Tokugawa Iemochi

Tokugawa Iemochi

nihongo|Tokugawa Iemochi|徳川 家茂 (July 17, 1846–July 20, 1866) was the 14th shogun of the Tokugawa shogunate of Japan, who held office 1858 to 1866.cite web |url= |title=Japan:Memoirs of a Secret Empire |accessdate=2007-08-11 |format= |work= PBS ] During his reign, there was much internal turmoil caused by the first major contact with the United States which occurred under Commodore Perry in 1853 and 1854. Iemochi's reign was also accompanied by a weakening of the shogunate.


Iemochi, known in his childhood as Kikuchiyo, was the eldest son of the 11th generation Wakayama domain lord Tokugawa Nariyuki, and was born in the domain's residence in Edo (modern-day Minato-ku in Tokyo).

In 1847, at age 1, he was adopted as the heir of the 12th generation daimyo Tokugawa Narikatsu, and succeeded him in 1849, taking the name Tokugawa Yoshitomi following his coming of age in 1851. However, in 1858 he was named as the successor to the main Tokugawa house due to the 13th shogun, Iesada, being heirless. The choice of Yoshitomi was not without conflict; there were other factions in the government who supported Tokugawa Yoshinobu or Matsudaira Naritami for shogun; it must be said that both of them, as opposed to Iemochi, were adults. It was upon assuming the office of shogun that Yoshitomi changed his name to Iemochi. On April 22, 1863 ("Bunkyū 3, 5th day of the 3rd month"), Shogun Iemochi travelled in a great procession to the capital. He had been summoned by the emperor, and had 3,000 retainers as escort. This was the first time since the visit of Iemitsu in the "Kan'ei" era, 230 years before, that a shogun had visited Kyoto. [Ponsonby-Fane, Richard. (1956). "Kyoto: the Old Capital of Japan, 794-1869," p. 325.]

As part of the "Kōbu Gattai" ("Union of Court and Bakufu") movement, Iemochi was married to Imperial Princess Kazu-no-Miya Chikako daughter of Emperor Ninkō, and younger sister of Emperor Kōmei, but his early death, at the age of 20, put an end to the short marriage. The cause of death is widely reported as heart failure due to beriberi, a disease caused by thiamine (vitamin B1) deficiency.

His successor, Yoshinobu, would be the last Tokugawa shogun, seeing an end to the shogunate which gave way to the Meiji Restoration.

Eras of Iemochi's "bakufu"

The years in which Iemochi was shogun are more specifically identified by more than one era name or "nengō".
* "Ansei" (1854-1860)
* "Manen" (1860-1861)
* "Bunkyu" (1861-1864)
* "Genji" (1864-1865)
* "Keiō" (1865-1868)

In Fiction

Tokugawa Iemochi is featured in the 2008 NHK "Taiga" drama, "Atsuhime". He is portrayed by Matsuda Shota.



Further reading

*"Rekishi Dokuhon" Jan. 2006 issue: "Tokugawa Shōgun-ke to Matsudaira Ichizoku"
*"Tokugawa Iemochi to sono jidai: wakaki shōgun no shōgai" 徳川家茂とその時代: 若き将軍の生涯. Tokyo: Tokugawa kin'en zaidan 徳川記念財団, 2007.
*Totman, Conrad. (1980). "The Collapse of the Tokugawa Bakufu, 1862-1868". Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press.

External links

* [ of Iemochi]
*Japanese Wikipedia entry
* Bunkyū 3 procession of Shogun Iemochi towards Kyoto [ -- link to digitized image of woodblock print by Utagawa Tsuyanaga]

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