Matsudaira Katamori (松平容保)

Katamori MATSUDAIRA was a Daimyo, and the 9th and last Chief of the Aizu Clan of Mutsu Province. He also took office as Kyoto Shugoshoku. He was the 6th son on Yoshitatsu MATSUDAIRA, Chief of the Takasu Clan of Mino Province; and his mother was the concubine KOMORI. His older brothers were Yoshikatsu TOKUGAWA and Shigenori TOKUGAWA; and Sadaaki MATSUDAIRA was one of his younger brothers; he was one of the 4 Brothers of Takasu. His childhood name was Keinosuke. His office was Higo-no-Kami. His other names as a Buddhist were Yudo and Houzan. His posthumous Shinto name was Masane-reishin. His wife was the daughter of Katataka MATSUDAIRA. His children were Kataharu MATSUDAIRA (eldest son), Takeo MATSUDAIRA (2nd son), Hideo MATSUDAIRA (5th son), Tsuneo MATSUDAIRA (6th son), and Morio MATSUDAIRA (7th son). He adopted Nobunori MATSUDAIRA.


In 1846 he was adopted by the 8th Chief of Aizu Clan, Katataka, whom he succeeded in 1852. In 1860, he opposed the punishment of the Mito Clan, whose Ronin had killed Tairo Naosuke II in the Incident Outside the Sakurada Gate. After the assassination of II, Yoshinobu HITOTSUBASHI (Yoshinobu TOKUGAWA), who had become the Shogun's successor with the support of the Imperial Court and the Satsuma Clan, started the Bunkyu Reformation along with Yoshinaga MATSUDAIRA, the head of the Fukui Clan who had become Seiji Sosaishoku; and in 1862 Katamori was appointed to the new post of Bakusei Sanyo, and later to the newly created post of Kyoto Shugoshoku. Katamori, who had a weak constitution and was sick in bed with a cold around that time, at first firmly refused the appointment by objections from Tanomo SAIGO and other vassals, but finally accepted on the urging of Yoshinaga and others.

Kyoto Shugoshoku

When Katamori started as Kyoto Shugoshoku the first thing he did was lead Aizu Clan soldiers into Kyoto for an audience with Emperor Komei, and negotiate with the Imperial Court; at first he planned to keep the peace with a policy of opening up talks, even with anti-shogunate agitators. Yoshinobu and others were amazed with Katamori's attitude at first.

An event occurred that enraged Katamori because it took aim at the Tokugawa family. That was the 3 Ashikaga Shoguns severed heads incident (the Incident of Head-gibbeting of three Ashikaga shoguns'wooden statues). In response to that Katamori turned his policy around 180 degrees, used his followers in the Miburoshi-gumi (later the Shinsengumi) to maintain the peace in the city and guard the 14th Shogun, Iemochi TOKUGAWA. Katamori himself was in the Kobu-gattai faction, and tried to undermine the influence of the Sonno-tobaku faction, Choshu Clan, in the Kinmon Incident in 1864.

Emperor Komei died in 1866, and though Katamori appealed over and over to resign from his position as Kyoto Shugoshoku, neither the Imperial Court nor the shogunate would approve it. Katamori stayed in Kyoto by order of the Imperial Court.

In 1867 when the 15th Shogun, Yoshinobu TOKUGAWA, restored government to the emperor and ended the Edo Shogunate, the Kyoto Shugoshoku was also abolished. After the restoration of the monarchy (called Osei-fukko), Katamori became a key person of the Ouetsu Reppan Domei, clashing in the Battle of Toba Fushimi with soldiers of the Satsuma and Choshu-han clans which were at the center of the new Meiji government; soldiers of the Aizu-han clan fought too, but Katamori went to Edo with his brother Sadaaki on a shogunate warship when Yoshinobu who had retreated to Osaka fled from the battle line. When Yoshinobu swore allegiance to the new government, there were loyalist and resistance factions among Edo-jo Castle and the old shogunate vassals, with the majority of the Aizu-han clan lords favoring armed allegiance.

Battle of Aizu

The army of the new government routed the Shogi-tai in the Battle of Ueno, gained control of Edo, and took the war to the Hokuriku region. Katamori was thought to be a man of influence of the shogunate's supporters and regarded with hostility; he resisted the army of the new government as a leader of the Ouetsu Reppan Domei in the Boshin War, fought at the Battle of Aizu, and according to the Advice of Capitulation, called on Kanbee SAGAWA to capitulate.


After that he was handed over to the Tottori-han Clan and kept under house arrest in Tokyo; but his heir, Kataharu MATSUDAIRA, was allowed to continue the family name and was made a peer. Kataharu's house arrest was lifted shortly after that and he became the priest of Nikko Toshogu Shrine in 1880. He advanced to Sho-sanmi (Senior 3rd Class) before dying of pneumonia in his house in Meguro, Tokyo, on December 5, 1893. He was 59 when he died. He was given some milk from Emperor Meiji on the day before his death. Furthermore, Katamori had been honored with a letter and poem from Emperor Komei in recognition of his work in the Kinmon Incident, which he placed in a small bamboo tube that he hung around his neck and never let go of until he died. And he did not talk anything about the events around the end of the shogunate/restoration.

The letter from Emperor Komei praised Katamori's diligent service as Kyoto Shugoshoku, and is a testimony to just how much Emperor Komei trusted Katamori. This was extremely inconvenient for the historical view of the Satsuma/Choshu leaders, who had decided that Katamori MATSUDAIRA was a rogue daimyo, so much so that they wanted to deny its existence. Aritomo YAMAGATA was shocked when he later found out about the contents of that letter, and secretly tried to get it for 20,000 yen (worth several hundred million yen in today's money). It is reported that the solicitation included thinly veiled threats like "because, after all, Aizu Matsudaira is an enemy of the emperor"; but it was absolutely ignored by the Aizu Matsudaira family.

His gravesite is at Lord of the Aizu Clan Matsudaira's Family cemetery in Innai, in Aizu-Wakamatsu City, Fukushima Prefecture, and at Shojuin Temple in Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo.


In 1928, 60th year after Boshin/Meiji Restoration) the wedding of Prince Yasuhito CHICHIBU (2nd son of Emperor Taisho) and Princess Setsuko CHICHIBU (eldest daughter of Katamori MATSUDAIRA's 6th son, Tsuneo) was held. The marriage of the Aizu Matsudaira family to the Imperial family represented the restoration of the name of the Aizu-han Clan, which had been disgraced as an Emperor's enemy. Also, with the publication of Kan SHIMOZAWA's "The Complete Story of the Shinsengumi" and Michio HIRAO's "Historical Records of the Shinsengumi", this was the year that the Shinsengumi, previously considered a traitor, began to be reevaluated.

Posts and Ranks

NB: Dates are in the old calendar until Meiji 4

December 29, 1835(old calendar): Born the 6th son of Yoshitatsu MATSUDAIRA, Chief of the Takasu-han Clan of Mino Province, in the Daimyo's Edo residence.


April 27 (old calendar): Became the successor to the Chief of the Aizu-han Clan of Mutsu Province.

December 16 (old calendar): Invested as Ju- Shii-ge (Junior 4th Class, Minor), Jiju and Wakasa-no-Kami.


February 25 (old calendar): Became the Chief of the Clan. Transferred to Higo-no-Kami. Continued as Jiju.

December 16 (January 25, 1853): Transferred to Sakonoe-gon-shosho. Continued as Higo-no-Kami.

December 12,1861 (old calendar): Transferred to Sakonoe-gon-chujo. Continued as Higo-no-Kami (the name of Aizu Chujo later surfaced).

August 1, 1862 (old calendar): Appointed Kyoto Shugoshoku. Advanced to Sho-shii-ge (Senior 4th Class, Minor).

December 30, 1863 (old calendar): Appointed to Chogisanyo.


February 11 (old calendar): Resigned as Kyoto Shugoshoku and was appointed Rikugun Sosaishoku (Commander of the Army).

February 12 (old calendar): Appointed Sangi, but declined.

February 13 (old calendar) (March 20): Transferred to Gunji Sosaishoku (Commander of the Military) -because the post of Rikugun Sosaishoku (Commander of the Army) was renamed.

With the changing of the era to Genji year 1, he resigned the post of Chogisanyo on March 14.

April 7 (old calendar) (May 12): Resigned as Gunji Sosaishoku (Commander of the Military).

April 22 (old calendar): Returned to duty as Kyoto Shugoshoku.

April 23, 1867 (old calendar): Appointed to Sangi (later came to be called Aizu Saisho).


January 10 (old calendar): Dismissed.

February 4 (old calendar) : Resigned. Stepped down from the position of the Clan Chief.

February 8 (old calendar): Banned from entering castles.

At the beginning of the new era on November 2, 1868 (old calendar), he was imprisoned by the Tottori Clan of Inaba Province.

December 7 (old calendar): Sentenced to permanent confinement by the Tottori Clan.

December 7, 1869 (old calendar): Transferred to Wakayama in Kii Province.


March 14 (old calendar): Turned over to the custody of the Tonami Clan of Mutsu Province.

August: Moved to Tokyo.

February 14, 1872: Released from confinement.

November 1, 1876: Conferred the rank of Ju-Goi (Junior 5th Class).


February 2: Became the chief priest of Nikko Toshogu Shrine in Sannai, Nikko City, Tochigi Prefecture.

March 13: Also hold the post of the prist of Ueno Toshogu Shrine in Ueno, Taito Ward, Tokyo.

May 18: Promoted to the rank of Sho-Shii (Senior 4th Class).

1884: Dismissed from his positions at Nikko Toshogu and Ueno Toshogu Shrines.


September: Returned to his position as priest at Nikko Toshogu Shrine. Also took on the job of the chief priest of Futarasan-jinja Shrine at Sannai, Nikko City, Tochigi Prefecture.

December 6: Promoted to the rank of Ju-Sanmi (Junior 3rd Class).

1888: Took on the job of the director of Tokyo Koten Kokyujo.

1889: Took on the job of the director of Tochigi Koten Kokyujo.


September 22: Resigned as priest of Futarasan-jinja Shrine.




Father: Yoshitatsu MATSUDAIRA
Adoptive Father: Katataka MATSUDAIRA
Mother: A Concubine

Sadaaki MATSUDAIRA (Chief of the Kuwana-han Clan)
Yoshitake MATSUDAIRA (13th Chief of the Takasu-han Clan)
Yoshikatsu TOKUGAWA (14th, 17th Head of the Owari Tokugawa household)
Takeshige MATSUDAIRA (3rd Chief of the Hamada-han Clan)
Mochinaga TOKUGAWA (11th Chief of the Takasu-han Clan, 15th head of the Owari Tokugawa household, 10th head of the Hitotsubashi Tokugawa household)

Toshihime (5th daughter of Katataka MATSUDAIRA)
Ura no Tsubone
Takeo MATSUDAIRA (Chief priest of Isasumi-jinja Shrine)
Hideo MATSUDAIRA (Adopted son-in-law of the family of Count Yamada)
Tsuneo MATSUDAIRA (Ambassador to England, 18th Head of the main Tokugawa household, grandfather of Tsunenari TOKUGAWA)
Morio MATSUDAIRA (Rear Admiral of the Imperial Japanese Navy)
Adopted Children
Nobunori MATSUDAIRA (19th son of Nariaki TOKUGAWA of the Mito Tokugawa household)

His wife Toshihime, the 5th daughter of Katataka MATSUDAIRA, married him when she was 14 years old, but died at 19. He later took Ura no Tsubone as a new wife. His 2 concubines were Saku, daughter of Magobee TASHIRO (mother of 1st son: Kataharu; 2nd son: Takeo; 5th son: Hideo; 7th son: Morio), and Naka, daughter of Genbee KAWAMURA (mother of 1st daughter: Haruna; 2nd daughter; 3rd and 4th sons; 6th son: Tsuneo). Saku looked after Katamori while he was the Kyoto Shugoshoku.

Historical Documents

"The Story of Katamori MATSUDAIRA" (Taizo AIDA, Aizu Local History Research Institute)
"The Note of Old Dreams: Recollections of Yoshinobu TOKUGAWA" (Eiichi SHIBUSAWA, editor, Heibonsha)
" Everything About Katamori MATSUDAIRA" (Kenjo TSUNABUCHI, editor, Shin-Jinbutsuoraisha)
"All the Samurai of the Aizu-han Clan, Vol. 1" Uhyoe KURASAWA (By Tetsuya ITO, Shin-Jinbutsuoraisha)
"Monthly Historical Reader: A Record of the Kyoto Patriots from the End of the Edo Period "The Aizu-han Clan (By Tetsuya ITO, Shin-Jinbutsuoraisha)


"The Guard of the Imperial Castle" (Ryotaro SHIBA, Kodansha)

Television Dramas

Shinsengumi! (2004, NHK Taiga Drama, Katamori MATSUDAIRA played by Michitaka TSUTSUI)

[Original Japanese]