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The Hosokawa Lords and the Matsui Family
Mar 12 at 10:00 am - May 8 at 4:30 pm
The Hosokawa family boasted a long history as influential feudal lords until the end of the Edo period. While many feudal families were doomed to ruin, the Hosokawa family survived the turbulent period which included multiple leadership changes. One factor for the Hosokawa family’s prosperity was the contribution of the Matsui, the senior vassal family that served the Hosokawa.
The first head, Matsui Yasuyuki (1550-1612), was an excellent strategist who helped the Hosokawa lords to achieve success in the battles. Toyotomi Hideyoshi highly respected Yasuyuki, and wanted to employ him, but his loyalty towards the Hosokawa family did not allow him to accept Hideyoshi’s proposal. The second head, Okinaga (1582-1661), supported the Hosokawa family for fifty years with informed and honest advice and consultation. The cultural legacies of the Matsui family were handed down to the present and are stored in Matsui Bunko in Yatsushiro City, Kumamoto Prefecture.
Matsui Bunko also houses documents and works of Sen no Rikyu, Furuta Oribe, and the great swordsman Miyamoto Musashi, who had close connections with the family. These include rare objects such as Sen no Rikyu’s letter asking Yasuyuki to express his gratitude to the second head, Hosokawa Tadaoki, and Furuta Oribe for having come to see him off when Rikyu incurred the anger of Hideyoshi and was expelled from Kyoto, and ink paintings by Miyamoto Musashi, who was invited to the Hosokawa clan of Kumamoto as a guest through the introduction of Okinaga.
This exhibition sheds light on the relationship between the families of samurai lords and their senior vassals by assembling heirlooms from Eisei Bunko Museum and Matsui Bunko collections in one place for the first time in Tokyo.