Tokugawa Yorinobu (徳川頼宣)

Rishinin, Concubine from Ochi clan.

Yorinobu TOKUGAWA was the 10th son of Ieyasu TOKUGAWA, and became a founder of the Kishu Tokugawa family after continuously serving as the lord of the Domain of Mito, Hitachi Province, the Domain of Sunpu, Suruga Province and the Domain of Kishu, Ki Province. His mother was named Yojuin (Oman-no-kata) and she was a concubine. He was grandfather to the 8th Shogun Yoshimune TOKUGAWA. His childhood name was Chofuku-maru, but with his coming-of-age ceremony he changed his name to Yorimasa; and later to Yorinobu (頼信) and then Yorinobu (頼宣) between 1615 and 1624.


In 1606, he had his coming-of-age ceremony in Kyoto when he travelled there following Ieyasu. On February 27, 1617, he took the 5th daughter of Kiyomasa KATO, Yasohime (Yorinin), as his legal wife.

In 1619, his territory was changed to the 555 thousand koku Domain of Kishu, Ki Province, and he became a founder of the Kishu Tokugawa family. Prior to entering Ki Province, he sent his followers to investigate complaints from residents about the Asano clan, the former feudal lord. After entering Ki Province he laid the foundation for the subsequent prosperity of Kishu Domain by renovating Wakayama Castle, establishing castle towns etc. He, also introduced the Jizamurai (upper-rank samurai in rural community) system to appease local people. He launched numerous measures to resolve the problems of masterless samurai.

In the 1651 Keian no Hen (Conspiracy of Keian), the Shogunate suspected him of plotting a rebellion because Shosetsu YUI had forged Yorinobu's sealed papers, and he couldn't return to Kishu for 10 years. Meanwhile, in this period, a surviving retainer Seiko TEI (Zheng Chenggong) (Kokusenya) in Ming asked Japan to send reinforcements, and Yorinobu reacted positively to this request.

Later, he was cleared of all suspicion and returned safely to his home; however, he was apparently forced to cease extensions to Wakayama Castle (there is a place called Horidome based on this tradition in Wakayama City, Wakayama Prefecture).

In 1667, he yielded his position to his legitimate son Mitsusada TOKUGAWA, and went into retirement.

He seemed to be a person full of ambition.

Chronology of Government Posts and Ranks

* Lunar calendar used for the dates on and before December 2, 1872. On November 7, 1603, he was the lord of the 200 thousand koku Domain of Mito, Hitachi Province and ran the Chigyo fief.

In September 1604, 50,000 koku was increased.

On August 11, 1606, he had his coming-of-age ceremony and identified himself as Yorimasa. He assumed the rank of Jushiinoge (Junior Fourth Rank, Lower Grade), Hitachi no suke (vice governor of Hitachi Province).

On December 12, 1609, his territory changed to the 500 thousand koku Provinces of Suruga and Totomi. He lived in Sunpu Castle in Suruga Province.

On March 20, 1611, he was promoted to Jusanmi(Junior Third Rank) councilor Sakonoe-Gonchujo (supernumerary lieutenant general of Sakon-e-fu). Later, he resigned as councillor on an unknown date.

On July 19, he was transferred to the position of Gon-Chunagon (supernumerary vice-councilor of state)

On July 21, he resigned from the position of Gon-Chunagon.

On July 19, 1619, he became the lord of Ki Province with approximately 550 thousand koku.

On August 19, 1626, he was promoted to Junii (Junior Second Rank) Dainagon.

On May 22, 1667, he went into retirement.

He died on January 10, 1671. His grave is located in Choho-ji Temple, Keitoku-san in Kainan City, Wakayama Prefecture.

On November 10, 1915 he was given the rank of Shonii (Senior Second Rank).

[Original Japanese]