Matsudaira Takechiyo (1542-1562)

Tokugawa was born into the Matsudaira clan. He was given the name Takechiyo, which became temporary. His parents were teenagers, with his father Hirotade marrying a second wife and siring Ieyasu’s half-siblings. The island of Japan was in conflict during Ieyasu’s earliest years, with clans fighting amongst each other.

Tokugawa Ieyasu (1562-1616)

The name changes among Japanese nobility is common, since it was meant to curry favor from the other nobles.

After going through a series of name changes, he eventually settled with Tokugawa Ieyasu. Tokugawa was originally derived from the name of the grandson of his ancestor named Hachimantaro Yoshiie, who was named Yoshishige who took the name Tokugawa–which in Japanese means “river of benevolence.” Ieyasu derives the “ie” root from the common Japanese practice of taking a root from a venerated person’s name. In the case of “ie,” it was recommended to him from a priest, who derived it from Ieyasu’s ancestor Yoshiie, who was considered a War God’s son.

After many conflicts, Tokugawa Ieyasu would eventually become the Shogun who united Japan under the Bakunfu bureaucracy.


  • Wiktionary
    • 徳川
  • Image Attribution: alexglew.
  • Sadler, A. L. “Shogun: The Life of Tokugawa Ieyasu.” 1st Tuttle Edition. Tuttle Publishing. 1978.

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