The Tsuchimikado Family (土御門家)

The Tsuchimikado family is a clan of court nobles that served the Imperial Court in Japan.

The Tsuchimikado family of the Genji clan

The Tsuchimikado family of the Genji clan were the direct descendants of Naidaijin (the minister of the center) MINAMOTO no Michichika of Murakami-Genji (Minamoto clan) during the Kamakura period. Being the maternal relative of Emperor Gosaga, the family enjoyed their prosperity, but became extinct during the early Muromachi period.

The Tsuchimikado family of the Abe clan

The Tsuchimikado family of the Abe clan were the descendants of the Onmyoji ABE no Ariyo (the fourteenth generation descendant of ABE no Seimei) during the Muromachi period. The Tsuchimikado family acted as the head of the Abe clan for successive generations. The Abe clan continued to serve the Imperial Court as court nobles after the time of Seimei but, during the Muromachi period, they began to go by the family name instead of the clan name as was practiced by other court nobles in those days.
(Ariyo is generally considered to be the first head of the Tsuchimikado family, but it is said that, in fact, the family name of Tsuchimikado started to be used during the times of ABE no Arinobu the family head during the period of the Northern and Southern Courts subsequent to the middle of the Muromachi period.)

To escape the Onin War, the family moved to the southern part of Wakasa Province (the present Oi-cho, Oi-gun, Fukui Prefecture) where they lived for generations. In those days, Wakasa was a territory under the control of the powerful shugo daimyo (a Japanese provincial military governor that had become a daimyo, or Japanese feudal lord) of the Takeda clan (the Wakasa-Takeda clan); this shugo daimyo served as vice-shogun of the eastern forces during the Onin War, so this prosperous province was home to many court nobles from the capital who were now under the protection of the clan. During the early Edo period, the family returned to Kyoto as ordered by Ieyasu to perform prayers at a ceremony where the emperor gave Ieyasu the title of Seii-taishogun. During the Edo period, the family had a grand-scale residence that also served as a research laboratory in Umekoji away from Kugemachi (court noble village) around the Imperial Palace. The social standing of the Tsuchimikado family was hange (kuge), kuge of lower rank (and the details have been discussed under the Tsuchimikado Family of the Abe Clan (Muromachi Period to Meiji Period), the ancestors of the Tsuchimikado family).

The Tsuchimikado family of the Fujiwara clan

The Tsuchimikado family of the Fujiwara lineage (the Hino family) was a kuge founded by Yasumitsu TSUCHIMIKADO, the child of Sukeakira YANAGIWARA (the founder of the Yanagiwara family) during the period of the Northern and Southern Courts. Yasumitsu and his son Sukeie TSUCHIMIKADO advanced to the post of Dainagon (Major Counselor).

In July 1441, to-no-ben (a chief of the officials at the dajokan) Naganobu TSUCHIMIKADO, the son of Sukeie, opting to become a priest, tried to transfer the headship of the family to the child of Aritoyo KARAHASHI by adoption. However, as various families within the clan including the head family Hino objected to Sukeie's adopting a child from the Karahashi family of the Sugawara lineage, this matter triggered heated arguments at the Imperial Palace and the Muromachi bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun) subsequently intervened. The Tsuchimikado family ultimately became extinct because of an imperial decision made by Emperor Gohanazono, all of the six territories were confiscated and one of them was given to the child of Aritoyo KARAHASHI while the remaining five territories were divided among various families such as Matsunoki and Yotsutsuji (whose territory was subsequently exchanged with that of the Toin family) (as recorded in "Kennaiki" on July 7, October 2 and 12, 1441).