Tokugawa Iesada

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  • Born: 1824
  • Died: 1858/7/4
  • Reign: 1853-1858
  • Titles: Naidajin, Ukonoegonnotaishô, Bettô of Junna-in and Shôgaku-in, Genji Chôja
  • Other Names: 徳川家祥 (Tokugawa Iesachi)
  • Japanese: 徳川 家定 (Tokugawa Iesada)

Tokugawa Iesada was the 13th Tokugawa shogun. His reign saw many of the key events of the Bakumatsu period, including Commodore Perry's second arrival in Japan, the Convention of Kanagawa, and the Harris Treaty, and the beginnings of the factionalism and political tensions which would eventually topple the shogunate.

He was a son of Shogun Tokugawa Ieyoshi and Katako (later known as Honju-in), a daughter of Atobe Masakazu.[1]

Iesada married Takatsukasa Atsuko, also known as Arigimi, in 1842, but she died shortly afterward, in 1848.[2] He then married Ichijô Hideko, sister to Gon-dainagon Ichijô Tadaka, in 1849; she died the following year.[3]

Iesada succeeded his father Tokugawa Ieyoshi on 1853/10/23 following Ieyoshi's death earlier that year. One month later, on 11/23, he received his official investiture as Shogun from the emperor, and changed his name from Iesachi to Iesada.[4]

After his first two wives each died, he married Atsu-hime, a daughter of the Imaizumi Shimazu clan, on 1856/12/18.[5]

Iesada died two years later, on 1858/7/4, having named Tokugawa Iemochi, a son of Tokugawa Nariyuki, lord of Wakayama han (who was in turn a son of former shogun Tokugawa Ienari), his successor. Despite efforts by Tokugawa Nariaki of Mito han and others to have Nariaki's son Tokugawa Yoshinobu named shogun, Iemochi successfully took the position, with the support of Ii Naosuke, among others. (Yoshinobu would later succeed Iemochi, however.)

Iesada was buried at the Tokugawa clan family temple of Kan'ei-ji in Edo; while a number of shogunal mausolea were lost to bombings in World War II, Iesada's is among those which survive. Iesada was then posthumously promoted to the Senior First Rank and the title of Dajô daijin. His posthumous Buddhist name is Onkyô-in.[6]

Preceded by:
Tokugawa Ieyoshi
Tokugawa Shogun
Succeeded by:
Tokugawa Iemochi


  • Evelyn Rawski, Early Modern China and Northeast Asia: Cross-Border Perspectives, Cambridge University Press (2015), 161.
  1. Ishin Shiryô Kôyô, vol. 2, 120.
  2. "Arigimi no okata gogekô gogyôretsu no zu," gallery labels, National Museum of Japanese History.
  3. Ishin Shiryô Kôyô 維新史料綱要, vol 1 (1937), 223, 262.
  4. Ishin Shiryô Kôyô, vol. 1, 506.
  5. Kaiyô kokka Satsuma 海洋国家薩摩, Kagoshima: Shôkoshûseikan (2010), 58-59.
  6. Ishin Shiryô Kôyô 維新史料綱要, vol 3 (1937), 41.