Okabe Nobukatsu


Okabe Clan

Okabe Nobukatsu

Izumi Province

Lifespan:  Keichō 2 (1597) to 10/19 of Kanbun 8 (1668)

Rank:  bushō, daimyō

Title:  Junior Fifth Rank (Lower) an Governor of Mino

Clan:  Okabe

Bakufu:  Edo

Lord:  Tokugawa Iemitsu → Tokugawa Ietsuna

Father:  Okabe Nagamori

Mother:  Dōsenin (adopted daughter of Tokugawa Ieyasu)

Siblings:  Kōgenin, Nobukatsu, 与賢, Nagamasa, Yoshimi, Sadanao, sister (formal wife of Oda Nobunori), Yoshi, sister (formal wife of Terazawa Katataka), sister (formal wife of Ōkubo Norikatsu)

Wife:  Daughter of Kuwayama Motoharu

Children:  Yukitaka, Takashige, Toyoaki, Naoyoshi, Masaatsu, Shigetoshi, daughter (formal wife of Matsudaira Yasuteru), daughter (formal wife of Kutsuki Tanemasa), daughter (wife of Mizuno Tadamasa)

Okabe Nobukatsu served as a bushō and daimyō during the early Edo period.  He had the common name of Sakyō.  Nobukatsu served as the second lord of the Mino-Ōgaki domain, the lord of the Harima-Tatsuno domain, the lord of the Settsu-Takatsuki domain, and the first lord of the Izumi-Kishiwada domain.  He held the title of Junior Fifth Rank (Lower) and Governor of Mino.  He was the second head of the Okabe family of the Kishiwada domain.

Nobukatsu was born as the eldest son of Okabe Nagamori.

From his childhood, he was known as intelligent and brave.  In 1614, at the Winter Campaign of the Siege of Ōsaka, Nobukatsu joined his father on the deployment and contributed in the Battle of Tenmaguchi.  In 1615, Nobukatsu also contributed at the Summer Campaign of the Siege of Ōsaka.  In 1626, he accompanied Tokugawa Iemitsu on a visit to Kyōto.  In 1632, following the death of his father, he inherited the headship of the family, becoming the lord of the Ōgaki domain which was the last landholding of his father.  Three months later, however, on 3/19 of Kanei 10 (1633), he was transferred to the Harima-Tatsuno domain.  In the third month of 1635, he served in a security role at Takatsuki Castle and, on 6/23 of the following year, ascended to the position as lord of the Takatsuki domain.

On 9/11 of Kanei 17 (1640), his fief was increased by 8,800 koku and he became the lord of the Izumi-Kishiwada domain. The previous lords, Matsudaira Yasushige and Matsudaira Yasuteru, imposed severe levies and engaged in bad governance, so, after the Matsudaira clan was transferred and Nobukatsu arrived as the new lord, the local residents plotted to make direct petitions and lead uprisings.  Without resorting to force, Nobukatsu listened closely to the opinions of the representatives of the residents regarding their difficult circumstances, and by agreeing to a reduction in levies, prevented the occurrence of uprisings and endeavored to engage in good governance.  To follow the law, the head of the village of Numa, Kawasaki Hisazaemon, was decapitated for the plot.  Nevertheless, among the residents, the governance was much improved in comparison to the conditions under the Matsudaira.

Nobukatsu renovated and expanded Kishiwada Castle including the stone walls and enclosures, in addition to building temples and shrines.  He put effort into civil administration, solidifying the governance of the domain.  On 10/27 of Kanbun 1 (1661), he transferred headship of the clan to his son, Yukitaka, and retired.  Thereafter, he lived a comfortable life, dying on 10/19 of Kanbun 8 (1668) at the age of seventy-two.

Owing to his establishment of the domain and good governance, Nobukatsu was called a benevolent lord.  In particular, he earned the trust of Tokugawa Iemitsu.  He was assigned to Kishiwada to keep in check the Kishū-Tokugawa family of the Kii-Wakayama domain.

In his early years, Nobukatsu learned the tea ceremony from Furuta Oribe (Shigenari), becoming his top disciple of the Oribe style of the tea ceremony.