Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Tokugawa Yoshimune (徳川 吉宗 Tokugawa Yoshimune, November 27 1684–July 12 1751) was the eighth shogun of the Tokugawa shogunate of Japan, known for his financial reform. He is best known for dismissing his conservative adviser Arai Hakuseki and instigating the Kyōhō reforms. He is often considered the politically most able Tokugawa shogun after the line's founder Tokugawa Ieyasu.
Yoshimune was born to the Kishu (Kii) branch of the Tokugawa clan. His great-grandfather Tokugawa Ieyasu, when he established the shogunate, had recognized that at some time his main line of descendants might die out. He ordered that in the absence of a descendant from the main line, a successor should be selected from the Owari, Kishu or Mito branch (these three houses were known as the Gosanke 御三家). Yoshimune assumed the position of daimyo of Kishu after two older brothers, who had both held that position in turn, died.
Yoshimune established the Gosankyo (御三卿) to augment (or perhaps to replace) the Gosanke. Two of his sons, together with the second son of his successor Ieshige, became the founders of the Tayasu, Hitotsubashi and Shimizu lines. Unlike the Gosanke, they did not rule domains. Still, they remained prominent until the end of Tokugawa rule, and some later shoguns were chosen from the Hitotsubashi line.
At birth, Yoshimune was given the name Genroku (源六: he was born before the beginning of the Genroku 元禄 era). He later took the names Shinnosuke and Matsudaira Yorikata before assuming his adult name.
Yoshimune in Fiction
Tokugawa Yoshimune was the central character of the television series Abarembo Shogun. This jidaigeki included a few factual aspects of the career of Yoshimune, although the program was mostly fiction.
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