales)" and spread to the public also through "kodan" storytelling, coming well known among the people of Edo. For this reason, feuds involving the Tokugawa shogun household which had been regarded taboo to be performed as plays and households of smaller scale such as those of hatamoto retainers, merchants and farming households were not recognized as "oie-sodo."

The most frequent cause of conflict is clash between retainers of the feudal lord. There were all conceivable motives for factional strife, such as rivalry between a veteran elder of established lineage and a newcomer retainer or group leader, clash between conservative and progressive groups over domain government reform, conflict over credo in the last years of the Edo Period, and disagreements over domain policy and race for power between vassals.

There were also instances of a feud caused by friction between the feudal lord and a group of his retainers. There were lords who aimed to strengthen power by eliminating top retainers, as well as retainers who sought to do away with lords who behaved against their interests or who were incompetent by means of coercive retirement, house arrest, etc. There were also cases of family feud triggered by a retainer who left the household of his lord after a conflict.

Others involved inheritance of the family name and adoption. The feuds that broke out in the Kaga, Fukuoka and Date domains had the combination of a number of such causes.

It was usual that such feuds were resolved within the lord's household, but there were feuding parties who sought mediation or arbitration by appealing to the shogunate or other feudal lords of the same family system or of relatives. Especially during the early Edo Period, the shogunate accepted such appeals and intervened in such households, implementing measures such as seizure of property, domain and rank, reduction of domain and revenue, transfer of domain, and so on. By the reign of Ienobu TOKUGAWA in the mid-Edo Period, however, the shogunate amended its policy and gradually reduced such interventions and did not intervene in family feuds since the Sengoku family feud in the early 19th century.

Notable oie-sodo

1608: Tsutui feud (Tsutui clan; Iga-ueno Domain)
1610: Echigo-Fukushima feud (Hori clan; Takada Domain)
1613: Nagayasu OKUBO incident (Okubo clan)
1617: Mogami feudl (Mogami clan; Yamagata Domain)
1618: Ushikata Umakata incident (Kato clan; Kumamoto Domain)
1626: Yanagawa-ikken (So clan; Tsushima Domain)
1633: Kuroda fued, Fukuoka Domain (Kuroda clan; Fukuoka Domain)
1634: Hirosaki Domain oie-sodo (Tsugaru clan; Hirosaki Domain)
1635: Tsuwano feud (Shioji feud, Kamei clan; Tsuwano Domain)
1639: Aizu feud (Kato clan; Aizu Domain)
1640: Ikoma feudl (Ikoma clan; Takamatsu Domain)
1640: Ikeda feud (Ikeda clan; Yamazaki Domain)
1640: Hitoyoshi Domain Oshita-no-ran incident (Sagara clan; Hitoyoshi Domain)
1648: Tanba Fukuchiyama feud (Inaba clan; Fukuchiyama Domain)
1648: Furuta Shigetsune Furuta feud (Furuta clan; Hamada Domain)
1648: Kitsuregawa feud (Kitsuregawa clan; Kitsuregawa Domain)
1660: Date feud (Tsunamune retirement incident; Date clan; Sendai Domain)
1665: Date feud (Kanbun incident; Date clan; Sendai Domain)
1679: Echigo feud (Takada feud; Echizen Matsudaira clan; Takada Domain)
1697: Date feud (Tsunamura retirement incident; Date clan; Sendai Domain)
1710: Nomura feud (Hisamatsu Matsudaira clan; Kuwana Domain)
1748: Kaga feud (Maeda clan; Kaga Domain)
1751: Mizuno feud (Mizuno clan; Okazaki Domain)
1753: Ando feud (Ando clan; Kano Domain)
1759: Hitoyoshi Domain Bamboo Gun incident (Sagara clan; Hitoyoshi Domain)
1808: Kinshiroku-kuzure (Bunka group incident/Chichibu-kuzure; Shimazu clan; Satsuma Domain)
1824: Sengoku feud (Sengoku clan; Izushi Domain)
1849: Oyura feud (Kaei-hoto kuzure/Takasaki kuzure; Shimazu clan; Satsuma Domain)

Oie-sodo cases before Edo Period

1536: Hankura riot (struggle for family name inheritance in the Imagawa clan)
1590: Nabeshima feud (See Katsushige NABESHIMA)

[Original Japanese]