Aizu comprises the western third of Fukushima Prefecture
|o Total||5,420.69 km2 (2,092.94 sq mi)|
(1 October 2017)
|o Density||50/km2 (130/sq mi)|
Aizu () is the westernmost of the three regions of Fukushima Prefecture, Japan, the other two regions being Nakad?ri in the central area of the prefecture and Hamad?ri in the east. As of October 1, 2010, it had a population of 291,838. The principal city of the area is Aizuwakamatsu.
During the Edo period, Aizu was a feudal domain known as Aizu Domain (, Aizu-han). It was part of Mutsu Province; the area once was part of Iwase Province in the 8th century and, before the prefectural system, Iwashiro Province. Although never an official province in its own right, Aizu was considered as such de facto, and even today local Japan Rail stations prefix "Aizu-" to names instead of "Iwashiro-", as it was for stations around the center of Fukushima Prefecture. The only other domain to hold this privilege is Tsugaru Domain in western Mutsu Province (Aomori Prefecture).
The daimy? over much of the Edo period was from the Hoshina family. They had been senior retainers of the Takeda family, and in the early 17th century the head of the family, Hoshina Masamitsu, adopted the illegitimate son of the second Tokugawa sh?gun Hidetada. As a result, the Hoshina family's fortunes rose, with larger and larger fiefs being given to them, until finally they were moved to Aizu, then rated at 240,000 koku, in the mid-17th century. Hoshina Masayuki, the adopted head of the family, rose in prominence while his half-brother Tokugawa Iemitsu was shogun, and later acted as a regent for his successor, the underage fourth shogun Tokugawa Ietsuna. By the end of the 17th century, the Hoshina family was allowed the use of the Tokugawa hollyhock crest and the Matsudaira surname, and from then on was known as the Aizu-Matsudaira clan, with the name Hoshina being used mainly for internal documents.
In 1822, the Hoshina-Matsudaira line became extinct with the death of the seventh lord Katahiro, at the age of only 15. He was succeeded by the eighth lord Katataka, who was a sixth cousin (twice removed) and a member of the Takasu cadet branch of the Mito collateral line. He died without heirs in 1852 and was succeeded by his grandnephew, the famous Katamori, whose descendants have since headed the family. The present head of the Tokugawa clan, Tsunenari, is also from the Aizu lineage.
In the house code set down by Masayuki, there was a specific injunction to serve the shogun with single-minded devotion, and it was this injunction which the family took great pains to show its adherence to, even if its true objectives were those of improving status and prestige.
Aizu was known for its martial skill, and maintained a standing army of over 5000. It was often deployed to security operations on the northern fringes of the country, as far north as southern Sakhalin. Also, around the time of Commodore Perry's arrival, Aizu had a presence in security operations around Edo Bay.
The domain's two sets of formal rules for its army, the Rules for Commanders (? sh?ch? kinrei) and Rules for Soldiers (? shisotsu kinrei), written in the 1790s, laid down a professional, modern standard for military conduct and operations, including the following two items in the Rules for Soldiers which codified the human rights and protection of enemy noncombatants, over 70 years before the first Geneva Convention of 1864:
"Regardless of whether it belongs to the enemy, trampling and ruining rice fields is forbidden."
"In enemy territory, it is forbidden to rape women, harm the elderly and children, desecrate graves, torch the homes of commoners, slaughter livestock needlessly, pillage money and rice, cut trees without reason, and steal crops in the field."
During the tenure of the ninth generation lord Matsudaira Katamori, the domain deployed massive amounts of their troops to Kyoto, where Katamori served as Kyoto Shugoshoku. Operating under the orders of the Shogunate, they also acted as the first official supervisor and patron of the Shinsengumi. Earning the enmity of the Ch?sh? Domain, and alienating his ally, the Satsuma Domain, Katamori retreated with the shogun Tokugawa Yoshinobu in 1868. Though the Satsuma-Ch?sh? controlled Imperial Court, following Yoshinobu's resignation, called for the punishment of Katamori and Aizu as "enemies of the Court," he took great pains to beg for mercy, finally acquiescing to calls for war later in 1868, during the Boshin War. Though the Aizu forces fought as part of the greater efforts of the ?uetsu Reppan D?mei, they were eventually besieged at Tsuruga Castle, the seat of the Aizu domain, in October 1868.
The Byakkotai ("White Tiger Force"), a group of young, predominantly teenage, samurai, committed seppuku (a form of ritual suicide) on a hillside overlooking the castle after seeing its defences breached.
|Uesugi Kagekatsu (?)||1598-1601|
|Hoshina Masayuki (?)||1643-1669|
|Hoshina Masatsune (?)||1669-1681|
|Matsudaira Masakata (?)||1681-1731|
|Matsudaira Katasada (?)||1731-1750|
|Matsudaira Katanobu (?)||1750-1805|
|Matsudaira Kataoki (?)||1805|
|Matsudaira Katahiro (?)||1806-1822|
|Matsudaira Katataka (?)||1822-1852|
|Matsudaira Katamori (?)||1852-1868|
|Matsudaira Nobunori (?)||1868-1891|
Media related to Aizu Clan Parade at Wikimedia Commons