The rise and fall of the Kuroda clan (1600-1868)

In 1600, Kuroda Nagamasa was awarded the domain of Chikuzen (which includes Fukuoka and Akizuki) from Tokugawa Ieyasu, who won the Battle of Sekigahara. Nagamasa formed a castle town called "Fukuoka" there and became the first lord of Fukuoka domain. In 1623, Nagagamasa's will let Tadayuki, the second feudal lord, give his younger brother Nagaoki 50,000 koku (koku is the area of land that can grow 150kg of rice) around Akizuki. This allowed for the construction of the castle and 400 years of Kuroda clan dominance.

During the Edo Period the Akizuki area became known for its agricultural products. Two of these, kuzu (arrowroot) and kawatake (riverweed), became Akizuki’s offerings to the Tokugawa Shoguns. Both remain in production and can be sampled in the village today.

In 1774 the 7th generation of Kuroda feudal lords, Nagakata, died surprisingly young, at the age of 18. The family hid this fact from the public and only the following year did they appoint the 8th lord, Kōzaburō (the second son of Lord Tanehide Akizuki, the Lord of Hyuga-takanabe domain), who would later become Naganobu.

One of Naganobu’s greatest achievements is still visible today: Akizuki’s Megane (spectacles) bridge, which was completed in the 7th year of the Bunka period (1810). The bridge had been continually damaged by traffic and flooding.

The project was inspired by the city of Nagasaki’s own bridge built over the Nakashima River. Under the management of chief retainer Miyazaki Oribe, construction took nearly two years but the bridge collapsed just before it was completed. Some believe that this incident hastened the death of Naganobu, who was in bed at the time and was never able to see the completed bridge.

The final feudal lord of the Chikuzen-Fukuoka domain was the 12th generation, Nagatomo, who was a fan of Noh (traditional Japanese theatre) and supported many performances. After Nagatomo the Kuroda domain’s control in Akizuki came to an end with the Meiji Restoration in 1868. The age of the samurai ended with the restoration of the emperor and the transfer of power from the Edo rulers of the Tokugawa family.

Please select a language