Sawayama Domain (佐和山藩)

The Sawayama Domain was in Omi Province (now Furusawa-cho, Hikone City, Shiga Prefecture). The government building of the domain was in Sawayama-jo Castle.


The Sawayama Domain was established in 1595 when Mitsunari ISHIDA, who displayed his uncommon shrewdness as Gobugyo under Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI, was transferred from the Omi Minakuchi Domain to his new territory with 194,000 koku crop yields. However, the Ishida clan was not the family of lord of the domain in the shogunate system because he was a vassal of the Toyotomi clan. Sawayama had been regarded as important point since the days of Nobunaga ODA, and Nobunaga appointed Nagahide NIWA, his especially confidential senior vassal, as lord of the castle.

During the rule of Mitsunari his good government enabled people of the Sawayama Domain to live in affluence, so that people in those days said that Mitsunari was too good on two points: Sakon SHIMA and Sawayama-jo Castle. Good government by Mitsunari was exemplified by the exemption of nengu (land tax) to help the people living in Furuhashi who suffered a poor harvest, and enacting a variety of laws and ordinances to improve the inside of the territory.

After the collapse of the Ishida clan in the Battle of Sekigahara, Naomasa II, one of four generals serving Ieyasu TOKUGAWA, who distinguished himself in the battle, became the lord of the Sawayama Domain with 180,000 koku crop yields. However, Naomasa died suddenly only two years later in 1602. Although he was believed to die from wound in the Battle of Sekigahara, it was rumored that he was cursed to death by the apparition of Mitsunari. Because of this, Ieyasu destroyed all sorts of things related to Mitsunari including temples to say nothing of Sawayama-jo Castle, and ordered Naotsugu II, a son of Naomasa, who succeeded his father, to construct Hikone-jo Castle. With the completion of Hikone-jo Castle, the Sawayama Domain was abolished.

[Original Japanese]