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  • Japanese: 御三家 (gosanke)

The Gosanke, or "[Honorable] Three Houses," were the three senior collateral houses, or branch families, of the lineage of the Tokugawa shoguns. The daimyô of Mito, Wakayama, and Owari domains, the Mito, Kii/Kishû, and Owari Tokugawa clans were, along with the shogun's own lineage, and the Gosankyô (junior collateral houses), the only families from which a shogunal successor might be chosen. The Gosanke also enjoyed the special privilege of advising the shogun directly in cases of emergency, but otherwise were ineligible, as were the Gosankyô, to serve in the most powerful advisory & decision-making positions in the shogunate, such as the position of rôjû.

The Owari, Kii, and Mito branches each traced their descent, respectively, from Tokugawa Ieyasu's 9th son Tokugawa Yoshinao, 10th son Tokugawa Yorinobu, and 11th son Tokugawa Yorifusa.[1]


  • Mitani Hiroshi, David Noble (trans.), Escape from Impasse, International House of Japan (2006), xxiv-xxv.
  1. Arai Hakuseki, Joyce Ackroyd (trans.), Told Round a Brushwood Fire, University of Tokyo Press (1979), 288n10.; plaques at former site of Kishû Tokugawa mansion in Edo (Tokyo).[1]