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The Kyoto Shugoshoku Years

The Kyoto Shugoshoku Years



In the early fall of 1862, Matsudaira Katamori, the lord of Aizu, was summoned to Edo Castle for an appointment to a newly created position: Kyoto Shugoshoku, or “Office of the Protector of Kyoto”. For Katamori and for Aizu, the position was advantageous: he personally received a promotion to the court rank of Senior 4th, lower grade (sho yon-i ge), as well as an office salary of 50,000 koku, which brought his domain’s total income from 230,000 koku (together with the 50,000 koku of private territory he administered on behalf of the Shogunate) to over 320,000 koku. However, his retainers were fully cognizant of the dangers of such a job, and two of them- Saigo Tanomo and Tanaka Tosa, rode nonstop to Edo from Aizu, to dissuade their lord from taking the position. Katamori was to ultimately overrule their dissent, and in late 1862, personally led 1000 of his men to Kyoto, paying his respects to the Imperial Court before assuming the duties of Protector of Kyoto.


Thus began what were arguably the most politically charged years of Aizu’s history under the Matsudaira house.


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All contents on the site unless otherwise noted are copyright 2006-8 Armen Bakalian