Mutsu Province

Mutsu Province (陸奥国, Mutsu no kuni) was an old province of Japan in the area of Fukushima, Miyagi, Iwate and Aomori Prefectures and the municipalities of Kazuno and Kosaka in Akita Prefecture.

Mutsu Province is also known as Ōshū (奥州) or Michinoku (陸奥 or 道奥). The term Ōu (奥羽) is often used to refer to the combined area of Mutsu and the neighboring province Dewa, which together make up the entire Tōhoku region.


Invasion by the Kinai government

Mutsu, on northern Honshū, was one of the last provinces to be formed as land was taken from the indigenous Emishi, and became the largest as it expanded northward. The ancient regional capital of the Kinai government was Tagajō in present-day Miyagi Prefecture.

Prosperity of Hiraizumi

In 1095, the Ōshū Fujiwara clan settled at Hiraizumi, under the leadership of Fujiwara no Kiyohira. Kiyohira hoped to "form a city rivaling Kyoto as a centre of culture". The legacy of the Ōshū Fujiwara clan remains with the temples Chūson-ji and Mōtsū-ji in Hiraizumi, and the Shiramizu Amidadō temple building in Iwaki. In 1189, Minamoto no Yoritomo invaded Mutsu with three great forces, eventually killing Fujiwara no Yasuhira and acquiring the entire domain.[3]

Sengoku period

During the Sengoku period, clans ruled parts of the province.

After the Boshin War

As a result of the Boshin War, Mutsu Province was divided by the Meiji government, on 19 January 1869, into five provinces: Iwashiro, Iwaki, Rikuzen, Rikuchū, and Rikuō). The fifth of these, corresponding roughly to today's Aomori Prefecture, was assigned the same two kanji as the entire province prior to division; however, the character reading was different.[4] Due to the similarity in characters in the name, this smaller province has also sometimes been referred to as 'Mutsu'.


Under Ritsuryō

Meiji Era

See also


  1. Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric. (2005). "Mutsu" in Japan Encyclopedia, p. 676, p. 676, at Google Books.
  2. Titsingh, p. 119., p. 119, at Google Books
  3. Sansom, George (1958). A History of Japan to 1334. Stanford University Press. p. 254,326–328. ISBN 0804705232.
  4. "地名「三陸地方」の起源に関する地理学的ならびに社会学的問題" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-18.岩手大学教育学部)


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