The Echigo-Fukushima Disturbance occurred between the second month of Keichō 13 (1608) and 2/3 of Keichō 15 (1610) as a succession conflict within the Hori family of the Echigo-Takada domain (also referred to as the Fukushima domain). After appeals were made to Tokugawa Ieyasu, a hearing was held that resulted in the removal of the Hori from the Echigo-Takada domain.
In 1598, upon orders of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, Hori Hideharu was transferred from Kita-no-shō in Echizen Province to Kasugayama in Echigo Province with a fief of 450,000 koku. In 1600, at the Battle of Sekigahara, Hideharu supported the victorious Eastern Army so his rights to his landholdings were officially recognized and he became the head of the Kasugayama domain.
In 1606, Hideharu died and was succeeded by his eldest son, Hori Tadatoshi, at the age of eleven. In 1607, Tadatoshi abandoned Kasugayama Castle, moved to Fukushima Castle, and became the head of the Fukushima domain.
Owing to the young age of Tadatoshi at the time of succession, affairs of the domain were managed by the chief retainer, Hori Naomasa (the head of the Echigo-Sanjō domain). In the second month of 1608, Naomasa died. This triggered a power-struggle between Naomasa’s successor, Hori Naokiyo, and Hori Naoyori (Naokiyo’s younger brother of a different mother and head of the Sakato domain). This was compounded by a succession struggle to lead the clan.
In the second month of 1610, Naokiyo appealed to Tadatoshi, slandering Naoyori and requesting that he be ousted. Tadatoshi responded by ousting Naoyori, but, on 2/24, Naoyori himself went to Sunpu Castle and appealed to Tokugawa Ieyasu, complaining of Naokiyo’s arrogant and autocratic behavior.
The Hori family, including Tadatoshi, along with Naokiyo, Naoyori, and a relative named Hori Toshishige, were summoned to Sunpu. On 2/2 of 1610, in the inner citadel of Sunpu Castle, the dispute was heard in a hearing attended by Ieyasu and other senior members of the bakufu including Tokugawa Hidetada. At this time, Tadatoshi submitted written arguments to Ieyasu aimed to protect Naokiyo but, instead, this upset Ieyasu, noting that Tadatoshi was young and weak while Naokiyo should defend himself.
Moreover, in a separate incident, Tadatoshi and Naokiyo had upset Ieyasu. As the head of affairs in the domain, Naokiyo had gathered more than ten monks from the Jōdo and Nichiren sects of Buddhism for a debate, and after the monks from the Jōdo lost, had them all executed as punishment. Ieyasu questioned who permitted the debate and who decided the winner, further noting that it was a foolish and arrogant act, so it would not be surprising if there were more.
Owing to these circumstances, Tadatoshi and Naokiyo lost at the hearing. Calling Tadatoshi young and weak, Ieyasu considered him to be a slanderous retainer who could not discern between right and wrong. He concluded that Tadatoshi did not have the capability to manage a large domain and issued a judgment to immediately seize the Echigo-Takada domain of 450,000 koku. Tadatoshi was then removed from his position and sent to Torii Tadamasa, the head of the Iwaki-Taira domain. Meanwhile, Naokiyo was removed from his position and sent to Mogami Yoshiaki, the head of the Yamagata domain. Despite having prevailed at the hearing, Naoyori incurred a reduction to his fief and was transferred from the Sakato domain to the Shinano-Iiyama domain with a fief of 40,000 koku. As a result, the lineal branch of the Hori clan beginning with Hori Hidemasa came to an end.
On 2/3, Ieyasu transferred the former territory of the Hori clan to the fief of his son, Matsudaira Tadateru, and assigned him to Echigo where he served as a daimyō with a fief of 750,000 koku.
Reasons for decision
From around the time of of Tadatoshi’s grandfather, Hori Hidemasa, the Hori were a daimyō family favored by the Toyotomi. At the time, the Toyotomi clan had a fief of 650,000 koku in the provinces of Settsu, Kawachi, and Izumi. Although the Toyotomi had fallen to the rank of a daimyō family, they wielded significant influence. In particular, with respect to Echigo Province, in the west, Maeda Toshinaga of the Kaga domain had a close relationship with the Toyotomi while, in the east, was Uesugi Kagekatsu who had incurred a reduction to his fief after the Battle of Sekigahara. The territory controlled by the Toyotomi was strategically important to contain those clans. From the perspective of Ieyasu, the fact that the Hori clan was favored by the Toyotomi was not desirable. As a result, there is a theory that Ieyasu took advantage of the dispute within the Hori family as a pretext for removing the Hori from their position.