Saturday, September 17 1921: Tadamichi SAKAI, a former Feudal lord, passed away.

1921 (Taisho 10) On Saturday, September 17, the 14th head of the Sakai family in the Shonai Clan of Dewa Province, Tadamichi SAKAI, passed away. He was 66 years old. He is the younger brother of the famous Tadazumi Sakai and Tadamichi Sakai brothers at the end of the Edo period.

The Shonai Domain was based in today’s Tsuruoka City and was ruled by the Sakai clan, a fudai daimyo (a daimyo in hereditary vassal to the Tokugawa family), throughout the Edo period. Fudai daimyo are usually transferred frequently, or transferred to another province, in order to separate them from the resident landlord aspect, but the Sakai family of Shonai Domain is a rare example of fudai daimyo who never transferred. In 1840 (Tenpo 11), however, there was a famous plan to change three different territories: the Matsudaira family of the Musashi-Kawagoe Domain, the Makino family of the Echigo-Nagaoka Domain, and the Sakai family of the Dewa-Shonai Domain. In the end, a direct appeal by the people of the Shonai Domain led to the withdrawal of the transfer of the sanpo fief, and the decline in the leadership of the shogunate came to the surface.

In the Boshin War at the end of Edo period, Shonai Domain together with Aizu Domain became the central power of Ouetsu-reppan alliance. As a result, Tadazumi Sakai, the lord of the domain at the time, was placed under house arrest and his younger brother Tadamichi Sakai became lord of the domain. These brothers seem to have been on very good terms with each other, so in 1872 (Ming 5) the older brother went to Germany, followed by 1873 (Ming 6) by younger brothers, one after another. Both brothers spent time in Germany. After returning to Japan, 1880 (Ming 13) Tadamichi SAKAI transferred the headship of the family to his older brother Tadazumi and retired.

This younger brother, Tadamichi’s second daughter, Saneko, is famous for having married Zennosuke YASUDA (later Zenjiro II), the eldest son of Zenjiro YASUDA, the founder of the Yasuda Zaibatsu. 100 years ago today, his father, Tadamichi Sakai, passed away, and yet another tragedy awaited him 11 days later, on September 28. His father-in-law, Zenjiro Yasuda, was stabbed to death by right-wing terrorist Heigo Asahi at Juraku-an, his second residence in Oiso-machi, Naka-gun, Kanagawa Prefecture. In other words, for Zennosuke Yasuda (the second Zenjiro Yasuda) and his wife Senko, he lost both his real father and his father-in-law within 12 days.

Zenjiro Yasuda was assassinated because he was portrayed as a cunning man, or a “shameful” or “rich man.” It was revealed after his death that Zenjiro donated and donated anonymously the Yasuda Auditorium of the University of Tokyo, the Hibiya Public Hall, and the premises of Kojimachi Junior High School, Chiyoda Ward. During his lifetime, these donations were unknown and he was misunderstood.

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