The Ishibashi Clan (石橋氏)

The Ishibashi clan is the name of a samurai family in Japan.

The clan derived from Ishibashi-mura villages in various Provinces including Kai, Mino, Shimotsuke, Mikawa, Owari, Sagami, Musashi, Hitachi. The Ishibashi clan of Genji (the Minamoto clan) is the most famous. Today, many of the descendents live in Chiba, Shimane and Fukuoka Prefectures.

The Takeda clan line of Seiwa Genji (Minamoto clan originated from the Emperor Seiwa): Originated in Ishibashi-mura Village, Koisawasuji, Yatsushiro County, Kai Province
-> Ishibashi clan (Kai Province)

The Ashikaga clan of Seiwa Genji: To be explained below.

MINAMOTO no Yoshitsuna line of Seiwa-Genji: Originated in Ishibashi, Mino Province. Originated from MINAMOTO no Yoshinaka, Yoshitsuna's son.
-> The Ishibashi clan (Mino Province)
Originated from MINAMOTO no Yoshinao, Yoshitsuna's seventh son.
-> The Ishibashi clan (Kawachi Province)

The Sasaki clan line of Uda-Genji (Minamoto clan originated from Emperor Uda): Originated from Sadanori ISHIBASHI, a son of Sadatoki MANO.
-> The Ishibashi clan (Sasaki clan)

The Origin of the Family Name

Assuming that the name Ishibashi is derived from the name of a place, some writings including "Seishi Kakei Daijiten" (a large dictionary of Japanese surnames) state that Kazuyoshi (or Masayoshi) Ishibashi adopted his surname from a place called Ishibashi, Shimotsuke Province, but the origin of the name Ishibashi is unclear because there are many places called Ishibashi; in addition to Ishibashi in Shitara County in Mikawa Province, the Ashikaga clan's territory in the Kamakura period, or another Ishibashi in Kyoto, there are the places which were named after a stone bridge (Ishibashi literally means 'Stone Bridge') throughout Japan. It is possible that the clan, which was promoted to Tadayoshi ASHIKAGA's shukuro (chief vassal) and hyojoshu (members of council of state), needed a name as a clan.

The Ashikaga clan of the Minamoto family

Yoshitoshi ASHIKAGA, a son of Ieuji ASHIKAGA who was the illegitimate eldest son of Yasuuji ASHIKAGA, inherited Hirosawa-go, Kozuke Province and changed his name to Yoshitoshi HIROSAWA. His son moved to Yoshida-go, Mikawa Province and gave his name as Yoshihiro YOSHIDA. Yoshihiro's son gave his name as Kazuyoshi ISHIBASHI. Kazuyoshi followed Takauji ASHIKAGA with Takatsune SHIBA of head family of the Ishibashi family and when Takauji escaped to Saigoku (western part of Japan), he was appointed as a guard of the Mitsuishi-jo Castle of the Bizen Province. He was credited with protecting the castle against Yoshisuke WAKIYA. This success led him to serve as Shugo (a military governor) of Hoki, Bingo, and Wakasa Provinces as well as hold some main posts of the Muromachi Shogunate such as Kanto-bugyo (a commissioner of the appointment to an office), Hikitsuke tonin (chairman of the court of justice) and hyojosho (a member of the Council of State). However, in 1363, he had an argument with his second cousin Takatsune SHIBA and lost all his posts.

Kazuyoshi was the first clan member to be appointed as Shugo by the Ashikaga government, but one year service was not long enough to vassalize local lords, which fact partly resulted in his rapid decline.

In 1366, after Takatsune SHIBA's downfall, Seii Taishogun (literally, "great general who subdues the barbarians") Yoshiakira ASHIKAGA ordered Muneyoshi ISHIBASHI, Kazuyoshi's son, to cooperate with the Oshu governor Tadamochi SHIBA and Sadatsune KIRA to search out and kill Haruie KIRA. Even after Haruie's fall, Muneyoshi, as a military commander, settled in the area. His father Kazuyoshi also moved to Oshu and helped Muneyoshi's governance. He issued so many letters of ando (certificate for land ownership), which outnumbered those issued by the Oshu governor Kiamichi SHEBA. However, nobody had heard anything about him since 1386.

According to the legend of Shionomatsu, the Utsunomiya clan, dispatched by Ujimitsu ASHIKAGA, Kamakura kubo (Governor-general of the Kamakura region) who placed Ou under his jurisdiction, entered Shionomatsu in 1392, but rebellious Akimochi OSAKI, Oshu Tandai (supervisor for the civil government and military affairs in Oshu), in cooperation with Mitsunobu KASAI, searched out and killed the Utsunomiya clan in 1400. The Osaki clan which defeated the Utsunomiya clan dispatched Mochiyoshi OSAKI, Akimochi's uncle, to Shionomatsu as Mochiyoshi SHIONOMATSU. A few years later (or a few decades later according to some people), Mochiyoshi died and Mitsuhiro ISHIBASHI (Muneyoshi's son) who belonged to Mochiyoshi's family reportedly entered Shionomatsu as Mochiyoshi's son-in-law.

After that, in the Shocho and Eikyo eras, a direct descendant called 'Saemon-no-suke-nyudo ISHIBASHI' was living in Kyoto, while, as "Mansai Jugo Nikki" (Mansai's diary) states '奥篠河殿、並伊達蘆名白河懸田川俣塩松石橋也' (Lord Sasagawa and Date, Ashina, Shirakawa, Kakeda, Kawamata, Shionomatsu, Ishibashi), a branch family of the Ishibashi clan surnamed Shionomatsu was living in eastern Adachi County. In addition to the Kira and Shibukawa clans, the Ishibahshi clan was also recognized as a family of pedigree of the Ashikaga family in the Muromachi period, but there was no future for the clan as Shugo Daimyo (shugo, which were Japanese provincial military governors, that became daimyo, which were Japanese feudal lords).

In the Sengoku Period (period of warring states), having the territories in Hitokubota and Yoshino, Kando County, Izumo Province as well as in Otakitago, Ano County, Iwami Province, Genzaemon no jo ISHIBASHI and Shinzaemon no jo ISHIBASHI, possibly of the Ishibashi clan, both of whom became the influential retainers of the Sawa clan, a local lord, and were appointed as head of merchants of Unshu (= Izumo County), emerged from the Shimane Ishibashi clan.

According to the "Ishibashi Clan Family Tree" handed down to Dr 石橋正良 of Yame City, Fukuoka Prefecture, the Ishibashi clan in the Yame region started when Uemon-morikiyo ISHIBASHI (died in 1601), a senior vassal of the lord of the Shimoda-jo Castle of the Chikugo Province 堤貞元 who was a Seiwa Genji-lined samurai from Hizen Province and a family member of the Otomo clan of the Bungo Province, settled in Hoshino-mura village, Ikuha County, Chikugo Province in a certain point of the Tensho era (1573 - 1593). Sakuemon Norikiyo, the third generation of Morikiyo started medical practice during the Kanei era (1624 - 1643) and since then, with the new branch families established, the Ishibashi became successful as a doctor family. Lawyer Ningetsu ISHIBASHI, a high-profile literary critic of the Meiji period, who had the 'Maihime dispute' against Ogai MORI was a descendant of this clan.

The Ishibashi-Shionomatsu Clan

As Kyoto-fuchishu (a corps of special support troops in Kyoto), the Ishibashi Shionomatsu clan was opposed to the ruling of the Oshu region by the Kamakura-fu (Kamakura government)
Because Mitsunao ASHIKAGA, head of Sasagawa Gosho (an administrative organization for governing Tohoku regions settled by the Kamakura bakufu in the Muromachi Period) was supporting the Kyoto side, the Shionomatsu clan acted as the liaison with Kyoto and arranged accommodation for envoys from the Shorgunate. There was a theory that, in 1440, just after the downfall of the Kamakura government in the Eikyo War, Mitsunao ASHIKAGA (nicknamed Sasagawa Gosho) was attacked and killed by Mitsuyasu HATAKEYAMA, Mochishige HATAKEYAMA, Sakon no shogen ISHIBASHI, 石橋祐義, Morinobu ASHINA and Toshimasa TAMURA, etc, but questions remain about the Ishibashi clan's involvement (in fact, it is said that the Ishikawa clan killed Sasagawa Gosho). It is possible that the Shionomatsu clan chose to live as a local lord after the demise of Sasagawa Gosho. Because what happened to the clan at that time was not written in the "Amarume shi Kyuki" (Old Record by the Amarume Clan) which had many details of local lords, the clan, which was ranked in the same level as the Osaki and the Mogami clans as a family of the Ashikaga clan, boasted of high family status. In the Kyotoku War, a person named Yoshinaka ISHIBASHI proved himself in Oshu.

In the Tenbun War, which occurred from the Date clan's succession race, during the Sengoku period, 塩松尚義 joined war on Tanemune DATE's side, but sided with Harumune DATE later. However, in 1550, due to the revolt of his senior vassal Sadayori OUCHI against him, Naoyoshi was held captive within the castle and lost his authority. He is said to have died in 1577 in frustration. By this, the Ishibashi-Shionomatsu clan ended and the Shionomatsu clan after that meant the Ouchi clan.