Niwa clan

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The Niwa kamon.
  • Japanese: 丹羽家 (Niwa ke)

The Niwa of Owari province were descended from the Kodama family. They came to serve the Oda clan and during the time of Nobunaga rose to some prominence. They lost a good deal of their influence after the death of Nobunaga but survived into the Edo Period as jun-kunimochi daimyô, and were granted a special role by the Tokugawa shogunate in watching over the northern provinces.

Niwa Nagashige (1571-1637) was the first Edo period head of the clan. He was initially granted a 10,000 koku domain at Futto in Hitachi province, but was soon moved to Tanakura han, and then in 1627 to Shirakawa han in Mutsu province. There, he was given a special role and obligation in watching over the other daimyô of the region. When the Uesugi, Date, or Satake clan lord traveled to Edo in fulfillment of his sankin kôtai obligations, he was obliged to pass through Shirakawa, thus providing an opportunity for the Niwa to observe the size and strength of their party, and to report back to Edo anything suspicious. Further, when one of these Tôhoku daimyô was unable to depart on time (or at all) for Edo, he was obligated to report not only to the rôjû (shogunate elders) in Edo, but also to the Niwa.

Nagashige's son Niwa Mitsushige was moved to the 100,000 koku domain of Nihonmatsu in 1643, and retained this special role.[1]

Selected Members of the Niwa clan



  • Yamamoto Hirofumi, Sankin kôtai, Kodansha gendai shinsho (1998), 192.
  1. Arai Hakuseki, Joyce Ackroyd (trans.), Told Round a Brushwood Fire, University of Tokyo Press (1979), 281n42.