Tahara han

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Tahara han was a small domain located in Mikawa province, initially ruled by the Toda clan (fudai daimyô), and then by the Miyake clan (also fudai daimyô) from 1664 onwards. The domain is perhaps most famous for being the home of prominent Edo period scholar Watanabe Kazan.

The domain's territory consisted of only twenty-four villages, alongside the castle town of Tahara[1], located on a peninsula between Mikawa Bay and the Pacific. The area was not particularly agriculturally fertile, nor an area exceptionally rich in marine products, but at the same time, the domain suffered very few losses from famine over the course of the period.[2]

Tahara was centrally administered as a single judicial and administrative unit, and though some retainers were given honorary "fief-holding" status, all received stipends and none enjoyed a significant degree of administrative power in their "fiefs."[3] The domain had very few marketable products, and so its administration was constantly strained financially. In the Bunka-Bunsei period (1804-1830), this became so bad that the administration had to "borrow" (keep) 50-60%, and later 80%, of the retainers' stipends, leaving each samurai household, at times, with as little as a single masu of rice per day.[2]

After the 13th lord of the domain, Miyake Yasuteru[4], died of illness in 1827, Watanabe Kazan worked with Yasuteru's younger brother Miyake Tomonobu to address the domain's difficulties and plan potential reforms. However, a group of the domain's retainers schemed together, and forced Tomonobu into retirement, citing his weak constitution, and replacing him with the sixth son of Sakai Tadamitsu, lord of Himeji. That son was renamed Miyake Yasunao and became the 14th lord of Tahara, his dowry aiding the domain's coffers somewhat. Yasunao's infant daughter was married to Tomonobu's son (who was also in his first year), and the successful continuation of the Miyake clan was formally reported to the shogunate.[2]

The painter and scholar Watanabe Kazan was a prominent and influential advisor for the domain's administrators, overseeing the domain's maritime defenses and staffing appointments, among other contributions. However, he was arrested as part of an 1839 suppression of rangaku (Western/Dutch Studies) scholars known as Bansha no goku, and put under house arrest in Tahara; he committed suicide shortly afterwards.[2]

Tomonobu's son Miyake Yasuyoshi was the last daimyô of Tahara. In 1857, he followed the example of the Môri clan establishing a shipping route between Tahara and Edo. This brought welcome financial relief to the domain and its retainers.[2]

Daimyô of Tahara

  1. Toda Takatsugu
  2. Toda Tadayoshi
  3. Toda Tadamasa
  4. Miyake Yasukatsu (d. 1687/8/9)[5]
  5. Miyake Yasuo (d. actual date 1726/10/4; official reported date 10/6)
  6. Miyake Yasunori (d. 1753/12/1; official 12/3)
  7. Miyake Yasutaka (d. 1791/3/14, ret.; official 3/21)
  8. Miyake Yasuyuki
  9. Miyake Yasutake (d. 1785/9/12; official 9/21)
  10. Miyake Yasukuni (d. 1792/2/29; official 3/23)
  11. Miyake Yasutomo (d. 1809/3/20; official 5/6)
  12. Miyake Yasukazu (d. 1823/2/8; official 5/16)
  13. Miyake Yasuteru (d. 1827/7/10; official 10/23)
  14. Miyake Yasunao (d. 1893/8/9, ret.)[5][6]
  15. Miyake Yasumori

(As was quite common among Edo period daimyô, the actual death dates, and the dates officially reported and recorded, often differ. The actual death date is given here first. Those figures labeled with "ret." died after retiring as daimyô.)

Other Prominent Figures from Tahara


  • Roberts, Luke. Performing the Great Peace: Political Space and Open Secrets in Tokugawa Japan. University of Hawaii Press, 2012.
  1. Roberts. p65.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Edo Daimyô Hyakke 江戸大名百家. Bessatsu Taiyô 別冊太陽. Spring 1978. p126.
  3. Roberts. p28.
  4. Also possibly known as Yasuaki.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Actual death date officially reported.
  6. Roberts. p95.

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