Samurai-Archives

Mito Edo mansion

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  • Japanese: 江戸水戸藩邸 (Edo Mito hantei)

Mito han maintained at least three mansions in Edo: one in Koishikawa, one in Komagome, and one which is today Sumida Park.

The Koishikawa mansion was home to a series of gardens, begun by Tokugawa Yorifusa in 1629 and completed by his son Tokugawa Mitsukuni in 1669, named "Kôrakuen" by Chinese scholar & Mito retainer Zhu Shunsui.

In 1844, Tokugawa Nariaki fell out of favor with the shogun & with the rôjû, and was found to have been stockpiling weapons in excess of limits set by the shogunate. He was then forced to relocate himself, his family, and many of their attendants and retainers, from the Koishikawa mansion to the one at Komagome. The main building of the Komagome mansion was destroyed in a fire in 1853, the same year Nariaki, having come back into favor and having been appointed to oversee coastal defenses, began spending more time at the Koishikawa mansion once again. In 1855, he finally received permission for his family (and their servants, and so forth) to return to the Koishikawa mansion. Later that year, much of the compound was severely damaged, along with much of the city, in the 1855 Ansei Earthquake.

Nariaki and his family returned once again briefly to Komagome in 1858 after a loss in prestige associated with losing a succession dispute in which Nariaki attempted to have his seventh son, Tokugawa Yoshinobu, named shogun. Shortly afterward, Nariaki was ordered to leave Edo and to retire to Mito.

The former site of the Koishikawa Mito mansion is today the location of the Tokyo Dome, home of the Yomiuri Giants baseball team, though the Kôrakuen gardens have been maintained (or reconstructed) and are open to the public today.

References

  • Anne Walthall, "Nishimiya Hide: Turning Palace Arts into Marketable Skills," in Walthall (ed.), The Human Tradition in Modern Japan," Scholarly Resources, Inc. (2002), 45-60.
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