Tachibana clan (kuge)

From SamuraiWiki
Jump to navigationJump to search
  • Japanese: (Tachibana-shi)

The Tachibana clan was one of the four most powerful kuge (court nobility) families in the Nara and early Heian Period. Members of the Tachibana family often held high court posts within the Daijô-kan (Ministry of State), most frequently Sadaijin (Minister of the Left). Like the other major families at court, they also constantly sought to increase and secure their power by marrying into the Imperial family. However, as the Fujiwara clan gained power over the course of the 9th and 10th centuries, the Tachibana were eclipsed and eventually became scattered across the country. Though serving in high government posts outside the capital, they were thus denied the degree of power and influence within the court at Kyoto (Heian-kyô) which they once enjoyed.

The family claimed descent from Agata no Inukai no Michiyo, wife of Prince Minu, who was bestowed the name Tachibana in 708, in return for services rendered to the court. The lineage, however, may go back even further, to Tajima Mori, a Korean who, according to legend, introduced oranges, called tachibana (橘) in Japanese, to Japan in the first century CE[1]. They likely bore no direct relation to the Tachibana clan of samurai which emerged in the 14th century.

Over the course of the Heian period, they engaged in countless struggles with the Fujiwara family for domination of court politics, and thus essentially for control of the nation; on a number of occasions this developed into outright violent conflict. One of these conflicts was the uprising of Fujiwara no Sumitomo in 939-941. Though the rebellion was ultimately suppressed, the Tachibana family was scattered in the process, and lost much of its power.

Tachibana no Kimiyori (877-941) was among those who pursued Sumitomo to Kyûshû; he settled there and established himself as an official representative of the court. He or his descendants likely gave their name to Tachibana castle, after which the later Tachibana clan of the 14th century onwards was named. Another branch family developed in Iyo province, becoming known as the Iyo Tachibana family. Tachibana Tôyasu, who executed Fujiwara no Sumitomo, was the progenitor of this branch; Kusunoki Masashige, a celebrated pro-Imperial commander of the 14th century, claimed descent from Tôyasu.

Significant members of the Tachibana clan

See Also

This article is about the Tachibana (橘) clan of court nobles. For the Tachibana (立花) samurai clan, see Tachibana clan (samurai).


This article was written by User:LordAmeth and contributed to both S-A and Wikipedia; the author gives permission for his work to be used in this way.

  1. Frederic, Louis (2002). "Japan Encyclopedia." Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.