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 make up the 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 capital of the Kinai government was Tagajō in present-day Miyagi Prefecture.
- 709 (Wadō 2, 3rd month), an uprising against governmental authority took place in Mutsu and in nearby Echigo Province. Troops were dispatched to subdue the revolt.
- 712 (Wadō 5), Mutsu was separated from Dewa Province. Empress Gemmei's Daijō-kan made cadastral changes in the provincial map of the Nara Period, as in the following year when Mimasaka Province was split from Bizen Province. Hyūga Province was sundered from Osumi Province; Tamba Province was severed from Tango Province.
- 718, Shineha, Uda and Watari districts of the Mutsu Province, Kikuta, Iwaki districts of the Hitachi Province are incorporated into the Iwaki Province (718).
- 801, Mutsu was conquered by Sakanoue no Tamuramaro.
- 869 (Jōgan 10, 5th month): A terrible earthquake struck Mutsu. More than 1,000 people lost their lives in the disaster.
Prosperity of Hiraizumi
In 1095, the Ōshū Fujiwara clan settled at Hiraizumi, under the leadership of Fujiwara no Kiyohira. He hoped to "form a city rivaling Kyoto as a centre of culture." The legacy of the Ōshū Fujiwara clan remains as the Chūson-ji. In 1189 Minamoto no Yoritomo invaded Mutsu with three great forces, eventually killing Fujiwara no Yasuhira and "all his vast domain fell into the hands of Yoritomo."
During the Sengoku Period, clans ruled parts of the province.
- The Nambu clan at Morioka in the north.
- The Date clan at Iwadeyama and Sendai in the south.
- The Sōma clan at Nakamura in the south.
- The Iwaki clan at Iinodaira in the south.
- The Uesugi clan had a castle town at Wakamatsu in the south.
After the Boshin War
As the result of the Boshin War, the Mutsu Province was divided by the Meiji government on 19 January 1869. In this division, five provinces (Iwaki, Iwashiro, Rikuzen, Rikuchū, and Mutsu) were established. The Meiji Mutsu Province was a region in the northernmost part of the main island that corresponds to today's Aomori Prefecture.
At the same time, while the characters of the name were unchanged, the official reading was changed to the on'yomi version Rikuō.
- Iwase District (磐瀬郡)
- Aizu District (会津郡)
- Yama District (耶麻郡)
- Asaka District (安積郡)
- Adachi District (安達郡)
- Shinobu District (信夫郡)
- Katta District (刈田郡)
- Shibata District (柴田郡)
- Natori District (名取郡)
- Kikuta District (菊多郡)
- Iwaki District (石城郡)
- Shineha District (標葉郡)
- Namekata District (行方郡)
- Uda District (宇多郡)
- Esashi District (江刺郡)
- Igu District (伊具郡)
- Watari District (亘理郡)
- Miyagi District (宮城郡)
- Kurokawa District (黒川郡)
- Kami District (賀美郡)
- Shikama District (色麻郡)
- Tamatsukuri District (玉造郡)
- Shida District (志太郡)
- Kurihara District (栗原郡)
- Iwai District (磐井郡) (split into East-Iwai and West-Iwai districts in Iwate Prefecture)
- Isawa District (膽沢郡)
- Nagaoka District (長岡郡) (distinct from the one in Kōchi Prefecture)
- Niita District (新田郡) (distinct from the one in Gunma Prefecture)
- Oda District (小田郡) (now in the city of Tome, Miyagi Prefecture)
- Tōda District (遠田郡)
- Kesen District (気仙郡)
- Oshika District (牡鹿郡)
- Tome District (登米郡)
- Monou District (桃生郡)
- Ōnuma District (大沼郡)
Under Meiji Era
- Aomori Prefecture
- Iwate Prefecture
- Ninohe District (二戸郡)
- Tōhoku region
- Japanese battleship Mutsu, the World War II Imperial Japanese Navy warship named after the province.
- Dewa Province
- Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric. (2005). "Mutsu" in Japan Encyclopedia, p. 676, p. 676, at Google Books.
- Titsingh, p. 119., p. 119, at Google Books
- Sansom, George (1958). A History of Japan to 1334. Stanford University Press. p. 254,326–328. ISBN 0804705232.
- "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).（岩手大学教育学部）
- Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric and Käthe Roth. (2005). Japan encyclopedia. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0-674-01753-5; OCLC 58053128
- Titsingh, Isaac. (1834). Annales des empereurs du Japon (Nihon Odai Ichiran). Paris: Royal Asiatic Society, Oriental Translation Fund of Great Britain and Ireland. OCLC 5850691.
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