Ogasawara Clan (小笠原氏)

The Ogasawara clan is one of the Japanese clans. The clan which is descended from Kawachi-Genji line of Seiwa-Genji (Minamoto clan), is also famous for handing down yusoku kojitsu (studies in ancient court and military practices and usages) of samurai families.

Origin and summary

The clan name 'Ogasawara' derives from a place name in Koma County of Kai Province and it seems that the residence was located in presently Hokuto City, Yamanashi Prefecture (former Akeno-mura, Kitakoma County) where Ogasawara Maki and Yama Ogasawara no sho were and presently Minami Arupusu City, Yamanashi Prefecture (former Kushigata-machi, Nakakoma County) where Hara Ogasawara sho was.

While the Takeda clan was the main branch of Kai-Genji (Minamoto clan), the Ogasawara clan of the Kagami clan line was a branch family, however it was never inferior to the Takeda clan considering the social status and influence and still a major clan having territories and family throughout the country. Since the Muromachi period, because it passed the family tradition down as a key player of yusoku kojitsu in the samurai society, its ceremonies and military arts treated preferentially by bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun) of the period. This is the origin of Ogasawara school known today. Ogasawara school which includes Green tea ceremony, art of warfare and others has various origins of those.

In tea ceremony of powdered green tea, in the Edo period, it preserved Sohen school with Sohen YAMADA who was called one of the big four and was a leading disciple of SEN no Sotan, SEN no Rikyu the 3rd, and also established the old school of tea ceremony of the Ogasawara family with a descendant of Choin FURUICHI who was called the best pupil of Juko MURATA.

Since the Kamakura period, it transferred its home to Shinano Province and was assigned to serve as Shinano shugo (the Governor of Shinano Province) by the bakufu in the Muromachi period. The main branch split into two in Shinano and Kyoto, and the branch lines spread within Shinano Province as well as to Awa Province, Bizen Province, Bichu Province, Iwami Province, Mikawa Province, Totomi Province and Mutsu Province. In the Sengoku period (period of Warring States), the head family of Ogasawara clan was taken its territory and ruined by the Takeda clan, but in the Azuchi-Momoyama period it was restored and in the Edo period it became a fudai daimyo (a daimyo in hereditary vassal to the Tokugawa family).

In the Kamakura period

The ancestor of Ogasawara clan, Nagakiyo OGASAWARA was born in Kai Province as the second son of Tomitsu KAGAMI who served as an Imperial Palace Guard to Emperor Takakura. Nagakiyo who appears as 'Kojiro Nagakiyo KAGAMI' in "Heike Monogatari" (The Tale of the Heike), called himself Ogasawara clan after he inherited the territory of Tomitsu in Ogasawara of Kai Province. In addition, the ancestor of the Nanbu clan, Mitsuyuki NANBU was a brother of Nagakiyo. In 1185, the year of the fall of Ise-Heishi (Taira clan) at the Battle of Dan no ura, Tomitsu was assigned to serve as Shinano no kami (governor of Shinano Province) by MINAMOTO no Yoritomo who made Shinano Province as proprietary province, then Nagakiyo succeeded the area and the Ogasawara clan settled in Shinano. The family crest of the Ogasawara clan, Sangaibishi (three rhombus) was originally that of the Kagami clan (presently only the temple associated with Tomitsu, uses the original crest which has the letter '王' in the Sangaibishi).

In addition, some of the descendents of Nagakiyo who settled in Awa where the Ogasawara clan became the shugo, became the Awa-Ogasawara clan. Also some of the Awa-Ogasawara clan received territory in Iwami due to the distinguished war service at Mongol invasion attempts against Japan, and became the Iwami-Ogasawara clan.

The Shinano-Ogasawara clan

n the period of the Northern and Southern Courts (Japan), the Shinano Ogasawara clan belonging to the Northern Court (Japan) defeated Imperial Prince Muneyoshi of the Southern Court (Japan) at the Battle of Kikyogahara and drove out in Yoshino, by which the clan played active role as hokoshu (the shogunal military guard) and Shinano shugo in the Muromachi period, however, because of out-of-control powerful local lords (kokujin) such as the Murakami clan and the Suwa clan, Nagahide OGASAWARA was defeated at the Battle of Oto and therefore the position of shugoshiki (provincial constable) was superseded by the Uesugi clan and the Shiba clan, and it couldn't lay out a strong controlling system. Also while there were constant conflicts inside the Ogasawara clan, Masayasu OGASAWARA (a younger brother of Nagahide) of the Shinano-Ogasawara clan, who had support from bakufu, almost established control temporally at one time, but in 1441 after Shogun Yoshinori ASHIKAGA was murdered at Kakitsu War and Masayasu who lost the support died, the Shinano-Ogasawara clan had an internal conflict again among a three party - a son of Nagahide, Mochinaga OGASAWARA (Fuchu family) and a son of Masayasu, Muneyasu OGASAWARA and Mitsuyasu OGASAWARA (Matsuo family) - and furthermore the Matsuo family had a conflict splitting into three including the line of Muneyasu (Suzuoka family) and the line of Mitsuyasu (Matsuo family).

The Kyoto-Ogasawara clan

The Ogasawara clan has a line of Sadanaga OGASAWARA, a younger brother of Sadamune OGASAWARA of the head family. It is said that Sadanaga died on the battle with Yoshisada NITTA and the son Nagataka OGASAWARA who lived in Kyoto was the master of Kyuba (archery and equestrianism) of Takauji ASHIKAGA, but it is doubtful whether it is historical fact. After that he served bakufu as hokoshu. The line of Sadanaga which lived in Kyoto is called the Kyoto-Ogasawara clan, while the line of his older brother Sadamune is called the Shinano-Ogasawara clan.

The Kyoto-Ogasawara clan played an important role as powerful military commander close to shogun and participated in ceremonies of bakufu such as Mato-hajime (first shoot in beginning of year), since the beginning of bakufu. In the period of the sixth shogun Yoshinori ASHIKAGA, it established the position of 'the master of kyuba' of the shogun family and often managed the official ceremonies of bakufu such as Mato-hajime and Uma-hajime (first horse riding in beginning of year) as the key player of yusoku kojitsu of samurai families around that time. Because of those, it was distinguished from ordinary banshu (guards) though it was hokoshu, and in Shosatsurei (Remarks on the Concept of Epistolary Etiquette) it was written 'it is natural that I humbly write about Mr. Ogasawara with appreciation while they are serving as the position of the master of kyuba' ("Odachijoko shosatsusho").

There had been some theories that the Shinano-Ogasawara clan served as the master of kyuba of the shogun family, Sadamune served as the master of Emperor Godaigo and Nagataka served as the master of Takauji ASHIKAGA, but those are sophistries without any evidence of historical materials. Actually it was in the period of Yoshinori ASHIKAGA that the Ogasawara clan gained the position of the master of kyuba of the shogun family and furthermore it was not the Shinano-Ogasawara clan, but the Kyoto-Ogasawara clan. It was in the period of Nagatoki OGASAWARA and his son Sadayoshi that the Shinano OGAWARA clan was involved in Buke-kojitsu (Regulations governing the customs of the buke class).

Other families from the Ogasawara clan

It is said that the Ogasawara clan in Awa belonged to the Southern Court in the period of the Northern and Southern Courts and many of the descendants became local clans serving the Hosokawa clan, the shugo of Awa in the Muromachi period. The representatives are the Miyoshi clan, the Ichinomiya clan, the Onishi clan, the Atagi clan and others (however, there are various theories as to each place of origin of them).

The Atobe clan which temporally had effective control of Kai in the confusion of the Takeda clan is considered as a family of the Ogasawara clan.

In the period of the Northern and Southern Courts, many families of the Shinano-Ogasawara clan belonged to the Northern Court, but there were some people belonging to the Southern Court such as Jujiro OGASAWARA, the fourth son of Sadamune OGASAWARA, who is said to be the one who constructed Haba-jo Castle.

The Shinano-Ogasawara clan

The Shinano-Ogasawara clan was the line of Mochinaga OGASAWARA which was divided into three – the main line, Fuchu-Ogasawara clan (Fukashi-Ogasawara clan) and Suzuoka-Ogasawara clan in Suzuoka-jo Castle which is the line of Muneyasu OGASAWARA and Matsuo-Ogasawara clan (Ina-Ogasawara clan) in Matsuo-jo Castle (Ina County of the Shinano Province) which is the line of Mitsuyasu OGASAWARA. At the beginning, Masahide OGASAWARA (a son of Muneyasu) of the Suzuoka-Ogasawara clan had a advantage, but after Masahide was murdered and the Suzuoka-Ogasawara clan went to ruin, there was a conflict between the Fuchu-Ogasawara clan and the Matsuo-Ogasawara clan, and after all, Nagamune OGASAWARA (a great-great-grandson of Machinaga) of the Fuchu-Ogasawara clan defeated the Matsuo-Ogasawara clan and unified the family, building the height of the Ogasawara clan. However, in the period of Nagatoki, the eldest son of Nagamune, it was defeated by Shingen TAKEDA from Kai who was aiming to territorialize Shinano, at the Battle of Shiojiritoge, and Nagatoki was exiled from Shinano and the Fuchu-Ogasawara clan went to ruin. Later, Sadayoshi, the third son of Nagatoki, served Ieyasu Tokugawa and regained the former territory after the fall of the Takada clan. In 1590, Hidemasa OGASAWARA, the eldest son of Sadayoshi was given 30,000 koku of the domain of Koga in the Province of Shimousa (presently Koga City, Ibaraki Prefecture) and belonged to the eastern army at the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600 and was relocated to Shinano-Iida Domain in Shinano Province gaining additional 50,000 koku in 1601.

The Kyoto-Ogasawara clan

The main line of Kyoto-Ogasawara clan continued as Shogun's retainer, however, after Tanemori OGASAWARA died at Eiroku Incident in 1565, his son Hidekiyo (Shosai) OGASAWARA became a masterless samurai, but later he served the Hosokawa clan (the future Hosokawa clan of Kumamoto Domain). At the Battle of Sekigahara, Hidekiyo supported suicide of Gracia HOSOKAWA and committed suicide following her, and the descendants of Hidekiyo served as chief retainer of Kumamoto Domain in the Edo period. Also Mototsugu OGASAWARA from a branch line left bakufu after the death of Shogun Yoshizumi ASHIKAGA and turned to his relatives, the Gohojo clan. A son of Mototsugu, Yasuhiro OGASAWARA became an adopted son-in-law of Ujiyasu HOJO. After the main line of the Gohojo clan went to ruin at the Siege of Odawara, the son of Yasuhiro, Nagafusa OGASAWARA (hatamoto [direct retainer of the bakufu]) became a vassal of Ieyasu TOKUGAWA and his descendants continued as hatamoto and its successive heads in the Edo period served as officials of Nuidono-ryo (Bureau of the Wardrobe and Court Ladies).

Other Ogasawara families

A family (probably, the older brother of Nagamune OGASAWARA, Nagataka OGASAWARA) from the Fuchu-Ogasawara clan, fled the internal conflict of Ogasawara clan and served the Imagawa clan and became the Totomi-Ogasawara clan (Takatenjin-Ogasawara clan).

The Matsuo-Ogasawara clan which was defeated by the Fuchu-Ogasawara clan served the Takeda clan and after fall of Takeda clan, it served the Tokugawa clan.

As for the Miyoshi clan, the descendant of the Awa-Ogasawara clan and others, refer to topics of each clan.

After the Iwami-Ogasawara clan moved between the Ouchi clan and the Amago clan, it served the Mori clan.

It is said that in 1593 Sadayori OGASAWARA made an expedition toward south by order of Ieyasu TOKUGAWA and found Ogasawara Islands (Bonin Islands). However, in the genealogical table of Ogasawara clan, he doesn't exist.

Among the vassals of the Oura clan (called Oura Sanro [three vassals]), there was a person named OGASAWARA no Nobukiyo. There are two theories; one is that Nobukiyo was one of the Ogasawara clan and the other is that Nobukiyo had nothing to do with the clan.

The Naraoka clan in Dewa Province was a branch line of the Ogasawara clan and vassal of the Tozawa clan.

The Shinano-Ogasawara clan

In the Edo period, the five families of the Ogasawara clan became fudai daimyo (a daimyo in hereditary vassal to the Tokugawa family). From the Fuchu-Ogasawara clan, Hidemasa OGASAWARA married to a daughter of Nobuyasu MATSUDAIRA, Tokuhime (Princess Toku) and became an influential fudai daimyo. After Koga of Shimousa Province and Iida of Shinano Province, Hidemasa was relocated to his ancestral land, Matsumoto Domain, Shinano Province (presently Matsumoto City, Nagano Prefecture) holding 80,000 koku. Hidemasa and his eldest son, Tadanaga OGASAWARA died at Osaka Natsu no Jin (Summer Siege of Osaka) of the Siege of Osaka and because the eldest son of Tadanaga, Nagatsugu OGASAWARA was still a child, the second son of Hidemasa, Tadazane OGASAWARA took over the position as head of the family. Tadazana was relocated to the Akashi Domain, Harima Province (presently Akashi City, Hyogo Prefecture) holding 100,000 koku in 1617 and in 1632 he was relocated to the Kokura Domain, Buzen Province (presently Kitakyushu City, Fukuoka Prefecture) holding 150,000 koku. At the same time, the third son of Hidemasa, Tadatomo OGASAWARA was given Kitsuki Domain, Bungo Province (presently Kitsuki City, Oita Prefecture) holding 40,000 koku and the eldest son of Tadanaga, Nagatsugu was given Nakatsu Domain, Buzen Province (presently Nakatsu City, Oita Prefecture) holding 80,000 koku. Also in 1671, the fourth son of Tadazana, Sanekata OGASAWARA was given 10,000 koku by his older brother, Tadataka OGASAWARA and founded the Kokuranitta Domain (the Senzoku Domain).

Tadazane stayed the position as the lord of the Kokura Domain until the end of Edo period and the line of Tadatomo which was relocated to some places, was finally relocated to the Karatsu Domain, Hizen Province (presently Karatsu City, Saga Prefecture) holding 60,000 koku and the line of Nagatsugu was finally relocated to the Anji Domain, Harima Province (presently Himeji City, Hyogo Prefecture) holding 10,000 koku as the result of change of rank due to misrule and extinction of the family line. The successive family heads of the line of Nagatsugu were called themselves Shinano no kami (governor of Shinano Province) associated with the Ogasawara clan.

From the Matsu-Ogasawara clan, Nobuyuki OGASAWARA became a daimyo and this line was relocated to Echizan-Katsuyama Domain, Echizen Province (presently Katsuyama City, Fukui Prefecture) holding 22,000 koku after Honjo, Koga, Sekiyado and Takasu. "The Book of Ogasawara," the documents which were handed down by the Ogasawara clan of the military governor of Shinano Province, came down to that family line.

In the Meiji period, the family of lord of the Kokura Domain was raised to Count and the branch families of lords of Karatsu, Anji, Senzoku Domains as well as the family of lord of Katsuyama Domain were raised to viscounts.

The Kyoto-Ogasawara clan

The descendants of Nagafusa OGASAWARA who became hatamoto, gained Karoku (hereditary stipend) of more than 780 koku and are called Nuidono no suke family as many of those family head were called themselves Nuidono no suke. A great-grandchild of Nagafusa, Mochihiro OGASAWARA showed 91 books of its biography and a Yugake (grove) of Yoritomo MINAMOTO to Imperial family by order of Shogun Yoshimune TOKUGAWA in 1716.
It was because Yoshimune was examining records of each family for revival of old style kyuba such as jarai (shooting) and inuoumono (dog-hunting event, a skill of an archery) and Mochihiro was given words 'those books are rare in the world and to be stashed away for many years.'
Later Yoshimune have his valets learned jarai as disciples of Mochihiro. Mochihiro waited upon at ceremonies of yuba hajime (Mato-hajime [first shoot in beginning of year]) and showed Komato (the target board which is used for shooting an arrow and whose diameter is under 36.4 centimeters), Kusajishi (the target board which has a shape of a deer for shooting an arrow), Nori-yumi (betting on a shooting), Marumono (the round target board for shooting an arrow), Momotemato (to shoot 2 arrows 100 time) to the Emperor.

His descendants served as the same role and Shojiro OGASAWARA served as teacher of archery at Kobusho (a military training institute) at the end of Edo period, but the family ended in the period of the Restoration. That is to say, the family line which had handed down the techniques longest since the Ashikaga shogunate didn't last and OGASAWARA Heibei family (former Akazawa clan) of direct retainers which was Nuidono no suke family as well as lecturer family of the Tokugawa shogunate, is the present head family of the Ogasawara school (Ogasawara Kyojo [Ogasawara training hall] of Japanese horse-back archery technique).