Tatsuta Domain (竜田藩)

Tatsuta Domain was a feudal domain that was located in Yamato Province (present-day Tatsuta, Ikaruga-cho, Ikoma-gun, Nara Prefecture).


As one of the Seven Spears of Shizugatake, including Kiyomasa KATO and Masanori FUKUSHIMA who were known to be valiant warriors under Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI, Katsumoto KATAGIRI won recognition not only for his bravery in battle but also his political acumen. For this reason, he became a close confidante to Hideyoshi, despite the small size of his domain, which was roughly only 10,000 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) in Harima Province and others, compared to those of Kiyomasa and Masanori, and was granted the use of the Hashiba name and was appointed as a Karo (chief retainer) of Toyotomi clan and custodian of Hideyori TOYOTOMI after the death of Toshiie MAEDA. He is also believed to have played a role in the preservation of the Toyotomi clan after the clan's defeat in the Battle of Sekigahara, by keeping distance from Mitsunari ISHIDA and others in the West (Toyotomi) camp and negotiating secretly with Ieyasu TOKUGAWA. In 1601 after the Battle of Sekigahara, Ieyasu recognized the importance of Katsumoto in the Toyotomi camp and increased his domain in Tatsuta in Yamato Province by 18,000 koku to 28,000 koku. This marked the foundation of the Tatsuta Domain.

Subsequently, Katsumoto devoted great effort into repairing relations between the Toyotomi and Tokugawa camps. He was fully responsible for performing various political functions, including Hideyori's trip to Kyoto in 1611. His efforts are believed to have contributed immensely to the preservation of the Toyotomi clan for 15 years after Sekigahara. Although there are speculations today that Katsumoto provided intelligence to Ieyasu, he is believed to have been a faithful Toyotomi vassal that devoted himself to preserve Toyotomi clan, demonstrated by his diligent effort to avert warfare through frequent visits and talks with Ieyasu in Sunpu, over the Shomei issue of 1614. However, the frequent talks with Ieyasu fanned suspicion in Yodo-dono (Lady Yodo) and Harunaga ONO who were unable to assess the truth of their state of affairs, resulting in Katsumoto being forced out of the Toyotomi camp. Proven by the fact that Ieyasu waged the Siege of Osaka immediately after Katsumoto's departure from the Toyotomi camp, as if he had been waiting for this to happen, the Toyotomi had in fact brought destruction on itself by pulling out their last pillar of strength and hope.

Katsumoto received additional crop yield that made his territory 40,000 koku in total after the war, but died 20 days after the downfall of the Toyotomi. While some attribute his death to illness, others believe it was suicide for failing to live up to his pledge of loyalty to Hideyoshi (for pleading for the life of Hideyori in return for his support of Ieyasu's siege on Osaka Castle). After his death, his son Takatoshi KATAGIRI inherited his domain. Takatoshi devoted great energy into building the foundation of domain rule but died at age 38 in September 1638. Takatoshi did not have heirs, leading to temporary closure of the family heritage, but the family domain was restored with inheritance by Katsumoto's younger brother Tamemoto KATAGIRI, in honor of the great accomplishments of the late Katsumoto. However, this came with reduction of domain from 40,000 to 10,000 koku rice yield. Tamemoto died in June 1654 at age 44 and was succeeded by his son Tametsugu KATAGIRI. However, he also died in November of the following year, at the youthful age of 15, as if to follow his father. With no heirs for Tametsugu, Tatsuta Domain was now abolished.

Still, the bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun) attempted to preserve the Katagiri clan name to honor the domain founder Katsumoto's accomplishments at the Siege of Osaka by granting the status of kotai yoriai (landholding vassal with alternate attendance obligations) with 3,000 koku to Tametsugu's younger brother Katsuteru KATAGIRI. However, Katsuteru also died without heirs. Hence, Sadanari KATAGIRI was adopted from Koizumi Domain, which was founded by Katsumoto's younger brother Sadataka KATAGIRI, but unfortunately became another heir dying young, passing away in February 1694 at the age of 17. With no heirs in the Sadanari line, the Katagiri clan springing from Katsumoto was finally closed.