Kawata Kagetomo (河田景与)

Kagetomo KAWATA (November 24, 1828 - October 12, 1897) who flourished from the end of Edo period (the last days of the Tokugawa shogunate) through Meiji period was a Samurai, a statesman and the peerage. He was originally a feudal retainer of Tottori Domain (Inshu Domain), the first governor of Tottori Prefecture (prefectural ordinance), and then became Viscount. His name (posthumous name) was Yasukage. His common names were Sakuma and Gonjiro. His Go (second name) was Kenda.

Brief Personal History
He was born as a son of Keisuke KAWATA, a feudal retainer of Tottori Domain in 1828. He had a younger brother Kagetomi. The Kawata family was Fushimi rusuiyaku (a person representing the master during his absence) in Tottori Domain for generations and he succeeded the head of the family in 1851 to become Fushimi rusuiyaku. Learning swordplay from youth, he concentrated on the thought of Sonno Joi (the principle of advocating reverence for the Emperor and the expulsion of foreigners) and became the central figure among the power of Sonno Joi party in the clan.

Activities in the end of Edo period
He held the post of Kyoto rusui concurrently in 1863. He got on with Kogoro KATSURA (later Takayoshi KIDO) of Choshu clan and participated in the Sonno Joi movement. Yoshinori IKEDA, the lord of the Tottori domain, was the fifth son of Nariaki TOKUGAWA who was a leader of Sonno Joi party so the opinion of the domain people mostly leaned toward Sonno Joi party. Shishi (supporters of a noble cause) of Sonno Joi party gathering in Kyoto at that time insisted on Joi Shinsei (Emperor going to battle himself) and Imperial visit to Owari Province which were planed by Yasuomi MAKI, and also worked in cooperation with Sanetomi SANJO, a radical Court noble at Imperial Court. But Emperor Komei recognizing Edo Shogunate thought poorly of the Sonno Joi radical party so Masakaze TAKASAKI, a feudal retainer of Satsuma Domain, and Imperial Prince Asahiko KUNINOMIYA received his will and schemed to raise the Coup of August 18 supported by the Satsuma and Choshu clan forces, which swept away from Kyoto Choshu clan and court nobles in Sonno Joi party including Sanjo. On the other hand, the time was ripe for Joi Shinsei movement among Tottori clan, but the kobu-gattai (integration of the imperial court and the shogunate) party such as Gonnosuke KUROBE of the same clan insisted that these movements would make the clan fall into the danger so that a serious conflict arose within the clan. Kawata and twenty-one men from the same clan, including Gonemon OTA, Hanroku TAKUMA, and Mototatsu SAZEN, attacked four including Kurobe staying at Honkoku-ji Temple at night on August 17, the day before the Coup and killed three of them and let one of them commit suicide with a sword (Honkoku-ji Temple Incident). He mediated each power as a pro-Choshu domain personafter the Coup. Choshu clan, however, raised the Kinmon Incident in 1864 and became Emperor's enemy so that he was punished for being in touch with Choshu clan and sent to domain's territory to be confined. Since the government force was completely defeated by Choshu clan led by Masujiro OMURA in the Choshu Conquest, Iwami Province in 1866 and the territory of Hamada Domain was captured, Kawata left the clan with comrades and escaped to Choshu Domain. Although he planed to pioneer the Ezo area later with Ryoma SAKAMOTO, who was a masterless samurai left from Tosa clan, it did not come through.

Activities in Boshin War
Choshu clan that was Emperor's enemy was forgiven by the Decree for the Restoration of Imperial Rule in 1867 and Kawata returned to Tottori Domain due to samurai of the Choshu clan coming to the capital for overthrowing the Shogunate. After Boshin War broke out next year, he joined Tosan-do Road spearhead army (governor-general was Tomosada IWAKURA, general staff was Taisuke ITAGAKI) to become a general staff of samurai of Tottori clan. He moved to the north Kanto region after the surrender of Edo Castle in March and played an active part in the Battle of Utsunomiya Castle in the end of April. It is said he himself left for the enemy's territory with a sword and inspirited officers and soldiers under his command loudly. He assumed a general staff under government forces in leap April and served in Aizu War. His achievements were recognized so that he was given Shotenroku (premium) 450 koku (the highest amount in feudal retainers of Tottori Domain).

After Meiji Restoration
On October 28, 1868 after the new era began, he was appointed to constitute prefecture at the beginning of Meiji, Nichien Province magistrate, and to be a judge to start working as a high official of the new government. He changed his position to officer of Gummukan Ministry in 1869 and to Hyobusho (ministry of military) in August. Also he successively held a Daisanji (second to a governor) and rusu hangan (judge while the master judge's away) of Kyoto prefecture, a danjodai (Board of Censors) (in Meiji period), a Daisanji of Minbusho (Ministry of Popular Affairs) and Fukuoka Domain and so on. Haihan-chiken (abolition of feudal domains and establishment of prefectures) was carried out in July, 1871 and he became the first Tottori prefectural local governor (equivalent to the present-day prefectural governor) in November of the same year. He assumed a councilor of the senate (Japan) in 1878. He was given the title of Viscount and was raised to the peerage in 1887. He died on October 12, 1897. His age at death was 70. He was buried at Baisoin Temple in Minami Aoyama, Minato Ward, Tokyo Prefecture and buried again at Tama cemetery in Fuchu City (Tokyo Prefecture) later. Kaimyo (posthumous Buddhist names) is Yoshin inden hongaku konen daikoji.

[Original Japanese]