Ōta Dōkan

Portrait of Ōta Dōkan

Ōta Dōkan (太田 道灌, 1432 - August 25, 1486), also known as Ōta Sukenaga (太田 資長) or Ōta Dōkan Sukenaga,[1] was a Japanese samurai warrior-poet, military tactician and Buddhist monk. Ōta Sukenaga took the tonsure (bald scalp) as a Buddhist priest in 1478, and he also adopted the Buddhist name, Dōkan, by which he is known today.[2] Dōkan is best known as the architect and builder of Edo Castle (now the Imperial Palace) in what is today modern Tokyo; and he is considered the founder of the castle town which grew up around that Ōnin era fortress.

Ōta clan genealogy

The Ōta clan originated in 15th-century Musashi Province.[3] They claimed descent from Minamoto no Yorimasa, and through that branch of the Minamoto they claimed kinship with the Seiwa-Genji.[4]

The feudal progenitor of the clan name, Ōta Sukekuni, established himself at Ōta in Tanba Province, and he adopted this location name as his own. He traced his lineage as a fifth-generation descendant of Yorimasa.[4]

In a special context created by the Tokugawa shogunate, the Ōta clan were identified as tozama or outsiders, in contrast with the fudai or insider daimyō clans which were hereditary vassals or allies of the Tokugawas.[3]

In, 1638, Ōta Sukemune, the grandson of Ōta Yasusuke, was granted Nishio Domain in Mikawa Province; and then, in 1645, he and his family was transferred to Hamamatsu Domain (35,000 koku) in Tōtōmi Province. Yasusuke's descendants were moved several times by shogunate decree, residing successively in 1687 at Tanaka Domain in Suruga Province, in 1703 at Tanakura Domain in Mutsu Province, and in 1728 at Tatebayashi Domain in Kōzuke Province.[4] Then, in the period spanning the years 1746 through 1868, this branch of the Ōta clan established itself at Kakegawa Domain (53,000 koku)[5] in Tōtōmi.[3]

The head of this clan line was ennobled as a "Viscount" in the Meiji period.[4]