Yamauchi Yodo (山内容堂)

Yodo YAMAUCHI (or Toyoshige YAMAUCHI, November 27, 1827 - July 26, 1872) was a Japanese samurai, non-Tokugawa daimyo (feudal lord) and the 15th lord of the Tosa domain (for the period of January 21, 1849 - February 1859). His official court rank was Jushiinoge Tosa no kami (Junior Forth Rank, Lower Grade of the governor of Tosa Province) jiju (a chamberlain), and later advanced to Junii Gon Chunagon (Junior Second Rank provisional vice-councilor of state). His imina (personal name) was Toyoshige. The name Yodo was a pseudonym after his retirement.

He was the eldest son of Toyoakira YAMAUCHI (the 12th lord of the domain, and the younger brother of Toyosuke YAMAUCHI), the family head of the Southern house of the Yamauchi clan, which consist of the brothers and sisters of nobles of the Tosa Domain. His mother was a concubine, 平石氏. His lawful wife was the daughter of Mitsumasa KARASUMARU (an adopted daughter of Sanetsumu SANJO). His children were Toyotada YAMAUCHI (the eldest son), and two daughters (Imperial Princess Kitashirakawanomiya Yoshihisa and Imperial Princess Komatsunomiya Yorihito, who later became the second wife of Okitomo AKIMOTO). His childhood name was 輝衛. He loved liquor and poetry, and referred to himself as "Gei Kai Sui Ko" (the drunken lord of the oceanic domain that is inhabited by whales).
His attitude to try to move with the times at the end of Edo Period was criticized by the supporters of the nobles and jested that he was 'pro-Imperial when drunken but pro-shognate when sober.'


Until assuming the position of lord of the domain
Born in 1827. The Southern house of the Yamauchi clan, which was the birthplace of Toyoshige, was a branch family with 1,500 koku. The family was the lowest in the order of the Renshigoke (the five houses of the Renshi clan). Although the sons of the lord of the domain were usually born and raised in the Edo residence, since he was born in a branch family, Toyoshige was born and raised in the castle town of the Kochi-jo Castle.

The 13th lord of the domain Toyoteru YAMAUCHI and his younger brother the 14th lord of the domain Toyoatsu YAMAUCHI died in succession. Toyoatsu died in only 12 days after assuming the position as the lord of the domain, bringing the Yamauchi clan to the verge of extinction. Although Toyoatsu had a younger brother (Toyonori YAMAUCHI, who later became the 16th lord of the domain), he was only 3 years old; therefore, Toyoshige, who was 22 and from a branch family, became a candidate for the position of lord. He pressured Masahiro ABE, who was the Roju shuza (the head of Roju, senior councilors of the Tokugawa shogunate), with support by the Satsuma domain, which was the family home of Toyoteru's wife Chikyoin (Kohime). They set up a situation whereby Toyoatsu retired due to illness, and on January 21, 1849, Toyoshige assumed the position as lord of the domain.

During his reign as lord of the domain
After assuming the position of lord of the domain, Toyoshige hated the administration that was centered around lineage and old retainers, and used Toyo YOSHIDA, who was the leading figure of the 'Shin Okozegumi' (the group of reformists). In 1853, Toyoshige appointed Toyo to the newly established position of 'shiokiyaku' (a councilor of a shogunate), the office of an administrator, and forced domain duties to be restructured by pushing aside the chief retainer. In June 1854, Toyo had a dispute with Kahe MATSUSHITA, who was a hatamoto (direct retainers of the bakufu, which is a form of Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun) and had a matrimonial relation with the Yamauchi clan. Toyo was overthrown and suspended. However in 1857, 3 years later, Toyo was appointed again and Toyo used Shojiro GOTO and Takachika FUKUOKA, both of whom later became councilors of the domain.

Toyoshige had interactions with Shungaku MATSUDAIRA (the lord of Fukui Domain), Munenari DATE (the lord of Uwajima Domain) and Nariakira SHIMAZU (the lord of Satsuma Domain), and these four lords including Toyoshige were called Bakumatsu no shikenko (the four remarkable daimyos of the end of the Edo period). They actively commented on the shogunate administration, and pleaded with Masahiro ABE, the roju (member of shogun's council of elders), on the necessity to reform the shogunate government. After the death of Masahiro ABE, Toyoshige directly stood against Naosuke Ii, who became a tairo (chief minister), over the issue of choosing the successor to the shogun. Since the 13th seii taishogun (literally, "great general who subdues the barbarians") Iesada TOKUGAWA was poor in health and did not have an heir, the Bakumatsu no shikenko members including Yodo and Nariaki TOKUGAWA (the lord of the Mito Domain) recommended Yoshinobu TOKUGAWA as the next shogun. On the other hand, Ii supported Yoshitomi TOKUGAWA (the lord of the Kishu Domain). Ii took advantage of the position of Tairo (chief minister) and excluded his political enemies. This was the so-called Ansei no Taigoku (suppression of extremists by the Shogunate). Consequently, it was decided that Yoshitomi would become the 14th shogun, Iemochi TOKUGAWA. Yodo was outraged at this, and submitted a request of retirement to the Tokugawa shogunate in March 1859. In October in the same year, he was ordered to be placed under house arrest by the bakufu along with Nariaki, Shungaku and Munenari.

From retirement through Taisei Hokan (transfer of power back to the Emperor)

Yodo let his younger brother and former lord of the domain Toyonori to succeed the lord and retired. At first he called himself Nindo, but later upon a recommendation by Toko FUJITA of the Mito Domain, he renamed himself Yodo. Yodo's thoughts were complex, as he was a member of the party that advocated Kobu-Gattai, which aimed to unite the court and the shogunate. While oppressing kinno no shishi (royalists) within his domain, he served the Imperial Court and acted for the good of the bakufu. Therefore, his acts served to confuse the political situation during the end of the Edo period.
Even Takamori SAIGO, who later became Yodo's political enemy, said 'it is a lot easier to deal with simple Sabaku-ha (supporters of the Shogun).'

During his house arrest, a coup occurred in the Tosa Domain. After the Sakuradamongai Incident, the thoughts propelled by the Sonno-joi (a group of activists who admired the Emperor and hated foreigners, advocating the need for expelling them from Japan) became mainstream throughout the country. In the Tosa Domain, Tosa kinnoto (loyalist clique of Tosa) led by Zuizan TAKECHI gained power and was opposed to Toyo YOSHIDA, who was the koko no shin (a trusted retainer) of Yodo. Finally on May 6, 1862, Zuizan assassinated Toyo. Later, Zuizan aligned with monbatsukaro (a shogun's chief counselor who is of a renowned lineage) and took control of the administration of the domain.

On September 30, 1863, an Imperial Court military coup (Coup of August 18) was forced through in Kyoto in order to depose the Choshu Domain by the Aizu Domain and the Satsuma Domain. The Choshu side narrowly avoided this touch-and-go scenario, and the power of purge by the Sabaku-ha rose again for a while after this incident. Yodo was released from house arrest, went back to the Tosa Province, and took control of the administration of the domain. Afterward, he continued exert influence on domain duties while being retired. Yodo first started by severely oppressing his political enemy Tosa kinnoto which assassinated Toyo, arresting and imprisoning all members of the party. The leader Zuizan was forced to commit seppuku (suicide by disembowelment), and other party members were sentenced to death. Those who could escape left the domain and Tosa kinnoto was defeated. In the same year, Yodo went up to Kyoto and was assigned to become a sanyo (councilor) by the Imperial Court. He joined the council, which was the consultative body of the national administration, but did not participate in the meeting quite often, on account of his claiming to be sick, and the council fell apart after a short period of time.

Due to the intermediation by the royalists of Tosa who left the domain right before the assassination of Toyo (such as Ryoma SAKAMOTO, Shintaro NAKAOKA and Hisamoto HIJIKATA), on March 8, 1866, the Satsuma-Choshu Alliance was established. This moved the Meiji Restoration forward significantly.

In June 1867, Yodo participated in the Shiko-kaigi (four major lords' meeting), which was driven and established by the Satsuma Domain, but he kept skipping the meetings since he did not like the fact that the Satsuma Domain was leading the movement to stymie the power of the bakufu. Eventually, his meeting quickly fell apart. However, on July 23 in Kyoto, Tatewaki KOMATSU, Toshimichi OKUBO, Takamori SAIGO from the Satsuma Domain and Shojiro GOTO, Taisuke ITAGAKI, Takachika FUKUOKA, Sazen TERAMURA and 間部栄三郎 from the Tosa Domain had a meeting thanks to intermediation by Shintaro NAKAOKA and Ryoma SAKAMOTO, and the Satsuma-Choshu Alliance was established with the aim of eliminating the bakufu and the restoring Imperial Rule. This gradually drove the Tosa Domain as a whole toward overthrowing the Shogunate.

Yodo himself kept supporting the bakufu which made him the lord of the domain, but could not stop the movement that took place during this era which was bent on overthrowing the Shogunate. Then-councilor of the domain Shojiro GOTO heard from Ryoma SAKAMOTO about the idea of returning government administration, which was consigned to the bakufu, to the Imperial Court and about 'Senchu hassaku' (the basic outline of the new regime drawn up by Ryoma Sakamoto), and told Yodo about them as if they were his own ideas. Yodo thought these were good ideas and petitioned them to Yoshinobu TOKUGAWA, the 15th Shogun. This led Yoshinobu to make the Taisei Hokan (transfer of power back to the Emperor) on November 9, 1867.

However, henceforth, until the foundation of the Meiji government, all the administrations were taken under control by the Satsuma and Choshu clans. At the Kogosho Conference which was held on January 3, 1868, the representatives of the domains of Satsuma, Owari, Echizen and Geishu gathered; Yodo, although he was late and drunk, attended. Yodo insisted that the Restoration of Imperial Rule, which he had attended and approved of himself, was a conspiracy by certain court nobles such as Tomomi IWAKURA, and Yoshinobu TOKUGAWA, and that being invited to the meeting was unfair; he insisted this because the Restoration of Imperial Rule was fundamentally against his original theory to resolve the situation using a council of feudal lords (i.e., protecting the Tokugawa clan). Moreover, he protected the Tokugawa clan by questioning by only the head of the Tokugawa family had to return their estates while Satsuma, Tosa, Owari and Geishu clans were allowed to keep their estates, regarding Yoshinobu TOKUGAWA's Jikan nochi (an order for surrendering the Shogunate post and domains to the Imperial court) determined by Iwakura and Okubo. Yodo demanded that the government be comprised of a council of feudal lords with the Tokugawa clan at its center instead of a parliamentary regime with the Emperor at its center as was previously decided. Yoshinaga MATSUDAIRA agreed with Yodo. Yodo had a bad habit of yelling at people when being upset, not to mention the fact that he was also drunk at this meeting.
This included an outburst where he said 'a few of the court nobles are trying to take power by supporting a young emperor.'
Iwakura, not having been able to control his rage, shouted back to Yodo and said 'all these decisions have been made by the Emperor,' 'what you said was totally inappropriate,' 'how could you call our Emperor a young emperor,' and 'Tosa clan, Tosa clan, respond to me.'
Yodo, being drunk, couldn't say anything that made sense. Afterward, the meeting continued, and the other members ignored him, with a focus on the supporters of a parliamentary regime with the Emperor at its center, i.e., the anti-Shogunate group.

On January 27, 1868 when the shooting by the old shogunate triggered the Boshin War, Yodo gave strict orders to the 100 soliders that he himself had ordered from Tosa Domain to Kyoto, to not join the war. However, Taisuke ITAGAKI, the commander of the Tosa Domain, ignored this and voluntarily joined the New government army. Yodo told the soldiers of the Tosa Domain, who were leaving Edo, and led by Itagaki to take care of themselves since it would soon be very cold.

After the Restoration
After the Meiji Restoration, Yodo assumed the position of naikoku jimu sosai (the director general of Domestic Affairs Office), but he did not get along with the others who used to be in ranks lower than himself, such as vassals and people of the domain, and resigned from the position in 1869. However, Yodo was on good terms with Takayoshi KIDO, and often invited him over and discussed the future of the Meiji Government. He bought the former Villa of the Tayasu family of the Tokugawa clan in Hakozaki, Tokyo, and lived there as his main residence.

In the early days of his retirement, he used to keep more than 10 mistresses in the villa (Ayase sodo (Ayase hermitage)) in Hashiba (Taito Ward, Tokyo), which was known for lots of vacation homes, and enjoyed a gorgeous life of drinking, hanging out with women and creating poetry. Although he kept playing around in shuro (restaurants) in Ryogoku (Sumida Ward) and Yanagi-bashi Bridge (Kanda-gawa River), his family property came on the verge of ruin, to which Yodo said 'there has been no daimyo who ever became bankrupt. I'll be the first to do it,' and ignored the candid advice given by the butler. Also, it is said that Yodo regretted about being deprived of obtaining real power in the new government from the Satsuma and Choshu Domains, due to the lack of anyone that was able to stand against them, which was a direct result of his assassinating Zuizan TAKECHI. In 1872, he had a cerebral hemorrhage due to too much drinking over the years, and died at the age of 46. His grave is located at the Oi park (4 chome, Higashi-Ooi, Shinagawa Ward) where the suburban residence of the Tosa Domain used to be.

*The old lunar calendar is used.

December 27, 1848 Become the lord of the domain.

1849 Referred to himself as Hyogo no suke.

December 16, 1850 Appointed as Jushiinoge Tosa no kami (Junior Forth Rank, Lower Grade of the governor of Tosa Province).

December 16, 1852 Also appointed as jiju (a chamberlain).

April 18, 1864 Promoted to Jushiijo (Junior Fourth Rank, Upper Grade) and transferred to the Konoefu (the Headquarters of the Inner Palace Guards). Remained in the position of Tosa no kami (Provincial Governor of Tosa).

December 9, 1867 Assumed the position of gijo (official post) of the restoration government (hereinafter 'government').


January 14 Served in an additional post of naikoku jimu sosai (the director general of Domestic Affairs Office).

January 21 Requested to be removed from the office of naikoku jimu sosai.

Leap April 21 Dismissed from gijo.

June 3 Promoted to Junii Chunagon (Junior Second Rank vice-councilor of state) and appointed as Jokyoku Gijo (government service of Jokyoku law-making organ), which is a Giseikan (Legislature).

September 19, 1868 Served in an additional post of giji teisai torishirabesho sosai (an officer at the governmental office of parliamentary system investigation).

December 13 Served in an additional post of gakko chiji (a school governor).


April 17 Served in an additional post of seidoryo sosai (the director general of Seidoryo, an office controlling institutions in the Meiji period). Resigned from giji teisai torishirabesho sosai.

April 20 Resigned from gakko chiji.

May 7 Resigned from seidoryo sosai and assume the position of jokyoku gicho (the chairman of jokyoku, a law making body in the Meiji period).

May 15 Resigned from the jokyoky gicho along with resignation from gijo.

May 17 Assumed the position of gakko chiji.

July 9 Voluntarily retired from gakko chiji and became Jako no ma shiko (entitlement to the meritorious deeds for the Imperial restoration or noble).

September 26 Promoted to Shonii (Senior Second Rank).


June 21 Kokyo (death of a man of upper than Third Rank).

June 28 Postmortem promotion to Juichii (Junior First Rank)

[Original Japanese]