Oldest Families in Japan

Oldest Families in Japan

Japan is home to many things, like its stunning architecture, delicious food, and beautiful landscape. This country is also home to some of the world’s oldest families, and in this article, we’re going to take a closer look at them. These families have been around for several centuries now, and each one of them has a rich and varied history. Let’s dive right in to learn more about them. 

The 3 Oldest Families in Japan

3. Akechi Clan

Year founded: Early-mid 16th Century
Founder of the family: Akechi
Current number of members: Unknown

Akechi ClanPhoto Source: Wikimedia Commons

The Akechi clan is one of the oldest families in Japan. They are known for being a part of the larger Toki clan, a family that descended from Minamoto no Yorimitsu. Based on our research, we discovered that the Akechi clan was at its best during the Sengoku period, which was during the 16th century. 

Some of the important members of this family have included Akechi Mitsuhide, who was a Samurai, Hosokawa Gracia, and Akechi Mitsutsuna. 

Did you know?

The Akechi clan became less prominent after the Battle of Yamakazi.

2. Ashina clan

Year founded: 1092 Century
Founder of the family: Miura Yoshiaki
Current number of members: Unknown

Ashina clanPhoto Source: Wikimedia Commons

The Ashina Clan descends from the Taira clan, which in turn is a descendant of the Muira clan. This family has two branches, namely Aizu-Ashina and Sagami-Ashina.  

They have played a small role in Japanese media. For instance, Futaroh Yamada’s novel Yagyu Ninpocho features the Ashina family after they were defeated by the Masamune. They are also prominently featured in the video game Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. 

Did you know? 

The Ashina family’s demise began after Data Masumane defeated them in 1598.

1. Imperial House of Japan

Year founded: 5 December AD 539
Founder of the family: Emperor Kinmei
Current number of members: 17

Imperial House of JapanPhoto Source: Wikimedia Commons

In addition to being the oldest known family in Japan, the Japanese Royal Family is one of the oldest families in the entire world! It’s interesting to note that this family can trace its origins back to 97 BCE. This family is also referred to as the House of Yamato and the Imperial Family. 

All of the members of this family perform various public duties, but many of its members don’t have an official role in the government or in governmental affairs. This monarchy is still patriarchal, with emperors passing their duties on to their sons. Over the years, this family has seen 126 monarchs, the first of whom was Emperor Jimmu. 

Did you know? 

The Japanese Royal family is one of the world’s richest families, even today.


In this article, we took a closer look at three of Japan’s oldest families. Although these families have been around for several centuries, tracing some of their histories is tough due to the lack of physical evidence detailing their stories. However, we’re sure that if we got to speak to some of their members in person, this article would be several pages long! Still, we hope you learned something new and that you will continue doing your own research. 

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