Iga-no-kuni /The Summary of Iga Province In Classic Japan
When everybody hears the name of Iga-no-kuni, he/she reminds some imagination
of Ninjas, so they ran through the woods like birds, they used some magical
skills to fraud their enemies to escape, they worked their secret missions
like spies and so on. Iga Province was actually where Ninjas worked on.
Iga-no-kuni was a classic administrative district in Japan in eastern part
of Mie prefecture
, it is in the Iga Valley (Iga Province), so it was located on the west
(Mie), north of Kii
(Wakayama), east of Yamato (Nara), south-east of Yamashiro (Kyoto), and
south of Omi (Shiga prefecture) Province, and Koga County, famous for Koga
Ninja is south of Iga Province. Iga belonged to Tokai-do region, and it
was counted as a lower and close country. Moreover it is a small province,
the area stretched approximately 30km from east to west, and approximately
35km from north to south. The provincial government of Iga was in at Iga
City in Mie prefecture, and Kokubun-ji Temple were also built in the city.
And Aekuni-jinja Shrine in Iga city was registered as Ichinomiya (the first
shrine) of Iga-no-kuni. In 680, Iga was separated from Ise province.
The history of Iga province is very long as it is on the east side of Yamato province. Many Yayoi wares, dotakus (bell-shaped bronze vessel of the Yayoi period) and habitation sites were discovered in the region of Iga province. And also there are many ancient burial mounds built in Kogun period (the tumulus period) , they are imply the influences from the central government in Yamato (Nara). At Jinshin War of 671, the Prince Ooama (later, the Emperor Tenmu) took the way from Nabari to Tsuge in Iga Province to raise his arm in the eastern Japan.
From Nara to Heian period, most lands in Iga province became the private
estates of Todaiji Temle at Nara, Kofukui Temple at Nara, Ise Jingu Shrine
and so on.
In Kamakura period
, Bushi raised their head in Iga province and they invaded many private
estates, that hindered the development of the connection between clans
in Iga and the central government, therefore no clans gained any influential
power to control the province alone. Although many military governors were
appointed from Kamakura
and Muromachi Bakufu, no one gained the power in the province. Then Iga
was controlled by the union of Bushis there.
In Sengoku Period (the Warring States Period), there were over 600 mansions
with their earthworks built by Bushis in Iga so it was in the state of
confusion, that made some stories of Ninja. However Nobunaga Oda, the most
popular Sengoku Busho, quit it, so he struck serious blow against the Bushis
in Iga province at Tensho Iga War in 1581, and he suppressed Iga. In 1585,
Sadatsugu Tsutsui was given the power to govern Iga by Hideyoshi Toyotomi,
one of the popular Busho and the Kanpaku Dajo-daijin (the supreme minister
and chancellor) , first built the castle in Igaueno City.
In Edo period
、Todo Clan moved and control Iga Province. The famous poet Basho Matsuo
was born in Iga, and there are 5 hats related to him in Igaueno City. Then
some writers told he might be a Ninja given some secret missions by Edo Bakufu
. It is very unique idea, and it sounds very good as it is in Iga, the
province of Ninja.
After Meiji Restoration, the classical districts were rebuilt, Iga merged with Ise, Shima and south-eastern part of Kii province to be Mie prefecture in 1876.
Blue represents Tokai-do and No.36 in the map below is Iga-no-kuni.