Ando clan (安東氏)

The Ando (安東) clan was a samurai family, which ruled extensively from Tsugaru region of Mutsu Province, situated in the northernmost region on the Japan Sea side of Honshu to the Akita Country of Dewa Province, during the medieval Japan. The clan was also called the Tsugaru Ando (安藤) clan. The clan's original surname was the Abe clan (Oshu Province). In the Kamakura period, the clan took the position of Ezo kanrei (the Shogun aide of the northern part areas of Japan in the Kamakura period) as Miuchibito (private vassals of the Tokuso [the patrimonial head of the main branch of the Hojo clan]), and in the Muromachi period, it seems to have been incorporated into Kyoto fuchishu, and later it became a Sengoku daimyo (Japanese territorial lord in the Sengoku period). In recent times, it proclaimed itself the 'Akita clan' and survived as a daimyo, and after the Meiji Restoration it was given the title of viscount.

Concerning the writing of its name 'Ando,' in those historical records generally state as, the clan used the denomination of '安藤 (Ando) clan' during the Kamakura period to the period of the Northern and Southern Courts when the clan was settled in Tsugaru region, while it was settled in Akita region in the mid-Muromachi period and after, its denomination came to be written '安東 (Ando) clan,' and therefore, the individual surnames of the clan until mid-15th century will be written as '安藤 (ANDO)' and after that it will be written as '安東 (ANDO),' and for the sake of simplicity, the clans name will be consistently written as the 'Ando' clan.

Family line

It was a local ruling family, which handed down the genealogy in which Takaakimaru, the second son of Sadato ABE, was figured as its ancestor, and dominated Tsugaru region and an extensive surroundings from the westward of Akita Country of Dewa Province to the eastward of Shimokita Peninsula. The real family line is not clear, as there are many different theories; in one theory, the relation with Tsuguo ANDO and (安藤三) of Shinano Province mentioned in "Hogen Monogatari" (The Tale of the Hogen War) is pointed out, while in another theory, the relation with Shiro ANDO of Misawa that appears in "Azuma Kagami" (The Mirror of the East) is pointed out.

The Akita clan, a former viscount family and the descendant of the Ando clan, had handed down a legend that, the Akita clan was the descendant of Abihiko, Nagasunehiko's older brother, however, it is considered to have little credibility due to the possibility that it was influenced by "Soga Monogatari" (The Tale of Soga), the tale written in the eeriest days of the Muromachi period, in which the ancestor of Emishi (northerners) was claimed to be Abihiko. However, it is certain that the Ando clan itself handed down this tradition that they were Emishi's descendent, and the fact that they themselves handed down the genealogical record that they were the descendent of 'Emperor's enemy,' shows a unique recognition on the genealogy in the northern Ou region.

In the recent studies, the following things are assumed: the clan was a jinin (associates of Shinto shrines) at Ichinomiya Shiogama-jinja Shrine in Mutsu Province, in charge of the management of the shrine estate of Shiogama-jinja Shrine, it can be understppd that it was a local ruling lord which had certain characters of 'Kaimin' (maritime people) as well as 'sanmin' (mountain people) according to the historical materials in which the clan's name registered as 'Tsugaru Sanzoku' (bandit of Tsugaru).

The Era of Tsugaru

According to "Horyakukanki" (A History Book of the 14th century in Japan), around the era of Yoshitoki HOJO, Goro ANDO was assigned to the eastern Ezo to control the region, and according to "Suwa Daimyojin Ekotoba," Andota was appointed to Ezo kanrei (a shogunal deputy in Ezo). Based on these historical materials, it is thought that the Ando clan was appointed to the administrator of Ezo (Ezosata daikan [local governor]) as a hikan (bureaucrat) (Miuchibito) of the head family of Hojo clan (Tokuso [the patrimonial head of the main branch of the Hojo clan]), which had an extensive territory in Mutsu Province from the mid-Kamakura period, and then through the Hojo clan, the Ando clan came to be controlled under the Kanamura bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun).

In 'Shuju onfurumai Gosho' (On the Buddha's Behavior) of "Nichiren Ibun" (Documents on the Venerable Nichiren), there is a following description about an event as of 1275.
Goro ANDO, was an excellent person who advocated the reason of cause and effect and constructed temples and pagodas, and how on earth he could be allowed the 'Emishi' to take his head.'
Some researchers interpret this as the fact that he had forced Buddhism to the Ainu, however, others suppose that the Ando clan that lead the Ainu might have been defeated by Yuan Dynasty because the Yuan's attack against the Ainu in Sakhalin (Karafuto) Island around that time was documented, and therefore, the word 'Emishi' here might indicate the northern foreign people in general, and not meaning precisely the Ainu.

Afterwards, the Ando clan is said to have been prosperous placing its home base in Tosaminato, Tsugaru Province through the time from the late Kamakura period to the Period of the Northern and Southern Courts, however, the period of time in which the clan was dominating Tosaminato can not be precisely determined because of various estimates. Recent years, comparative studies on the Chikama clan in the West and the Ando clan in the East, both of which were Tokuso's bureaucrats taking charge of the respective peripheral border in the east and in the west of the medieval nation, have developed and it is revealed that both of them had a huge extension of the territory compared with the samurai groups in the center, and their territories were even reaching outside the national territory. And it is supposed that the clan's reality was the entity of economic interests nurtured by trading.

The Ando clan's territory, which was extended on the land infeasible for cultivation, and the profits gained from the inner land was scarce, however, the clan was gripping key ports along the coast, which had possibility to provide the clan an enormous benefit through a large-scale trading net in the Sea of Japan, and in this sense, the clan can be considered as a maritime local ruling family. The influence of the clan extended even to Ezo crossing over the Tsugaru Straits, and the clan appointed Watari-to (the group of immigrants) settled in the south part of Ezogashima Islands (generally they are said to have come from the mainland, but there are different theories) as its hikan (low-level bureaucrat).

In the late Kamakura period, the clan had an internal conflict, and after Takatoki HOJO replaced Suenaga ANDO by Suenaga's cousin Suehisa ANDO as Ezo kanrei in 1325, the conflict resulted in a rebellion against the bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun, in this case the Kamakura bakufu) (Ezo War).

The clan was hunted down by the bakufu in 1326, but in 1328 it was reconciled. There is an observation that this was a conflict concerning the peace policy after the war between the Ainu and Yuan that took place in 1264 and ended in 1308.

It is supposed that, the Ando clan's territory during the late Kamakura period to the period of the Northern and Southern Courts consisted of the major part of the coastal regions except for the vicinity of current Hachinohe, Aomori Prefecture, according to the documents such as a letter of concession by Munenori ANDO (the widely-accepted theory is that it was the same person as the above mentioned Suehisa) and Akiie KITABATAKE's certificate for the land directed to Morosue ANDO, in which it is mentioned that the clan was in charge of Jitoondaikan (deputy military governor) in Kinuka-jima, Shirihiki-go and Ikunobe-go, Ezo no sata of Hanawa County, Mutsu Province and in Usori-go, Nakahama-mimaki and Minato Tsugaru-nishihama of Nukabe County, Mutsu Province, and others.

Among the territories, the ownership of which was authorized by the above mentioned documents, does not include either Tosaminato or Fujisaki-cho, which was the clan's place of origin according to the genealogy, however, there are several interpretations on the names of these documents, for example, 'Minato' means Tosaminato, Tosaminato is included in 'Ezonosata' or included in 'Tsugaru-nishihama' (in the latter, Minato [harbor] is interpreted as Ohata-gyoko [fishery harbor]), etc. However, there is an opinion that the Ando clan's advance to Tosaminato itself might have taken place later. Also there are many theories about Fujisaki, and its detail is not well known.

On the other hand, there is an assumption that as the Oga Peninsula of Dewa Province became the Hojo clan's territory after the Tachibana clan lost its control over the peninsula in the mid-Kamakura period, the Ando clan took the position of jitodai (provisional jito) of the territory, and supposes the existence of a branch Ando family, other than the head family, which had an extensive influence over the marine area.

In addition, a public organization in Aomori Prefecture once tried to make use of the remarkable history of the Ando clan for a project to promote the economic development of the area, based on an apocrypha "Tsugaru Sangun-shi" (The history of the three countries in Tsugaru region). However, at present, the following view is established and even a report issued by the Agency of Education of Aomori Prefecture cited; '"Tsugaru Sangun-shi," which was used for a while as a reference in public reports or academic articles, is concluded to be a falsified document.' and thus this document is commonly recognized as an apocryphal book.

Separation into two families

Although the detailed background is unknown, it is supposed that in Muromachi period the clan was divided into two families, Shimonokuni (lower province) family and Kaminokuni (upper province) family and they were opposed to each other. The Kaminokuni family ruled Ogashima in Dewa Province (present Oga City, Akita Prefecture) and Tsuchizaki Port (present Akita City, Akita Prefecture), and later it came to control the whole Akita Country and called its residence Akita-jo Castle.

On the other hand, the Shimonokuni family, which ruled Tsugaru Province, was forced out by the Nanbu clan, which was proceeding from the eastern area, to expand its influence. Although the family, which once escaped to Ezogashima Islands, recovered the territory by the arbitration of the Muromachi bakufu, it had to withdraw again to Ezo, and afterwards, the family went down to Dewa Province and finally occupied the west half of the farthest northern area of Dewa Province to the southern area of Ezo, with its headquarters in Hiyama Country (Dewa Province) (present Noshiro City, Akita Prefecture). Based on the excavation carried out recent years at the site of Tosaminato, Tosaminato is supposed to have been most prosperous from the mid-14th century to the early 15th century, and this observation is consistent with the historical references.

It is also supposed that the Shimonokuni family and the Kaminokuni family were each in charge of Ezo kanrei in the northern border with Mutsu Province and the northern border with Dewa Province, respectively. From around this time, their surname 'Ando' came to be written frequently as '安東,' rather than '安藤,' however, the reason is not known.

In addition, according to an observation, both Ando families were positioned in the family rank entitled yakata (an honorific title) within the Muromachi bakufu's daimyo (feudal lords) policy in Ou Province, as being used in order to maintain the feudal order of the region.

Shimonokuni family

It is known that the time before the provincial capital relocation to the south in Dewa Province, Yasusue ANDO reconstructed the Haga-ji Temple in Wakasa Province, and he proclaimed himself Oshu Tosaminato Hinomoto Shogun (general of Tosaminato, Oshu Province, Japan), and the emperor also permitted him to use the denomination. However, the pedigree of the Shimonokuni family before the time of Morisue varies depending on the various family trees, and as some of the names that appear in some family trees do not concord with the names that appear in the first class historical materials, the credibility of these genealogical records is questioned and the reality is still under study. The authenticity of the genealogical record after Morisue ANDO seems almost certain, although there are various theories about the years of birth and death of these family members.

Masasue ANDO was originally from a branch family, Shiokata Ando family, but he came to be a captive of the Nanbu clan around the time when the Shimonokuni family had to withdrew from Ezogashima Islands, and soon he was enfeoffed Tanabe (Mutsu City), the Nanbu Navy's home base, and called himself 'Andota.'
According to one theory, the Nanbu clan used Masasue as a puppet player, to control the Ando line families settled in a wide range of the northern maritime area, and this policy contributed to the stabilization of the northern maritime area and the penetration of the bakufu's influence into this area, and from this point, the Shimonokuni family was discontinued and the Hiyama Ando clan emerged from Masasue ANDO of Shiokata, in return.

However, Masasue, who came to oppose the Nanbu clan, lost in the battle and withdrew to Ezogashima. According to "Shinra no Kiroku," Masasue then set up the post of Sanshugoshoku as daikan (local governor) to carry out decentralized control (Dokan Juni Tate [12 castles of the Oshima Peninsula]), however, according to another observation, Iemasa ANDO or Sadasue ANDO practically controlled alone as Shugo.

From the generation of Masasue ANDO, the Shimonokuni family, settled in Hiyama Country of Dewa Province (Dewa Province), an adjoining area of Tsugaru, was keen to return to the Tsugaru region, but the family could not realize this wish. In 1456, Masasue ANDO and his son Tadasue defeated Hidekiyo KASAI who was ruling 'Kahokusenmachi' (河北千町), and set up their home base there. The site of the Hiyama Ando clan's castle, is which Masasue began constructing and Tadasue completed the restoration in 1495. After that, the castle was used by Hirosue ANDO, Kiyosue ANDO, Chikasue ANDO, Sanesuke AKITA as the headquarters of the Hiyama Ando clan of Shimonokuni family during five generations, and it seems that the clan extended its influence toward Hinai as well as Ani in Mutsu Province, using the castle as its stronghold. It is supposed that from this point, Hinai and Ani came to be treated as a part of Dewa Province.

The Ando clan as from Tadasue's generation, was engaged in the management of Ezogashima under the name of Hiyama Yakata, while constructing the Hiyama-jo Castle and temples. However, Ezogashima began to leave from the Ando clan's control, and as a result, in the earlier Sengoku Period the clan degraded practically to a mere local ruling lord in the northern Dewa Province, as particularly the clan had to echo the fact that the Kakizaki clan, who had been the hikan in Ezo, proclaimed its position of Matsumae shugo (military governor of Matsumae) as well as Kaminokuni shugo.

However, Shimonokuni family still did not give up the attempt to continue controlling where was once its sphere of influence, and tried to display the controlling range from the northern Mutsu Province to Ezo, by proclaiming itself Tokai Shogun (general of Tokai) within and outside the territory (About this, there are some contradictions). Kiyosue especially, demonstrated a certain presence over Ezo, by visiting Ezo region to mediate the peace accord between the Kakizaki clan and the Ainu. On the other hand, there is a theory that the family assigned the Sekido clan as daikan (local governor) of Obama City, where was a maritime trade hub in the Japan Sea at that time, and extended the space of its activities even beyond the northern Japan Sea.

Kaminokuni family and Minato family

The studies on the origin of the Kaminokuni family so far had been made based on the articles documented with the genealogical record, in which Kanosue ANDO was the first person who entered Minato in Dewa Province. However, the following theories were recently presented based on the historical materials on the establishment of the period of the Northern and Southern Courts. The theory to point out the possibility that the Ando family had been already settled in Akita Country before the supposed time of the Minato family's establishment, based on such findings; the family's history can be dated back even earlier period than the time of Magogoro ANDO and Andota, both of whom are confirmed as the territorial lords of the Oga Peninsula, and also earlier than the time of the legendary Kanosue's Nansen (provincial capital's relocation to the south), about which Jakuzo, Tadasue ABE, Joso ABE, etc. described in the copy of Jisha shuzo munefuda (ridge tag with history of the reparation and construction of temples and shrines) compiled in 'Ichikawa Minato Monjo' (The letter of Ichikawa Minato), and that there is an oral tradition in which a family called the Onagawa family was the territorial lord of the Oga Peninsula before the Minato family. And, the theory to regard Suenaga as the ancestor of the Kaminokuni family, who was discarded to be the heir of the family because of the Ezo War in the late Kamakura period. There is also another theory that supports the genealogy in which Kanosue was recorded as Munesue's son.

Based on the historical materials, the following facts were confirmed; the Kaminokuni family usually used the name of Minato family, and at latest in the Tenmon era, the family was raised to Kyoto fuchishu (warriors from Kanto or Tohoku region in the Muromachi Period, who served Seii taishogun in Kyoto under a direct master-servant relationship), and that, the family had a certain connection with the central government as associating with Hongan-ji Temple and the Hosokawa clan, and the family proclaimed itself 'Saemon no suke' (assistant captain of the Left Division of Outer Palace Guards) for generations. However, the materials reliant enough to confirm the details are limited, thus it is difficult to develop further studies. For the pedigree also, although the handed-down genealogy roughly concord with the historical materials kept by the Nanbu clan, it does not concord with the years estimated based on the description of the above mentioned copy of Shaji shuzo munefuda, thus, including that of the Onagawa family, further research has been expected for the actual state.

Integration of the two families

In the latter Sengoku Period (Japan), as the existence of the Minato Ando clan of Kaminokuni family was threatened by the lack of the heir, Chikasue ANDO of the Hiyama Shimonokuni family succeeded to the reign of the Minato family also, and integrated the two Ando families, although the detail is unkown. Chikasue, who was associated with Nobunaga ODA, defeated the opposition powers within the territory including Katsuyori ASARI, and swept out the intervention of Daihoji clan from Yuri region. The Ando clan finally succeeded to become a Sangoku daimyo in the late Sengoku Period, ruling over Akita County to Hiyama County (Dewa Province), Kawabe County, and Yuri County. In addition, in 1589 the clan moved its home castle from Hiyama to Minato and proclaimed itself Akitajo no suke (provincial governor of Akita-jo Castle in Dewa Province).

The Ando clan changed its surname to the Akita clan when Chikasue was in his late life, and in the generation of Sanesue AKITA, the clan suppressed the battle in Minato. During the era of Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI, it survived as the daimyo of Akita Domain in Dewa Province with a stipend of 52,404 koku crop yield (in addition, as daikan of the directly controlled land by Hideyoshi, it received a stipend of 26,245 koku crop yield), and took charge of supplying cedar panels for the construction of the Fushimi-jo Castle as well as in the Bunroku-Keicho War.

Akita clan as daimyo in the modern ages

After the Battle of Sekigahara, in 1602, the clan was transferred to the Hitachi-Shishido Domain in Hitachi Province (present Kasama City, Ibaraki Prefecture) with a stipend of 50,000 koku crop yield, and furthermore, in 1645 it was transferred to the Miharu Domain in Mutsu Province (present Miharu-cho, Fukushima Prefecture) with 55,000 koku. Shortly after that, it became the lord of the Miharu Domain of 50,000 koku, after having shared a stipend of 5,000 koku to its branch families, and survived all through the Edo period as a daimyo, and in the Meiji Restoration, it became as a member of the peerage and conferred the title of viscount.