biographies

  1. Tokugawa Ietsuna

    Biographies Tokugawa Ietsuna

    Fourth shogun of the Tokugawa shogunate, eldest son of the third shogun Iemitsu, great-grandson of Ieyasu. The eldest son of Iemitsu, Tokugawa Ietsuna (徳川家綱, 1641-1680) succeeded his father at the age of 10. He was assisted by regents, all leading members of his father’s entourage, including...
  2. Matsudaira Nobutsuna

    Biographies Matsudaira Nobutsuna

    A prominent administrator of the early Tokugawa shogunate, known as Chie Izu (知恵伊豆, “The Clever Izu”). Born to Ōkōchi Hisatsuna, a senior retainer of Tokugawa Ieyasu of modest background, Nobutsuna (松平信綱, 1596-1662) was adopted as the heir of his uncle, Matsudaira Masatsuna, in 1601. He was...
  3. Tokugawa Iemitsu

    Biographies Tokugawa Iemitsu

    Third Shogun of the Tokugawa shogunate, eldest legitimate son of the second shogun, grandson of Ieyasu. Born under his childhood name Tokugawa Takechiyo (徳川竹千代) to his father Tokugawa Hidetada and a younger sister of Lady Yodogimi, a concubine and second wife of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, it appeared...
  4. Tokugawa Hidetada

    Biographies Tokugawa Hidetada

    Second shogun of the Tokugawa shogunate, third son of Tokugawa Ieyasu Born at the castle of Hamamatsu, Tokugawa Hidetada (徳川秀忠, 1579-1632) served as the general of one of his father’s armies in the campaign that led to the Battle of Sekigahara (1600) and the sieges of Ōsaka Castle (1614-15)...
  5. Sakuma Shozan

    Biographies Sakuma Shozan

    Also called Sakuma Zōzan, Shōzan (佐久間象山, 1811-1864) was a progressive samurai intellectual of the Bakumatsu period. Born in Matsushiro, the castle town of the Matsushiro domain (松代藩 Matsushiro-han, modern-day Nagano Prefecture), Shozan studied Chinese learning (漢学) under his father, a...
  6. Josiah Conder

    Biographies Josiah Conder

    British architect, urban planner, and teacher Conder (1852-1920) was the leading foreign designer of public and private buildings in Meiji Japan. The progressive and eclectic appearance of Meiji Period Tōkyō is to a large extent attributed to his buildings, typically designed in red brick with...
  7. Mori Motonari

    Biographies Mori Motonari

    A daimyō and military leader in the Chūgoku Region in western Honshū during the Sengoku Period (1467-1568). Mōri Motonari (毛利元就, 1497-1571), the second son of Mōri Hiromoto (d. 1556), became head of the Mōri clan of Aki Province (安芸国 Aki no kuni) or Geishū (芸州, modern-day Hiroshima Prefecture)...
  8. Sakamoto Ryoma

    Biographies Sakamoto Ryoma

    A pro-imperial activist in the Bakumatsu Period who helped forge the alliance between Satsuma and Chōshū that would eventually topple the Tokugawa shogunate. Sakamoto Ryōma (坂本龍馬, 1836-1867) was born to a rural samurai (郷士 gōshi or 郷侍 gōzamurai) family in the castle town of Kōchi in the Tosa...
  9. Miyamoto Musashi

    Biographies Miyamoto Musashi

    Master swordsman and painter of the Edo period (1600-1868), also known as Shinmen Takezō, Miyamoto Bennosuke, Shinmen Musashi-no-Kami Fujiwara no Genshin (新免武蔵守藤原玄信), and under his artistic name Niten. Miyamoto Musashi (宮本武蔵 1584-1645), born in either Mimasaka (modern-day Okayama Prefecture) or...
  10. Gamo Ujisato

    Biographies Gamo Ujisato

    Also known under his childhood name Tsuruchiyo (鶴千代), as Utahide (賦秀) and under his Christian name Leão, Gamo Ujisato (蒲生氏郷 1556-1595) was a daimyō of the Azuchi-Momoyama Period (1568-1600) and son of Gamō Katahide (蒲生 賢秀, 1534-1584), lord of Hino Castle in Ōmi (modern-day Shiga Prefecture). He...
  11. Senhime

    Biographies Senhime

    Senhime (千姫, 1597-1666) or Lady Sen was the daughter of the third Tokugawa shōgun Hidetada (徳川秀忠, 1579-1632) and the wife of Toyotomi Hideyori (豊臣秀頼, 1593-1615), himself son of the national unifier Toyotomi Hideyoshi. Her mother Tatsuhime and Hideyori’s mother Yodogimi were sisters, while her...
  12. Prince Shotoku

    Biographies Prince Shotoku

    Legendary Asuka statesman and Buddhist As regent for Empress Suiko (推古天皇 Suiko-tennō, 554-628), Prince Shōtoku (聖徳太子 Shōtoku Taishi, 572-622) exercised political leadership, instituting such measures as the Kan’i Jūnikai (冠位十二階, Twelve Level Cap and Rank System) and the Jūshichijō kenpō (十七条憲法...
  13. Sugawara no Michizane

    Biographies Sugawara no Michizane

    Court scholar, poet, and prominent Heian figure Sugawara no Michizane (菅原道真, 845-903) was a leading court scholar, poet, and political figure of the Heian Period (794-1185) who challenged the powerful Fujiwara family and was sent into exile where he died in disgrace. The Sugawara descended...
  14. Ii Naosuke

    Biographies Ii Naosuke

    Lord of Hikone and ill-fated Tokugawa regent Ii Naosuke (井伊直弼, 1815-1860) was the fourteenth daimyō of the Hikone Domain (modern-day Shiga Prefecture) and as tairō (大老, “regent”) of the Tokugawa shogunate the de-facto ruler of Japan for almost two years (1858-60). During his short rule, Ii...
  15. Tokugawa Nariaki

    Biographies Tokugawa Nariaki

    Mito lord and reactionary reformer Tokugawa Nariaki (徳川斉昭, 1800-1860) was the ninth daimyō of the Mito domain (modern-day Ibaraki Prefecture) and father of the fifteenth and last Tokugawa shōgun, Tokugawa Yoshinobu. An active reformer in the domain’s government and a leader in the sonnō jōi...
  16. Tokugawa Mitsukuni

    Biographies Tokugawa Mitsukuni

    Mito daimyō and popular drama character Tokugawa Mitsukuni (徳川 光圀, 1628-1701) was the second lord of the Mito domain, one of the Tokugawa Gosanke (徳川御三家), the three highest ranking branches of the Tokugawa clan, located in present-day Ibaraki Prefecture. He was a grandson of Tokugawa Ieyasu (徳川...
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