Honjo Munesuke (本庄宗資)

Munesuke HONJO (c. 1629 - September 9, 1699) was fudai daimyo (a daimyo in hereditary vassal to the Tokugawa family) in the early part of the Edo period. He was the lord of the Ashikaga domain in the Shimotsuke Province and later the first lord of the Kasama domain in the Hitachi Province. He was the first head of the Honjo Matsudaira family. At first he was a vassal of kuge (court noble), but was promoted to a daimyo (Japanese feudal lord) under the protection of Keishoin, a mother of Tsunayoshi TOKUGAWA, because he was her brother.

He was the second son of Munemasa HONJO, a vassal of the Nijo family which was one of the Sekkan-ke (line of regents and advisers). His mother was a daughter of the Nabeta clan. Keishoin, a mother of Tsunayoshi TOKUGAWA, was his half sister. His lawful wife was a daughter of Toshizane IN who was Keishi (household superintendent) of the Nijo family. His children were Tsunekatsu MURAKAMI (the first son), Suketoshi MATSUDAIRA (the second son), Tomosato TOMITA (the forth son), Yasushige MAKINO (the fifth son), a daughter (wife of Hiroharu ROKKAKU), a daughter (wife of Tadasato OKITSU) and a daughter (wife of Motoaki OSAWA). He was commonly known as Heishiro and Jirozaemon. His official rank was jiju (a chamberlain) in the Jushiinoge (Junior Fourth Rank, Lower Grade) and he worked as the Governor of the Inaba Province.

He was born in Kyoto and began to serve Tsunayoshi TOKUGAWA, a son of his sister Keishoin and the lord of the Tatebayashi domain, on December 1656, and held positions such as sojaban (an official in charge of the ceremonies) of the Tatebayashi clan. In 1668 he met Shogun Ietsuna TOKUGAWA for the first time, and after Tsunayoshi TOKUGAWA became Shogun in 1680, he moved to the Edo-jo Castle followed by Tokumatsu TOKUGAWA, the heir of Tsunayoshi, and was raised to the peerage of bakufu gokenin (an immediate vassal of the Shogunate in the Kamakura and Muromachi through Edo periods) with 800 bales of kirimai (salary). The word gokenin is mentioned in the Kansei Choshu Shokafu (genealogies of vassals in Edo bakufu), but it is difficult to think that he could not meet his nephew Tsunayoshi. It might have been confused with hatamoto (a direct vassal of the shogun). After this, Shogun Tsunayoshi and his mother Keishoin continued to add to Munesuke's salary who was their relative.

On April 23, 1681, he was given an additional 1,200 koku (of rice) (a unit of volume: rice 1-koku is 180.39 liter, lumber 1-koku is 0.278 cubic meter) (at this time the former kirimai was changed to shoryo (territory)), and as a result, he was given 2,000 koku in total in the Makabe County and the Kawachi County, Hitachi Province. On December 19, 1683, he was given an additional 3,000 koku in Makabe County. On January 29, 1685, he was raised to the peerage of the Governor of the Inaba Province in Jugoinoge (Junior Fifth Rank, Lower Grade). In 1688, he was given an additional 5,000 koku in the Ashikaga County, Shimotsuke Province, and as a result, he received a total of 10,000 koku and established the Ashikaga domain in the Shimotsuke Province including the territory of Makabe County into Ashikaga. On June 9, 1689, his sister Keishoin entered the residence of Honjo clan, and he was given an additional 10,000 koku on November. On January 23, 1691, he was promoted to Jushiinoge. When Tsunayoshi TOKUGAWA and Keishoin visited the residence of Honjo clan (it is called 'Shogun onari') on December 18, 1692, he was added 20,000 koku, and consequently, he had the territory changed to the Hitachi Province and became the lord of the Kasama domain with 40,000 koku. At the time of the 'Shogun onari' in April 1694, he was also given an additional 10,000 koku as well as the official position of jiju. On September 9, 1699, he died. He was 71 years old. He was buried at the Anyo-ji Temple in Asakusa.

His second son Suketoshi succeeded the family estate and was given the surname of Matsudaira when he was the head of the clan.