Katsu clan

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  • Japanese: (Katsu-ke)

The Katsu family was a samurai family of the Edo period of some distinction, being included in official samurai genealogies. Notable members of the family include Katsu Kaishû (1823-1899) and his father Katsu Kokichi (1802-1850).

Katsu Tokinao was a retainer to Tokugawa Ieyasu in Mikawa province prior to the end of the Sengoku period. Katsu Nobumasa (d. 1777), a great-grandson of Tokinao, held the post of Captain of the Inner Guard (ohiroshikiban), and as a result of his rank enjoyed a stipend of 400 koku. Nobumasa's son Tomomichi (d. 1783)[1] was given a post in the Great Guard (ôgoban) in 1776, and enjoyed a stipend of 200 koku. Tomomichi, however, had no son, and so he adopted his nephew Aoki Motoyoshi.[2]

Motoyoshi had only one child, a daughter named Nobuko; following his death, Katsu Kokichi, a son of the Otani clan, was adopted into the family to be his heir and Nobuko's husband.

Motoyoshi and his immediate ancestors are known to have enjoyed the privilege of audiences with the shogun. Katsu Kokichi, in his autobiography, "Musui's Story," claims the rank/position of hatamoto, which supports this idea. The family's fortunes seem to have declined dramatically, however, during the time when Motoyoshi was the head of the family, and by the time of his death in 1808, the family's stipend had fallen to a mere 41 koku.

Katsu Kokichi and Nobuko had a son, Rintarô, and three daughters: Hana, Jun, and a middle daughter whose name is unknown. Jun married Rangaku scholar and prominent Bakumatsu period pro-shogunate figure Sakuma Shôzan, while Rintarô, under the name Katsu Kaishû, played a key role in the Meiji period establishment of the Imperial Japanese Navy.


  • Craig, Teruko (trans.). Musui's Story: The Autobiography of a Tokugawa Samurai. University of Arizona Press, 1988. pp.xii, 169-171.
  1. Tomomichi's wife appears prominently in the autobiography of her grandson, Katsu Kokichi, but her name is never given.
  2. Motoyoshi was the son of Aoki Sakyô and Tomomichi's daughter (name unknown); he had a brother named Aoki Jinbei.