|Former province of Japan|
Map of Japanese provinces (1868) with Mutsu Province highlighted
Mutsu Province is also known as ?sh? () or Michinoku ( or ). The term ?u () is often used to refer to the combined area of Mutsu and the neighboring province Dewa, which together make up the entire T?hoku region.
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Mutsu, on northern Honsh?, was one of the last provinces to be formed as land was taken from the indigenous Emishi, and became the largest as it expanded northward. The ancient regional capital of the Kinai government was Tagaj? in present-day Miyagi Prefecture.
In 1095, the ?sh? Fujiwara clan settled at Hiraizumi, under the leadership of Fujiwara no Kiyohira. Kiyohira hoped to "form a city rivaling Kyoto as a centre of culture". The legacy of the ?sh? Fujiwara clan remains with the temples Ch?son-ji and M?ts?-ji in Hiraizumi, and the Shiramizu Amidad? temple building in Iwaki. In 1189, Minamoto no Yoritomo invaded Mutsu with three great forces, eventually killing Fujiwara no Yasuhira and acquiring the entire domain.
During the Sengoku period, clans ruled parts of the province.
As a result of the Boshin War, Mutsu Province was divided by the Meiji government, on 19 January 1869, into five provinces: Iwashiro, Iwaki, Rikuzen, Rikuch?, and Riku?). The fifth of these, corresponding roughly to today's Aomori Prefecture, was assigned the same two kanji as the entire province prior to division; however, the character reading was different. Due to the similarity in characters in the name, this smaller province has also sometimes been referred to as 'Mutsu'.