Takatori Domain (高取藩)

Takatori Domain was a feudal domain what was located in Yamato Province (present-day Takatori-cho, Takaichi-gun, Nara Prefecture). The government building of the domain was Takatori-jo Castle.

History of the domain

From the Sengoku period (period of warring states) (Japan) to Azuchi-Momoyama period, Yamato Province had been ruled by Junkei TSUTSUI who was serving under Nobunaga ODA, but after the death of Nobunaga and Junkei, Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI, who held a hegemony over the country, transferred Sadatsugu TSUTSUI, a successor of Junkei, to Ueno Domain in Iga Province, and gave Yamato Province to his brother Hidenaga TOYOTOMI instead. Hidenaga gave 15,000 koku (an unit of assessed crop yields of the land [1 koku: about 180 liter], which was also used to express the size of the land) of land in Takatori to his vassal Toshihisa HONDA, who worked in maintenance and expansion of Takatori-jo Castle. Toshimasa HONDA, who succeeded Toshihisa and served under Hideyoshi after Hidenaga died, joined the Eastern camp in the Battle of Sekigahara and fought bravely against the Western camp attacking Yamato Province, and for this effort, the landholdings of the domain was increased to 25,000 koku (or 30,000 koku in another theory).

There was no blood relationship between this Honda clan and Tadakatsu HONDA, who is known as one of Tokugawa-shitenno (four generals serving Ieyasu TOKUGAWA), or Masanobu HONDA, a close aide of Ieyasu TOKUGAWA.

Masatake HONDA, who was Toshimasa's son and succeeded his father, was a master of Igo (board game of capturing territory) and won the Igo Honinbo-sen (the greatest Igo game match) in 1610. Although he rendered distinguished service at the Tokugawa side in the Siege of Osaka, as well as made efforts in the repair work of Osaka-jo Castle and served as Zoei Bugyo (an official in charge of building temples and shrines) for Daito (a pagoda that according to Shingon doctrine represents the central point of a mandala) of Mt. Koya, he died in 1637 without leaving an heir, which resulted in termination of the family line of Honda clan, and for a while afterwards, Kazuharu KUWAYAMA (Yamato Shinjo Domain) and Yoshichika KOIDE (Sonobe Domain in Tanba Province) were placed as Joban (a castle guard).

On December 2, 1640, Iemasa UEMURA, who was Taishin hatamoto (hatamoto [a direct retainer of the Shogun] whose income from the land is high [greater hatamoto]) with 9,000 koku and was serving as Oban gashira (a captain of great guards), became Daimyo (Japanese feudal lord) with the landholdings increased to 25,000 koku, and Takatori Domain was re-established. On August 5, 1658, Iesada UEMURA, the second lord of the domain, gave 3,000 koku to his brother Masaharu UEMURA, and therefore the landholdings of Takatori Domain was reduced to 22,000 koku. Furthermore, on October 1, 1687, Ienobu UEMURA, the third lord of the domain, also gave 1,000 koku and 500 koku to his brothers, Masaaki UEMURA (植村政明) and Masazumi UEMURA (植村正澄), respectively, so it was reduced to 20,500 koku.

As for the domain duties, it had been responsible for custody of tenryo (a shogunal demesne) in Yamato Province since 1738, which was the time of the fifth lord of the domain, Iekane UEMURA. It was due to an incident of Nobutake ODA of Uda Domain in Yamato Province, who was tozama daimyo (nonhereditary feudal lord).

Ietoshi UEMURA, the eighth lord of the domain, committed suicide by drowning with a prostitute, which would have led to the forfeiture of the domain if revealed, but a Rusuiyaku (a person representing the master during his absence) at the Edo residence hid the truth and reported that he died by disease, so the domain was able to avoid being forfeited and continued to exist. During the time of the ninth lord of the domain, Ienaga UEMURA, the consigned shogunal demesne increased to nearly 66,000 koku, which made the total landholdings approximately 100,000 koku including his own territory, and Ienaga took part in the shogunate government serving in the positions such as Sojaban (an official in charge of the ceremonies), Jisha-bugyo (magistrate of temples and shrines), Wakadoshiyori (junior councilor), Shisseikaku (Rojukaku: a councilor who acted as roju [senior councilor] but whose hereditary stipend was less than the minimum for roju) and so on. For these efforts, Takatori Domain received additional 4,500 koku and the landholdings of the domain increased to 25,000 koku again. Ienori UEMURA, the tenth lord of the domain, invited Sanzan TANI and devoted himself to Sonno Joi (slogan advocating reverence for the Emperor and the expulsion of foreigners), which affected Takatori Domain in the end of Edo period.

After Ienori, Ietaka UEMURA was the last male heir of the Uemura clan, and all the three domain lords in the end of Edo period came from other clans as adopted children. One of them, Iemori UEMURA, the 13th lord of the domain, rendered distinguished services in defense of the seas around Osaka, suppression of Tenchu-gumi Incident, etc., as well as serving as a guard in Kyoto. However, in the Boshin War, the Uemura clan, which was advocating reverence for the Emperor by the influence of Sanzan TANI, took the side of the new government and worked as a guard of Kyoto Imperial Palace. Subsequently, together with Nagayasu ODA, the lord of Shibamura Domain in Yamato Province, he was in charge of controlling the old shogunal demesne. The last lord of the domain, Iehiro UEMURA, became a governor of the domain by Hanseki Hokan (return of lands and people to the emperor) in July, 1869, and resigned from the position by Haihan-chiken (abolition of feudal domains and establishment of prefectures) in 1871, which led to abolishment of Takatori Domain. Subsequently, Takatori became Takatori Prefecture, and was merged into Nara Prefecture.

Since the Uemura clan had performed great military exploits under Ieyasu during the Sengoku period, it was distinguished Fudai (a daimyo in hereditary vassal to the Tokugawa family) which was allowed to use 'Ie' of Ieyasu for the name of the successive lords of the domain. Also, as the Takatori-jo Castle was a Yamajiro (a castle built on a mountain to take advantage of the mountain's topography) which was uncommon during the Edo period and inconvenient to access, the domain lords and vassals began to relocate in the end of Kanei era (1624 - 1643) and only Joban was placed in the castle.