Tokugawa Ienobu

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Grave of Tokugawa Ienobu at Zôjô-ji
  • Born: 1662/4/25
  • Died: 1712/10/14
  • Shogun: 1709-1712
  • Other Names: 文昭院 (Bunshô-in), 徳川綱豊 (Tokugawa Tsunatoyo), 虎松 (Toramatsu)
  • Japanese: 徳川家宣 (Tokugawa Ienobu)

Tokugawa Ienobu was the sixth shogun of the Tokugawa shogunate. His reign, lasting from 1709 to 1712, saw numerous reforms guided by Confucian scholar Arai Hakuseki. Manabe Akifusa and Hayashi Nobuatsu were also prominent advisors to Ienobu. These included numerous steps taken both domestically and in foreign relations ritual to construct a Japanocentric regional order.

Life and Career

Ienobu was born Toramatsu, the eldest son of Tokugawa Tsunashige (lord of Kôfu han, son of Shogun Tokugawa Iemitsu) and Ohora-no-kata (aka Chôshôin). He was later adopted by his uncle, Shogun Tokugawa Tsunayoshi. He was named shogunal heir in 1704, and was officially invested as shogun by the emperor on 1709/5/1, changing his name from Tokugawa Tsunatoyo to Ienobu at some point around this time.

Ienobu repromulgated the buke shohatto in 1710, the third time these rules for military houses had been issued. He also abolished Tsunayoshi's shôrui awaremi no rei (kindness to animals laws).

He had his first son by Okomu no kata, also known as Hôshin-in, but the boy, who was named Iechiyo, died in infancy, two months after being born.[1] He later had two other concubines, Renjô-in and Gekkô-in. He had at least one son with Renjô-in who also died in infancy. Gekkô-in gave him his fourth son, Tokugawa Ietsugu, who eventually succeeded him as shogun.

Ienobu died in 1712. His son Tokugawa Ietsugu was named Shogun the following year. Ienobu's grave at Zôjô-ji is today among the best preserved of the shogunal tombs, and provides some indication of the likely style and construction of those shogunal tombs which are no longer extant today.

Preceded by:
Tokugawa Tsunayoshi
Tokugawa Shogunate
Succeeded by:
Tokugawa Ietsugu


  • "Tokugawa Ienobu," Nihon jinmei daijiten 日本人名大辞典, Kodansha 2009.
  1. Arai Hakuseki, Joyce Ackroyd (trans.), Told Round a Brushwood Fire, University of Tokyo Press (1979), 287n143.; Cecilia Segawa Seigle, “Tokugawa Tsunayoshi and the Formation of Edo Castle Rituals of Giving,” in Martha Chaiklin (ed.), Mediated by Gifts: Politics and Society in Japan 1350-1850, Brill (2017), 126.