Obama han

From SamuraiWiki
Jump to navigationJump to search

Obama han was based at Obama castle in Wakasa province (today Fukui prefecture). It was governed by the Kyôgoku clan at the beginning of the Edo Period, and by the Sakai clan from 1634 on.

The domain's capital of Obama was a prosperous port city throughout much of the 15th-17th centuries, though it gradually became a quiet provincial castle town later in the Edo period. Still, it was an important link in the domestic sea routes between Ezo and the Sea of Japan coast, and played a significant role in the economic development of the early Edo period.


In the Sengoku period, Obama was controlled by a succession of lords, including members of the Takeda clan, followed by Niwa Nagashige, Asano Nagamasa, Kinoshita Katsutoshi and others. As Kinoshita fought against Tokugawa Ieyasu at the decisive battle of Sekigahara in 1600, he was deprived of the territory, and entered retirement as a poet. Obama was given to Kyôgoku Takatsugu with an income of 85,000 koku. Kyôgoku had previously held Ôtsu castle, which fell to Tachibana Muneshige as the battle of Sekigahara was being fought; his enfeoffment in Obama came as a reward for his role in preventing Tachibana from contributing to the enemy efforts at Sekigahara. He gained another 7,000 koku the following year, making Obama worth 92,000 in total.

Takatsugu died in 1609, and was succeeded by his son Kyôgoku Tadataka. Tadataka, along with his mother Ohatsu, had played an important role in negotiations and communications between the rival Tokugawa and Toyotomi clans up until the power of the Toyotomi was eliminated in the 1615 Osaka Campaign. For his service to the shogunate in this respect, he was given Matsue han in Izumo province, worth 235,000 koku, in 1634.

Sakai Tadakatsu, formerly of Kawagoe han in Musashi province, then became lord of Obama, with an income of 113,500 koku. He gained another 10,000 two years later from a territory in Shimotsuke province. Sakai was one of the shogunate's top officials, serving on the rôjû council, and later as its head, or Tairô. He was succeeded in the domain by his fourth son, Sakai Tadanao. Tadanao distributed out parts of his income to his family to create new domains. The 10,000 koku domain of Katsuyama in Awa province was thus established by his nephew in 1668, and the 10,000 koku domain of Tsuruga in Echizen province was created in 1682 by his son. After another 3000 koku was given to Tadanao's fifth son Sakai Tadane, the domain was reduced to 103,500 koku.

Tadakatsu had done a lot to establish the domain's governance and to ensure its strength and stability. He implemented a taxation system, and installed town magistrates (machi-bugyô) and local governors. However, a flood ravaged the domain in 1735, and famine set in, as it did in many other areas at this time. The peasants sought aid from their lord, but their cries went unheeded for a long time. In 1770, there was an outright peasant revolt. Efforts were made to shore up the domain's finances and to relieve the peasant's suffering, but famine struck again several decades later in 1836.

The twelfth Sakai lord of Obama, Sakai Tadaaki, was also the shogunal deputy in Kyoto. He worked with Ii Naosuke to effect the Ansei Purges, links between the shogunate and the Imperial Court, and the suppression of the revolt of Takeda Kôunsai. In 1868, he fought for the shogunate in the Boshin War; defeated, he was nevertheless returned to his post at Obama, under the new name Sakai Tadatoshi. When the daimyô were eliminated in 1869, he became governor of Obama; two years later, the han (feudal domains) were abolished, and Obama became a prefecture. It was absorbed into Shiga Prefecture in 1876, and into Fukui in 1881.

Lords of Obama

  1. Kyôgoku Takatsugu
  2. Kyôgoku Tadataka
  3. Sakai Tadakatsu
  4. Sakai Tadanao
  5. Sakai Tadataka
  6. Sakai Tadasono
  7. Sakai Tadashige
  8. Sakai Tadaakira
  9. Sakai Tadamochi
  10. Sakai Tadayoshi
  11. Sakai Tadatsura
  12. Sakai Tadayuki
  13. Sakai Tadayori
  14. Sakai Tadaaki
  15. Sakai Tadauji
  16. Sakai Tadatoshi


  • Isao Soranaka. "Obama: The Rise and Decline of a Seaport." Monumenta Nipponica 52:1 (Spring 1997). pp85-102.