During the last days of the Edo period and the early to Mid-Meiji period, there lived a samurai. His name was Matsudaira Katamori.
He belonged to one of the several clans that were spread throughout Japan. These groups made up the Matsudaira clan.
The Matsudaira clan was originally from the Mikawa Province. Each of these clans had their own Ainomon crest. Families that were part of this clan were in charge of various domains.
The Matsudaira clan claimed that they were a descendant of the Minamoto clan, a descendant of the Imperial dynasty.
Matsudaira and Tokugawa Clan Descendant
Matsudaira Katamori was the 9th daimyo of the Aizu clan. He also served as Military Commissioner of Kyoto during the Bakumatsu period.
His lineage can be traced from Matsudaira Motoyasu who soon changed his name to Tokugawa Ieyasu, the first head of the Tokugawa Shogunate.
During the Boshin War, the Katamori and Aizu clans united to fight against the armies of the Meiji government. However, Katamori’s life was spared and he became the head of the Nikko Toshogu Shrine.
Matsudaira Katamori and his brothers were famous during the Meiji Restoration due to the significant roles that they played.
Matsudaira Katamori Achievements
Matsudaira Katamori was not only a Samurai. He also became a court nobleman. For a short period of time, he became a Daimyo.
Aside from those, he also became the military governor of Kyoto and the Lesser General of the Left Guard of the Imperial Court. In the Kobu gattai, he was an active member and he became part of the new nobility.
Matsudaira Katamori As Head of the Clan
After the death of Katataka in early 1852, Matsudaira Katamori became the head of the clan at 18. He was given the title Higo no Kami, which was initiated by the Aizu-han Daimyo.
One year later, Commodore C. Perry became the leader of the American East India Squadron and went to the Edo Bay. This allowed Japan to trade since they went out of self-isolation.
There was a large number of men and ships that were head of feudal domains. Since Aizu was a prominent clan in that period, they have received orders to secure the provinces of Kazusa and Awa.
Some may view Matsudaira Katamori as a failure against the Imperialists. He was a compelling subject for study since he knew how to rule during the age with the greatest political change in Japanese history.
There is a great effect on the Matsudaira family who lived through both the Shogunate to Imperial periods.
Matsudaira Katamori At The Boshin War
Matsudaira Katamori was an advocate of peace. He went to the extent of apologizing at the court. However, the New Meiji government refused to consider his apology.
This was due to the new government that was not in favor of what Katamori did as a Military Commissioner.
Even he was placed under house arrest, his life was spared. Later, he became the Chief Priest of the Nikko Toshogu Shrine. When he died, he was buried through Shinto rites. It was Matsudaira’s brother Morio that acts as ahead of the Aizu clan.
Image Source: 不明。 [Public domain]