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The ?kubo clan traces its origins to 16th century Mikawa Province. The ?kubo claimed descent from the Utsunomiya clan, descendants of Fujiwara no Michikane (955-995). ?kubo Tadatoshi (1499-1581) and his younger brother ?kubo Tadakazu (1511-1583) were the first to abandon the Utaunomiya name for "?kubo". Both brothers were among the seven closest retainers of Matsudaira Hirotada, the father of Tokugawa Ieyasu.
?kubo Tadayo (1531-1593), the son of ?kubo Tadakazu, participated as a general in all the military campaigns of Tokugawa Ieyasu. In 1590, upon the transfer of Ieyasu to the Kant? region, he was rewarded with formal recognition as a daimy?, and the clan was established in the han of Odawara (45,000 koku) in Sagami Province, where the ?kubo were made castellans Odawara Castle. The main branch of ?kubo clan consists of his family and their descendants.
A cadet branch was created in 1601 for ?kubo Tadasuke (1537-1613), the second son of ?kubo Tadakazu, who had served as a general in the armies of Tokugawa Ieyasu. ?kubo Tadasuke was given Numazu Castle and assigned Numazu Domain (20,000 koku) in Suruga Province; however, he died without leaving any heirs, and the domain reverted to the shogunate.
A cadet branch of the ?kubo was created in 1684. The descendants of ?kubo Tadatame (1554-1616), the sixth son of ?kubo Tadakazu, has served as hatamoto to the Tokugawa shogunate. In 1687, ?kubo Tadataka had amassed a revenue base of 10,000 koku, which qualified him to join the ranks of the daimy?. His son, ?kubo Tsuneharu (1675-1728) was assigned to Karasuyama Domain (30,000 koku) in Shimotsuke Province in 1725, where his descendants remained until the Meiji restoration. The head of this clan line, ?kubo Tadayori, was ennobled as a "Viscount" in the Meiji period.
A cadet branch of the ?kubo was created in 1706. This clan line was instituted for the descendants of ?kubo Norihiro (1657-1737), who were installed at Ogino-Yamanaka Domain (13,000 koku) in Sagami Province from 1718 through 1868. The head of this clan line was ennobled as a "Viscount" in the Meiji period.
In 1877, a former samurai from Suruga Province, ?kubo Ichio (1817-1888) was ennobled as a "Viscount" under the kazoku system. ?kubo Ichio had served as councilor to the last five Tokugawa sh?guns, and during the Boshin War, had served as an emissary for Tokugawa Yoshinobu to negotiate the surrender of Edo to imperial forces. Under the Meiji government, he served as appointed governor of Shizuoka (1870) and Kyoto (1875), and as a member of the Genr?in (1877). He was also known as ?kubo Tadahiro.