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A History of the Japanese People by F. Brinkley

This Tadanao was a grandson of Ieyasu


style="text-align: justify;">If a feudatory committed some crime or died childless, the law required that he should be transferred to another province, or that his successor should suffer a considerable reduction of revenue. Experience showed, however, that as many of the feudatories died childless, there were numerous losses of fiefs, and ultimately it was enacted that a baron might adopt a successor by way of precaution, unless he deferred that step until he lay dying or sought permission to take it before he reached the age of seventeen. This meant that if any feudal chief died before reaching his seventeenth year, his estate was lost to his family. By way of correcting such a hardship, the adoption of an heir was afterwards sanctioned without reference to the age of the adopter, and it was further decided that a man of fifty or upwards might adopt a son even on his death-bed. Finally, in the year 1704, all these restrictions were virtually abolished, and especially the rule that an adopted son must necessarily belong to the family of his adopter.


Although Ieyasu and his successors in the shogunate did not fail to provide large estates for their own kith and kin, they never showed any leniency in dealing with the latter's offences. Ieyasu professed to believe in the potency of justice above all administrative instruments, and certainly he himself as well as

his successors obeyed that doctrine unswervingly in so far as the treatment of their own families was concerned. They did not hesitate to confiscate fiefs, to pronounce sentence of exile, or even to condemn to death. Thus, in the year of Ieyasu's decease, his sixth son, Matsudaira Tadateru, was deprived of his fief--610,000 koku--and removed from Echigo to Asama, in Ise. Tadateru's offence was that he had unjustly done a vassal of the shogun to death, and had not moved to the assistance of the Tokugawa in the Osaka War. Moreover, when his elder brother, the shogun Hidetada, repaired to the Imperial palace, Tadateru had pretended to be too ill to accompany him, though in reality he was engaged in a hunting expedition. This was the first instance of the Bakufu punishing one of their own relatives.

Another example was furnished in 1623 when Matsudaira Tadanao, lord of Echizen, was sentenced to confinement in his own house and was ordered to hand over his fief of 750,000 koku to his heir. This Tadanao was a grandson of Ieyasu, and had shown himself a strong soldier in the Osaka War. But subsequently he fell into habits of violence and lawlessness, culminating in neglect of the sankin kotai system. His uncle, the shogun Hidetada, sentenced him as above described. Under the administration of Iemitsu this unflinching attitude towards wrongdoers was maintained more relentlessly than ever. The dai nagon, Tadanaga, lord of Suruga and younger brother of Iemitsu by the same mother, received (1618) in Kai province a fief of 180,000 koku, and, seven years later, this was increased by Suruga and Totomi, bringing the whole estate up to 500,000 koku. He resided in the castle of Sumpu and led an evil life, paying no attention whatever to the remonstrances of his vassals. In 1632, Iemitsu confiscated his fief and exiled him to Takasaki in Kotsuke, where he was compelled to undergo confinement in the Yashiki of Ando Shigenaga. Fourteen months later, sentence of death was pronounced against him at the early age of twenty-eight.

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