Date Yoshikuni

Date Yoshikuni
Date Yoshikuni
Lord of Sendai
In office
1841–1868
Preceded by Date Narikuni
Succeeded by Date Munemoto
Personal details
Born October 17, 1825(1825-10-17)
Sendai, Japan
Died July 12, 1874(1874-07-12) (aged 48)
Nationality Japanese
Spouse(s) Takatsukasa Tsunahime (1st wife), Tokugawa Takako (2nd wife)

Date Yoshikuni (伊達 慶邦?, October 17, 1825 – July 12, 1874) was a Japanese daimyo lord of the late Edo period, known primarily for being the commander-in-chief of the Northern Alliance of Confederated Domains during the Boshin War.

During his tenure as lord he was also known by his courtesy title, Matsudaira Mutsu no Kami (陸奥守?).

Early life

Yoshikuni was born at Aoba Castle in Sendai, the 2nd son of the 11th generation lord, Date Nariyoshi. His childhood name was first Jozaburō (穣三郎?), and then Tōjirō (藤次郎?). In 1838, after taking the name Date Toshimura, he became selected as successor to the 12th generation lord Date Narikuni.

Early the following year, at age 14, he had his coming-of-age ceremony in Edo Castle, paying his respects to the shogun Tokugawa Ieyoshi and receiving the "yoshi" character from his name, thus becoming Date Yoshitoshi, and receiving the titles of Chikuzen no Kami and jijū (chamberlain), and the court rank of junior 4th, lower grade.

Late in Tenpo 12, on the shogun's orders, he succeeded his elder brother and became lord of Sendai, holding an income of 620,000 koku and receiving the titles of Mutsu no Kami and Sakon-e gon-shosho. However, despite such a high income rating, his domain was ravaged from the enormous Tenpo Famine, and for the rest of the Bakumatsu era, functioned at an actual economic rating of around 100,000 koku.

Career as Daimyo

Yoshikuni contributed to security efforts in Kyoto in the 1860s, having the Shimodachiuri-gomon Gate of the Imperial Palace under his supervision. In 1868, however, Sendai forces did not get involved in the Battle of Toba-Fushimi. However, in the period immediately following the battle, he was increasingly consulted by Matsudaira Nobunori, lord of Aizu, who wished to use the Date clan's as-yet unmarred reputation in the eyes of the new government in order to achieve leniency for his father, Katamori. Yoshikuni eventually became leader of the Northern Alliance of Confederated Domains, and received the title of shōgun from Prince Kitashirakawa Yoshihisa, who had declared himself the northern emperor, Tōbu. However, because of Yoshikuni's indecisiveness and the confederation's incohesiveness, he was defeated by the combined armies of Satsuma and Chōshū led by Kujō Michitaka, and voluntarily retired, and placed himself in confinement.

The same year, Yoshikuni's fourth son Munemoto succeeded the family headship, and Yoshikuni himself went into retirement, dying in 1874 at age 50. For the purpose of being deified, he did not receive a posthumous, funerary name.

References

Preceded by
Date Narikuni
13th Lord of Sendai
1841-1868
Succeeded by
Date Munemoto

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