Katamori Matsudaira
last Daimyo of Aizu

   Aizu-Wakamatsu is a town situated in the west of Fukushima Prefecture. It faces Lake Inawashiro.  The city center was initiated by the construction of a castle by Ashina Family.  The Ashina family had been rewarded and given the Aizu fief for helping the Minamoto establish the first military government of Japan in 1192.

     The mansion constructed by Ashina Naonari in the first year of Shitoku Era (1333) would be the origin of  the castle, completed in 1384 it would be known as Kurokawa Castle. In 1589 Date Masamune took the castle, but his reign was short lived; Gamo Ujisato, a Hideyoshi retainer, overtook it in the 18th year of Tensho Era (1591) to rename it Tsuruga Castle.  In 1643 Hoshina Masayuki was appointed Governer of Aizu by his brother, Shogun Iemitsu. His name was later changed to Matsudaira.  The Matsudaira ruled Aizu till the defeat of the clan in September of 1868.

The Nishinkan

     In october of 1799 the Nishinkan, Aizu Martial arts school, was completed.  The Nisshinkan school was founded by Genko Tanaka.  In 1874, all the buildings including the main donjon were destroyed but in September 1965, it was restored to the initial state.

     Tenshyukaku is the main tower of a whole castle compound and was formed originally from a watchtower built above the habitation during the civil war period of Sengoku (1467-1603). It has become then more and more solid serving as well as a defense function. During Edo period it was considered a symbol of the local daimyo's authority and became more decorative. Beginning from a simple fort or a camp in the civil war period, it became a residence and an administration office during the Edo period (1603-1867). It  served as well as a defense point  by adding a donjon to its center. Those compound buildings as a whole are called "Jokaku".

     In 1868, after a defeat in the battle of Toba-Fushimi, the order was given to subjugate the daimyo Matsudaira Katamori. So, the government attacked Aizu,  Matsudaira opposed it by forming an alliance with about thirty feudal clans of Tohoku Region. They had resisted by holding Wakamatsu Castle even after Edo Castle had surrendered but finally capitulated in September after six months of fierce fighting.  The sacrifice of the Boy's Corps of  Nihonmatsu and the famous collective suicide of  the "White Tiger Regiment"(Byakko-tai), both formed by boys not older than 17, occurred at that moment.

An Overview
Minamoto Yoshimitsu
Shingen Takeda
Tanomo Saigo
Sokaku Takeda