Tokugawa Nariaki

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Tokugawa Nariaki
徳川 斉昭
Tokugawa Nariaki.jpg
9th Lord of Mito
In office

Tokugawa Nariaki (徳川 斉昭, April 4, 1800 – September 29, 1860) was a prominent Japanese daimyō who ruled the Mito Domain (now Ibaraki Prefecture) and contributed to the rise of nationalism and the Meiji Restoration.



WLA lacma Flower Calligraphy by Lord Tokugawa Nariaki.jpg
WLA lacma Moon Calligraphy by Lord Tokugawa Nariaki.jpg
WLA lacma Snow Calligraphy by Lord Tokugawa Nariaki.jpg
Calligraphy of (L-to-R) "flower", "moon", and "snow" by Tokugawa Nariaki

Clan leader

Nariaki was the 3rd son of Tokugawa Harutoshi, the seventh-generation daimyō of Mito. The family headship first passed to Harutoshi's eldest son Narinobu, before being passed on to Nariaki in 1829. [1] Nariaki was also leader of the Jōi (expel the barbarian) party and made a Bakufu adviser on national defence. [2] His childhood name was Torasaburo (虎三郎) later changed to Keisaburo (敬三郎).

Bakufu official

Nariaki was put in charge of Bakufu efforts to defend the country against encroaching foreigners. His own view was that the bakufu should strengthen its military and fight the foreigners, and was at odds with Ii Naosuke on the issue. He was pro-emperor and favored imperial restoration. Nariaki also greatly expanded the Mitogaku school established by Tokugawa Mitsukuni. He wrote a document entitled "Japan, Reject the Westerners" in 1853. in this document, he stated ten reasons why Japan should stay isolated from the rest of the world. He said that the Japanese people had a choice between war and peace, but clearly to him, the Japanese people should choose war so that Westerners would not intrude into Japan's affairs.

Despite his resistance to Westernization, Nariaki was significantly influenced by the Kokugaku school. [3] Ōkuni Takamasa, a student of Hirata Atsutane attempted to persuade him to combine ritual with technology in order to protect Japan's borders and expand Japan as an empire. This depended on reinvigorating the Japanese "national spirit". [3] Ōkuni and Nariaki therefore laid some foundations for the Meiji restoration as well as the development of State Shinto. [3]

Nariaki and Naosuke fought over who would succeed the Shōgun Iesada, with Nariaki championing his son Yoshinobu. Naosuke, who eventually prevailed, favored the Wakayama Domain daimyo Tokugawa Yoshitomi.


In 1841, Nariaki built Kairaku-en, a garden whose fame lasts to this day.

Nariaki retired in 1844 in favor of his son Yoshiatsu, and died of a heart attack in 1860, at age 60.

Three of the leading figures of the 1860s were in fact natural brothers, all being sons of Nariaki: Hitotsubashi Yoshinobu, who became the 15th and last shōgun as Tokugawa Yoshinobu in 1866; Tokugawa Yoshiatsu of Mito; and Ikeda Yoshinori of Inaba (Tottori). [4]



Writing by Tokugawa Nariaki De Chuan Qi Zhao Hui Hao .jpg
Writing by Tokugawa Nariaki

Published posthumously:



  1. 徳川斉昭
  2. McOmie, William The Opening of Japan, 1853–1855 (Folkestone, Global Oriental, 2006), p. 138
  3. 1 2 3 Josephson, Jason Ā. (2012). The Invention of Religion in Japan. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. pp. 125, 128. ISBN   9780226412351.
  4. Beasley, William. (1955). Select Documents on Japanese Foreign Policy, 1853–1868. p. 11 n3.

See also

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This article incorporates text from OpenHistory.

Further reading

Royal titles
Preceded by Daimyō of Mito
Succeeded by