Lifespan: Tenshō 18 (1590) to 5/11 of Keichō 14 (1609)
Title: Junior Fifth Rank (Lower), Chamberlain, Governor of Hōki
Lord: Toyotomi Hideyori → Tokugawa Ieyasu → Tokugawa Hidetada
Domain: Yonago in Hōki
Father: Nakamura Kazuuji
Mother: Ikeda Sen
Siblings: Kazutada, Jinzaemon (Masatsuna)
Wife: [Formal] Jōmyōin (adopted daughter of Tokugawa Ieyasu) [Consort] Umezato
Children: Kazukiyo (illegitimate)
Nakamura Kazutada served as a daimyō during the Azuchi-Momoyama and early Edo periods. Based in Yonago Castle, he was the head of the Yonago domain in the Aimi District of Hōki Province.
In 1590, Kazutada was born as the eldest son of Nakamura Kazuuji, the lord of Sunpu Castle in Suruga Province. He received one of the characters from the name of Tokugawa Hidetada, adopting the name of Tadakazu, later changed to Kazutada.
Planning for succession
After the death of Toyotomi Hideyoshi in the eighth month of 1598, rival factions formed among those who were either for or against supporting Tokugawa Ieyasu. Kazutada’s father, Kazuuji, had served as one of a group of three senior retainers known as the sanchūrō, or Three Intermediaries, who were tasked with mediating differences between the two other groups of senior leaders in the Toyotomi administration known as the gotairō, or Council of Five Elders, and the gobugyō, or Five Commissioners. After Kazuuji fell ill with a serious illness, he consulted with the chief retainer, Yokota Muraaki, in regard to the future of Kazuuji’s eldest son, Kazutada, and the Nakamura family at large. Muraaki was an uncle of Kazutada. Muraaki then met with Tokugawa Ieyasu at Muraaki’s residence below Sunpu Castle to discuss the situation and, on that occasion, decided to join the Eastern Army under the leadership of Ieyasu. On 7/17 of Keichō 5 (1600), Kazuuji, however, died of his illness just less than two months before the Battle of Sekigahara, having occurred on 9/15 of Keichō 5 (1600).
After the Battle of Sekigahara, in the eleventh month of 1600, Ieyasu followed-up on the meeting with Muraaki, awarding Hōki Province to Kazutada at the age of eleven. Kazutada was transferred to Yonago with a fief of 175,000 koku. Furthermore, Kazutada was appointed as the Governor of Hōki and became a kokushu, or daimyō with a designation that he controlled one or more provinces. Owing to Kazutada’s youth, Ieyasu appointed Muraaki to accompany Kazutada as his guardian and chief retainer.
Contributions of Yokota Muraaki
Muraaki, acting on behalf of the inexperienced Kazutada, managed affairs of the domain. His contributions were numerous. On behalf of Kazutada, Muraaki constructed Yonago Castle with a five-story tower. An ancillary citadel was christened naizen-maru after his name. Muraaki also built the Kannō Temple in Yonago for Kazutada. Other activities included the conduct of a land survey of Hōki Province. To build the town of Yonago below the castle, he relocated citizens from throughout the domain in groups by settlement, constructing new blocks of residences for designated occupations in an area referred to as the Eighteen Villages of Yonago. He also constructed a canal system, directing water from the Kamo River to flow to the outer moats of Yonago Castle connecting to Lake Nakaumi. This enabled merchants and craftsmen to transport a large amount of goods, serving as the foundation for the larger municipality of Yonago.
Jealous of Muraaki’s talents, close retainers of Kazutada, namely, Yasui Seiichirō and Amano Munetsuka, plotted to remove Muraaki as a means to raise their own stature in the family. The pair proceeded to mislead Kazutada to sow confusion. On 11/14 of Keichō 8 (1603), Kazutada then used an auspicious event with his formal wife, Jōmyōin, as a pretext to reproach and kill Muraaki. Muraaki’s son, Shumenosuke, along with Yagyū Muneaki and others, holed-up in Iiyama Castle, but Kazutada requested help from Horio Yoshiharu, the head of the Matsue domain of neighboring Izumo Province, and subdued them.
After receiving news of the incident, Ieyasu was enraged at the killing of Muraaki who Ieyasu himself had appointed. Without further investigation, the ringleaders, Seiichirō and Munetsuka, were immediately sentenced to commit seppuku by the Edo bakufu. Further, Michigami Chōbei and Michigami Chōeimon, as close retainers of Kazutada, were also sentenced to commit seppuku for failing to prevent the incident. Kazutada was confined to the Shinagawa post station (one of the 53 stations along the Tōkaidō). The killing of Muraaki and its aftermath are known as the Yokota Disturbance.
In 1608, Kazutada was granted the Matsudaira surname by Ieyasu. Nevertheless, having killed his uncle, Muraaki, along with being tormented by malicious gossip both inside and outside the castle, on 5/11 of Keichō 14 (1609), he suddenly died at the age of twenty. Two of his servants, Hattori Wakasa Kunitomo and Tarui Kageyu Nobumasa, martyred themselves.
These events occurred during a period when there was a reluctance to permit the succession of samurai families by adopted individuals in cases when the head of the clan suddenly died without a designated heir. Consequently, the vestiges of the Yonago domain were seized by the Edo bakufu. At the Kannō Temple that served the Nakamura family, wooden statues of Kazutada and his martyred servants are enshrined in the sacred hall near the family gravesite.
Outcome for the Nakamura family
After the demise of Kazutada, the Nakamura family ostensibly came to an end, but Kazutada’s consort (Umezato) bore a son (Kazukiyo) who later became a guest of Ikeda Tomotoshi, the chief retainer of Ikeda Mitsunaka, the first head of the Tottori domain in Inaba Province. His stipend was between 100 and 150 koku. Meanwhile, the descendants of Kazukiyo continued to serve under retainers of the head of the clan until the Meiji Restoration. The current head of the family resides in Chiba Prefecture and the descendants of a cadet family in Tottori Prefecture.