World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Tokugawa Ienobu

Article Id: WHEBN0000469826
Reproduction Date:

Title: Tokugawa Ienobu  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Tokugawa Ietsugu, Tokugawa shogunate, Arai Hakuseki, Emperor Nakamikado, Tokugawa clan
Collection: 1662 Births, 1712 Deaths, Tokugawa Clan, Tokugawa Shoguns
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Tokugawa Ienobu

Tokugawa Ienobu
Tokugawa Ienobu
6th Edo Shogun
In office
Preceded by Tokugawa Tsunayoshi
Succeeded by Tokugawa Ietsugu
Personal details
Born (1662-06-15)15 June 1662
Died 12 November 1712(1712-11-12) (aged 50)
Relations Tokugawa Tsunashige (father)
Chōshōin (mother)
Children Tokugawa Iechiyo
Tokugawa Daigoro
Tokugawa Ietsugu
Tokugawa Torakichi

Tokugawa Ienobu (徳川 家宣) (June 11, 1662 – November 12, 1712) was the sixth shogun of the Tokugawa dynasty of Japan. He was the eldest son of Tokugawa Tsunashige, thus making him the nephew of Tokugawa Ietsuna and Tokugawa Tsunayoshi, the grandson of Tokugawa Iemitsu, the great-grandson of Tokugawa Hidetada, and the great-great grandson of Tokugawa Ieyasu.


  • Early life (1662-1694) 1
  • Shogun (1709-1712) 2
  • Eras of Ienobu's bakufu 3
  • Notes 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6

Early life (1662-1694)

Tokugawa Ienobu was born as the youngest son of Tokugawa Tsunashige, daimyo of Kofu, in 1662. His mother was a concubine. Tsunashige was the middle brother of Tokugawa Ietsuna and Tokugawa Tsunayoshi, thus making Ienobu their nephew. In 1662, Ienobu's uncle, Ietsuna was shogun, and his father, Tsunashige, was daimyo of Kofu, a very valuable piece of land to the Tokugawa.

Not much is known of Ienobu's early life except that he was expected to become the next daimyo of Kofu after the death of his father. However, after Tokugawa Ietsuna had died in 1680, and his other uncle, Tokugawa Tsunayoshi succeeded the bakufu, Tsunayoshi's failure to preduce a male heir made the chances of Ienobu much higher to become shogun. Nonetheless, for the time being, Ienobu was not being groomed to succeed to the shogunate but rather to succeed his father Tsunashige as daimyo of Kofu.

Finally, in 1678 Tokugawa Tsunashige died. Thus, Tokugawa Ienobu succeeded him as daimyo of Kofu. He became very powerful there, since his uncle was the shogun.

In 1694, a ronin, Arai Hakuseki, was appointed as personal tutor and advisor to Ienobu. Hakuseki used to be a teacher in Edo, but was recommended by the philosopher Kinoshita Junan to become personal tutor to Ienobu and was summoned to Ienobu's Edo residence. Until 1709, when Ienobu became shogun, it is thought that Hakuseki gave him 2000 lectures on the Chinese classics and Confucianism. Hakuseki became a great advisor to Ienobu until the end of his life.

It was also great training for Ienobu, since even Shogun Tsunayoshi was a great patron of the Chinese classics and of Neo-Confucianism. Hakuseki also wrote a book for Ienobu, known as the Hankampu covering the history of various fiefs from 1600 until 1680.

Shogun (1709-1712)

In 1709, Shogun Tsunayoshi died without a male heir. In genealogical terms, it would have appeared reasonable for the daimyo of Kofu, Tokugawa Ienobu, to be elevated to the role of shogun because he was the only remaining direct lineal descendant of Tokugawa Ieyasu. However, this was a secondary factor in the context of intra-bakufu politics which were carried over from the last days of the Tsunayoshi bakufu.[1] The ultimate resolution of any questions about shogunal succession were probably influenced most effectively by the fact that Ienobu was the expressed preference of the late Shogun Tsunayoshi's wife.[2]

Shogun Ienobu immediately began to reform certain elements of Japanese society. It is often said that he transformed the bakufu from a military to a civilian institution, which was already in the making during the rule of Ietsuna and Tsunayoshi. He started off by abolishing the controversial laws and edicts of Tsunayoshi. The chamberlains, who were given strict power by Tsunayoshi, had all power withdrawn from their hands. Also, in 1710, Shogun Ienobu revised the Buke-Sho-Hatto, where language was improved. Also censorship was discontinued, and Ienobu told his subordinates that the thoughts and feelings of the populace should reach the high levels of the bakufu. This is thought to be Hakuseki's influence. Cruel punishments and persecutions were discontinued, and the judicial system was also reformed.

However there was one remnant of Shogun Tsunayoshi's rule which was not done away with. Neo-Confucianism was still popular and patronized, also thanks to Hakuseki's influence, since he had long lectured Ienobu on the Confucian classics. Economic reform also was ensured, and the gold coin was created to stabilize the economy.

Shogun Ienobu was one of the first shoguns in centuries to actually try to significantly improve relations with the emperor and court in Kyoto. In 1711, the Fujiwara regent, Konoe Motohiro, arrived in Edo from Kyoto to be the mediator for talks between Shogun Ienobu and Emperor Nakamikado and his nobles (in Kyoto). Ienobu took the lead, but Motohiro also appears to have asserted himself. After the talks were over, it was decided that younger sons of emperors do not have to enter priesthood and can form new branches of the imperial throne and that their daughters can marry (in fact, one of the younger daughters of Emperor Nakamikado married one of Shogun Ienobu's younger sons) and that the bakufu would offer financial grants to the court. Many court ceremonies were also revived. Thus, during the rule of Shogun Ienobu, relations with the court were fairly good.

Shogun Ienobu died at the age of 51 in Shōtoku 2, on the 14th day of the 10th month (1712).[1] He was succeeded by his infant son, Tokugawa Ietsugu. The successor was not the son who had married an imperial princess - that was a younger son. Ietsugu became the seventh shogun. He continued to employ Hakuseki as his advisor.

Eras of Ienobu's bakufu

The years in which Ienobu was shogun are more specifically identified by more than one era name or nengō.[1]


  1. ^ a b c Titsingh, Isaac. (1834). Annales des empereurs du Japon, p.415
  2. ^ Screech, T. (2006). Secret Memoirs of the Shoguns Isaac Titsingh and Japan, 1779-1822, pp. 95-97.


External links

  • National Diet Library: photograph of Gate to Tomb of the Sixth Shogun of Tokugawa Family; Shiba, Tokyo (1901)
  • National Archives of Japan: 7 (1710)Hōei scroll illustrating procession of Ryukyu emissary to Edo, Ryukyu Chuzano ryoshisha tojogyoretsu,
Royal titles
Preceded by
Tokugawa Tsunashige
Lord of Kōfu
Tokugawa Ienobu

Succeeded by
Yanagisawa Yoshiyasu
Military offices
Preceded by
Tokugawa Tsunayoshi
Edo Shogun:
Tokugawa Ienobu

Succeeded by
Tokugawa Ietsugu
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.