Date Munezumi

伊達宗純

Date Clan

Daimyō

Iyo Province

Lifespan:  5/5 of Kanei 13 (1636) to 10/21 of Hōei 5 (1708)

Rank:  daimyō

Clan:  Yoshida-Date

Lord:  Tokugawa Ietsuna → Tokugawa Tsunayoshi

Father:  Date Hidemune

Mother:  From the Yoshii clan

Siblings:  Munezane, Munetoki, Munetoshi, Kiku, Ban, Tsurumatsu, Koori Muneshige, Munezumi, Tokumatsu, Munemoto, Takematsu, Matsu, Iwamatsu, Kiyo, Munenori

Wife:  Daughter of Sakai Tadakatsu of the Okuyama clan

Children: Kojirō, Muneyasu, daughter (formal wife of Ikeda Yoshimichi), daughter (wife of Kyōgoku 高令)

Date Munezumi served as a daimyō during the early Edo period.  Munezumi was the first head of the Yoshida domain in Iyo Province in Shikoku, and carried the titles of Junior Fifth Rank and Junior Assistant Minister of the Sovereign’s Household.

In 1636, Munezumi was born in the Edo domain residence of the Uwajima domain as the fifth son of Date Hidemune, the first generation head of the Uwajima domain in Iyo Province.  His mother was from the Yoshii clan. His childhood name was Chōmatsu and, later, Kojirō.

In 1657, Munezumi was granted a fief of 30,000 koku by his father and became the first generational head of the Yoshida domain in Iyo.  Munezumi had a reputation for arrogance, leading to many events associated with the founding of the Yoshida domain.

There are several theories concerning the allocation of the fief of 30,000 koku.  According to the most common theory, Hidemune adored Munezumi, and upon the death of Hidemune’s father, Date Masamune, Hidemune allocated a portion of the fief that he had received for his retirement to Munezumi.  Under another theory, after two of Munezumi’s older brothers died prematurely in succession, Munezumi envied the next older brother, Munetoshi (Hidemune’s third son) for becoming the designated heir, so he plotted with Date Munekatsu (Masamune’s tenth son and younger brother of Hidemune) of a cadet family of the Date known as the Mutsu-Sendai domain, to falsify the written will of Hidemune.  Following allocation of the fief, the Yoshida domain came into conflict with the main family in Uwajima.   Munezumi took care of the wife and children of Date Muneoki (the eldest son of Munekatsu) after he was banished in the wake of the Date Disturbance.

After falling ill, Munezumi was attended to by a wanderer from the Tosa domain named Yamada Chūzaemon, who served as a physician while residing in the Yoshida domain.  This enabled Munezumi to fully recover from his illness.  Chūzaemon, was well-versed in literary and military arts.  Munezumi relied heavily upon Chūzaemon, awarding him a fief of 100 koku that was later increased to 200 koku.  Chūzaemon convinced Munezumi of a financial policy to repeatedly demote senior multi-generational retainers who were receiving high levels of compensation.  This led to a severe conflict between Chūzaemon and the retainers, disrupting the family in an event known as the Yamada Disturbance.  The conflict escalated into an attempted assassination of Chūzaemon, as well as a direct appeal to the main branch of the Date family in Sendai.  Ultimately, Chūzaemon was transferred to the Sendai domain.  The Uwajima domain became involved in the resolution of this conflict, resulting in a settlement.  Under one theory, the Uwajima domain took advantage of the situation to increase their meddling in the affairs of the Yoshida domain.

In 1691, Munezumi retired and transferred control of the family to his second son, Date Muneyasu.  Munezumi died in 1708 and was interred at the Gyokuhōzan-Daijōzen Temple in Uwajima.