Omizo Domain (大溝藩)

The Omizo Domain refers to a domain which existed in Takashima County, Omi Province (present-day Katsuno, Takashima City, Shiga Prefecture). The government building of the domain was Omizo Jinya (the residence located in Omizo).

The history of the domain

In the Sengoku period (period of warring states), Omizo was governed by vassals of Nobunaga ODA such as Kazumasa ISONO and Nobusumi TSUDA (Nobunaga's nephew). On October 4, 1619, Mitsunobu WAKEBE who was transferred from the Ise-Ueno Domain entered the domain for the first time with properties bearing 20,000 koku (1 koku was about 180 liter; an old unit showing volume), and as a result, the Omizo Domain was established. Mitsunobu made efforts in constructing jinya (regional government office) and samurai residence, and in the bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun), he also played an active role in constructing Honmaru (the keep of a castle) of Osaka-jo Castle and as Zoei Bugyo (Temple Administrator) of Enryaku-ji Temple on Mt. Hiei. After Mitsunobu died in 1643, his son, Yoshiharu WAKEBE, succeeded to his post. However, on August 7, 1658, Yoshiharu put his wife's uncle, Nagashige IKEDA to the sword as a result of squabbling with Nagashige about a trifle, and on the next day, Yoshiharu himself also died of injury by a sword given by Nagashige. The family estate was succeeded by his son, Yoshitake WAKEBE, but Yoshitake died young at the age of 20 on August 1, 1667 without having any heir. This is why a line of the Wakebe clan ended only in three generations.

Therefore, for the fourth lord of the domain, Nobumasa WAKEBE (third son of Naganobu IKEDA, and ironically a nephew of Nagashige IKEDA) was adopted to be the heir from the Bitchu-Matsuyama clan which was a relative of Yoshitake's mother. An income drastically decreased due to frequent occurrence of great floods within the domain from around this time, and as a result, the finance of the clan became worse gradually. Because the clan could not collect 10,000 koku in 1669 and 13,000 koku in 1676 due to great floods, the finance became worse to the extent of asking the bakufu for exemption from Sankinkotai (a system under which feudal lords in the Edo period were required to spend every other year in residence in Edo). And, many successive lords of the domain successively held posts such as Osaka-jo-kaban (a post to guard Osaka-jo Castle) and so on, and engaged in the custody of criminals. When Mitsuyasu WAKEBE was the 10th lord of the domain, Juzo KONDO who was famous as explorer was in custody.

Since the finance of the clan became in dire straits in around the middle of the Edo period, Mitsuzane WAKEBE, the eighth lord of the domain, carried out a reform called five-year plan for financial affairs with Gensho MIYAKE, but this plan had almost no effect. When Mitsusada WAKEBE was the 11th lord of the domain, disturbances at the end of the Edo period occurred, but very distinguished activities were not seen at the end of the Edo period because Mitsuhide was stricken with paralysis. Mitsusada died in the following year of the return of lands and people to the emperor, and his son, Mitsunori WAKEBE, succeeded to his post. However, Mitsunori resigned as governor of domain in August 1871, and the Omizo Domain was abolished due to this event and was incorporated in Otsu Prefecture. In addition, Mitsunori who died on November 29, 1944 lived longer than any other lord of the domain in the Edo period (however, since the return of lands and people to the emperor was implemented during the era of Mitsunori, it is a popular theory to consider Tadataka HAYASHI of the Jozai Domain, Kazusa Province - he became subject to Kaieki [forfeit rank of Samurai and properties] because he was on the side of the bakufu in the Boshin Civil War, and died in 1941 - as the 'last lord of domain').

[Original Japanese]