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In this Japanese name, the family name is Tokugawa.
Tokugawa Ienari

Tokugawa Ienari; 徳川 家斉 (November 18, 1773–March 22, 1841) was the eleventh and longest serving shogun of the Tokugawa shogunate of Japan who held office from 1787 to 1837.[1]


Family life


First wife

In 1776, the four-year-old Hitosubashi Toyochiyo, a minor figure in the Tokugawa clan hierarchy, was betrothed to Shimazu no Shige-hime[2] or Tadako-hime, the four-year-old daughter of Shimazu Shigehide, the tozama daimyo of Satsuma Domain on the island of Kyūshū. The significance of this alliance was dramatically enhanced when, in 1781, the young Toyochiyo was adopted by the childless shogun, Tokugawa Ieharu. This meant that when Toyochiyo became Shogun Ienari in 1786, Shigehide was set to become the father-in-law of the shogun.[3] The marriage was completed in 1789, after which Tadako became formally known as Midaidokoro Sadako, or "first wife" Sadako. Protocol required that she be adopted into a court family, and the Konoe clan agreed to take her in but this was a mere formality.[4]

Other relationships

Ienari was known as a degenerate who kept a harem of 900 women and fathered over 75 children (in the Nemuri Kyoshiro film series starring Ichikawa Raizo, many of these adult offspring, both male and female, are the villains of the stories).

Many of Ienari's myriad children were adopted into various daimyo houses throughout Japan, and some played important roles in the history of the Bakumatsu and Boshin War. Some of the more famous among them included: Hachisuka Narihiro (Tokushima han), Matsudaira Naritami (Tsuyama han), Tokugawa Narikatsu (first to the Shimizu-Tokugawa, then to the Wakayama domain), Matsudaira Narisawa (Fukui han), and others.

Events of Ienari's bakufu

  • 1787 (Tenmei 7): Ienari becomes the 11th shogun of the bakufu government.[1]
  • 1788 (Tenmei 7): Riots in rice shops in Edo and Osaka.
  • March 6–11, 1788 (Tenmei 8, 29th day of the 1st month–4th day of the second month): Great Fire of Kyoto. A fire in the city, which began at 3 o'clock in the morning of the of March 6th), continued to burn uncontrolled until the 1st day of the second month (March 8th); and embers smoldered until they were extinguished by heavy rain on the 4th day of the second month (March 11th). The emperor and his court fled the fire, and the Imperial Palace was destroyed. No other re-construction was permitted until a new palace was completed. This fire was considered a major event. The Dutch VOC Opperhoofd in Dejima noted in his official record book that "people are considering it to be a great and extraordinary heavenly portent."[5]
  • February 28, 1793 (Kansei 5, on the 18th day of the 1st month): Collapse of the peak of Mt. Unzen.[6]
  • March 17, 1793 (Kansei 5, on the 6th day of the 2nd month): Eruption of Mt. Biwas-no-kubi[6]
  • April 15, 1793 (Kansei 5, on the 1st day of the 3rd month): The Shimabara earthquake.[7]
  • May 10, 1793 (Kansei 5, on the 1st day of the 4th month): Eruption of Mt. Miyama.[6]

His time in office was marked by an era of pleasure, excess, and corruption, which ended in the disastrous Tenpō Famine of 1832-1837, in which thousands are known to have perished.

Eras of Ienari's bakufu

The years in which Ienari was shogun are more specifically identified by more than one era name or nengō.[8]

See also


  1. ^ a b c Hall, John Whitney et al. (1991). Early Modern Japan, p. 21.
  2. ^ Screech, Timon. (2006). Secret Memoirs of the Shoguns: Isaac Titsingh and Japan, 1779-1822, p. 234 n12.
  3. ^ Screech, p. 11.
  4. ^ Screech, p. 221 n35.
  5. ^ Screech, pp. 152-154, 249-250
  6. ^ a b c Screech, p.154.
  7. ^ Screech, p. 155.
  8. ^ Titsingh, Isaac. (1834). Annales des empereurs du japon, p. 420.


External links

Preceded by
Tokugawa Ieharu
Edo Shogun:
Tokugawa Ienari

Succeeded by
Tokugawa Ieyoshi


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