Mori clan (Aki)
- Japanese: 毛利 家 (Môri ke)
The Môri of Aki province were descended from Ôe Hiromoto, (1148-1225), a noted Minamoto clan retainer, and lived in Koriyama castle (Yoshida) in Aki province from 1336 until Môri Terumoto moved to Hiroshima in 1593. The family initially acted as jitô and experienced a power struggle in the 1470's that saw the main Môri line absorb both it's branch families in Aki. They supported the Ôuchi during the Ônin War, although afterwards they often found themselves caught that clan and their rivals, the Amako. The Môri reached their height under the rule of Motonari, who absorbed both the Ôuchi (1557) and Amako (1566) domains and extended Môri holdings to Kyushu and influence throughout the Chugoku and were the backbone of the Kôno of Iyo province on Shikoku. Their expansion on Kyushu was checked by the growing power of the Ôtomo, with whom they clashed at various points between 1557-1565. They lent aid to the Ishiyama Honganji complex in Settsu province, besieged by the Oda, but under Terumoto faced the inexorable westward expansion of Oda Nobunaga, whose retainer Toyotomi Hideyoshi was poised on the borders of the Môri’s inner domain when Nobunaga was killed in 1582. They then became loyal and valuable supporters of Hideyoshi and were the most powerful family in western Japan under his rule. In 1600 they sided, however relucatantly, with Ishida Mitsunari and afterwards saw their domain and influence considerably reduced. Though perhaps the second wealthiest daimyô in the archipelago prior to the battle of Sekigahara, controlling a vast swath of territory in western Japan, after Tokugawa Ieyasu's victory in that battle, he forced the Môri to relocate from their relatively central base in Aki province to the comparatively remote castle town of Hagi, and reduced their territory & wealth by roughly three-quarters.
Nevertheless, the Môri remained a political force throughout the Edo Period, playing a prominent role as well in the earliest stages of pushes for Westernization, opening up of the country, industrialization, and the like in the Bakumatsu period.
- Hall, John Whitney, Nagahara Keiji and Kozo Yamamura, eds. Japan Before Tokugawa Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey 1981
- Rekishi Gunzô Shirizu #49, Môri Senki Gakken, Japan, 1997
- Martin Dusinberre, Hard Times in the Hometown: A History of Community Survival in Modern Japan, University of Hawaii Press (2012), 20.