Yōshi

Yōshi(養子)

Yōshi and the Family Centered on “House and House Occupation (家業)”

The custom of “yōshi” in Japanese history seems to dovetail into the family centered house and house occupation (家業 ) as I have tried to explain in the paper on House and Kagyō.  How the system was operated among the Japanese, I have no idea; however, after a very few examples from the Matsūra Clan, I think I was able to figure out how it operated in the Matsūra Clan.  

Yōshi and the Matsūra Clan

I believe that up through the feudal era and into the beginning of the Meiji era, the Matsūra Clan had a lot of influence among the various families that made up the Clan.  The Clan was like the umbrella under which these families operated.  The Clan goal was to ensure the more dominant, successful branches continue to thrive.

In so saying, the Clansmen gave up the next generation to whichever family that required a son. 

Yōshi and Our Ancestors

Both my maternal and paternal families would not have been successful if not for the yōshi.  The paternal Harunaga kosekitohon states that, Harunaga Manjiro was adopted by Harunaga Jota prior to his death in 1883 to continue the Harunaga lineage.  

It is being surmised from an E-mail conversation with my cousin Lester Harunaga that states uncle Yoshiaki told Lester that grandfather Manki adopted his younger brother’s youngest son who returned to the Harunaga-ke with the Toyama mon.  Thereafter, the Harunaga-ke has had the Toyama mon.   

We have not been able to find any Harunaga descendants in Japan to verify that Manki returned to Kumamoto in 1953 to adopt his younger brother, Shizuki’s youngest son Mitsuo; however, the kosekitohon states that a new family registry was established on 12 Nov 1958.  All living, unmarried family members with the exception of the family root, Manki moved to the new tree.

I am not sure about the paternal grandmother Hada Shizuko side of the family whether they too were continued by adopted children.  As of today, there is no way to know.

According to the baptismal records at the Madarashima Catholic Church, Japan, my maternal great-grandfather Yamaguchi Genzaburō and his sister Kiya were baptized as infants.  Genzaburō was baptized on 23 Dec 1879.  I don’t know what really happened in the ensuing months because on the baptismal record (my guess written sometime after the baptism) it is recorded that Makiyama Seitaro adopted Genzaburō.

In the Makiyama Kamezō koseki tohon, great-grandfather Makiyama Genzaburō and his sister Kiya were recorded as natural children born to Makiyama Kamezou and his wife Kichi in 1879 and 1883, respectively.  Makiyama Genzaburou was the third son of Yamaguchi Kyuuemon.   Yasuzane (birth name Matsuo Zenjiro Susumu) was an adopted son of the senior Yamaguchi Kyuuemon.  The senior Yamaguchi Kyuuemon adopted the first and second sons of Matsuo Hyouzaemon.  

The Yamaguchi-ke is still being continued with adopted sons.  After Kyuuemon Yasuzane’s eldest son, Gengorō died when he was about 24 without heir, the next generation was continued by a son, Meichi adopted from Kyuuemon Yasuzane’s Matsuo older sister, Mie’s family.  Meichi and his wife Eiko were childless so they adopted the oldest daughter of Kyuuemon Yasuzane’s second son, Kanehiko.  Kanehiko had been adopted by Kyuuemon Yasuzane’s third sister, Yamaguchi Waka’s Yamaguchi of Ishiguchiya so he could not continue the Kyuuemon family tree.  The adopted daughter married outside the family and her daughter returned to the Yamaguchi family to marry another adopted male heir to carry on the Yamaguchi name.  These two are the current Yamaguchi head-of-family.

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1. Harunaga Kosekitohon, obtained from Yatsushiro City, Kumamoto Prefecture, 28 Oct 2011, certified by Mayor Kazutoshi Fukushima and translated.
2. 17 May 2013 & 20 Jun 2013 Nishida E-mail Kudamatsuya, Translated.

©November  2019 by hisiamone