The Higashibojo Family (東坊城家)

The Higashibojo Family, one of the houses of Dojo, was established by Shigenaga HIGASHIBOJO (Court Rank, Councillor, Department of Etiquette and Ceremonies, 1284-1343) who was the second son of Nagatsune GOJO (Senior Second Rank, Councillor, Department of Justice, 1242-1315).


The family was ranked as "Hanke," a type of family status in the Court nobility
The family provided a Professor of Literature, Directors of the Bureau of Education, Shonagon (lesser councilor of state), and a Director of Department of Treasury from the era of Masunaga HIGASHIBOJO (1407-1474) and thereafter in the Muromachi period, the top rank attained being Junior Chief Councillor of State.

The house business was "Kidendo," the study of the histories, and the family provided Imperial tutors for generations. When the era name was changed, many successive heads of the family, who had acquired a reputation for the study of the Chinese classics, became presenters of "Nengo-kanmon," an opinion paper in which possible era names and the source of these names were discussed.

From the viewpoint of the Takatsuji family, Higashibojo family should be treated as an illegitimate lineage. However, the Higashibojo family succeeded in providing many "Naishi no jo" (Chief Court Ladies) and the head of all the Higashibojo families as well. Furthermore, Tokinaga HIGASHIBOJO (Senior Second Rank, Junior Chief Councillor of State, 1799-1861) was appointed the Imperial official in charge of communication between the shogunate and the court in the closing days of the Tokugawa shogunate.

Partly because of this record, the hereditary stipend in the Edo period was 300 koku, the best among the houses of Dojo descended from the Sugawara clan.

The Meiji period and beyond

From the Meiji period onwards, the family held the title of viscount. Yoshinaga HIGASHIBOJO, a son of Tadanaga HIGASHIBOJO who was the Director of the Bureau of Education, a Viscount, and a member of the House of Lords, had a daughter, Takako IRIE (born Hideko HIGASHIBOJO, the eldest daughter) who was a prewar movie actress establishing a production company "Irie Production" at the age of 20, and a son, Yasunaga HIGASHIBOJO (the third son) who was a movie actor, a scriptwriter, and a movie director working actively for the Nikkatsu Studio in the prewar period.

Yoshinaga was also the grandfather of IRIE's eldest daughter, Wakaba IRIE (born Wakaba TAMURA, fathered by Michiyoshi TAMURA a former actor), who became known appearing in movies produced by the Toei Movie Studios and later in work by Nobuhiko OBAYASHI..

Yoshinaga retired in 1911, and his eldest son, Masanaga HIGASHIBOJO, succeeded to the title and the court rank, but in 1923 a year after Yoshinaga's death in 1922, the family's residence in Tokyo was half-destroyed in the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 and the Higashibojo family found itself in the unfortunate position of having to relinquish its estate. The next successor to the title and the court rank was Motonaga.

The family's residence was originally located in "Nishiin-san-cho" (Kamigyo Ward, Kyoto City), and the family temple (the family tomb) was the Jofuku-ji Temple. In the postwar period, Hideko (Takako IRIE), Yoshinaga's eldest daughter, set up a stupa with the name of Higashibojo in the Tama Cemetery in 1962. This was three years after she had stopped being an actress and opened a bar in Ginza, Tokyo.