The history of the Muroga family can be traced back to their time of samurai service to the Kamakura regime during the early 13th century when Jiro Hayashi was dispatched to settle the area that became known as Muroga-Mura.  During 1247-49, Shiota Castle was built east of Bessho Onsen, strategically placed so that Kamakura defenders could repel enemies approaching along the river Chikumagawa from the west.

After the Kamakura government fell in 1333, the Muroga family entered the service of the Murakamis, local warlords to whom the Murogas were related by marriage.  However, in the mid-16th century when Japan was in the midst of a long period of civil war, the Murakamis, then under the leadership of Yoshikiyo Murakami ,were expelled from the region by the Takedas, who were rapidly expanding their control over surrounding territory from their base in the Yamanashi region to the southeast.

The Murakamis retreated northward to the Niigata area, where they sought the military assistance of the powerful warlord Kenshin Uesugi.  Meanwhile, the Murogas, under the leadership of Nobutoshi Muroga,  surrendered to Shingen Takeda.  The Murogas withdrew their support from the Murakamis, and became vassals of the Takedas, who did not themselves settle in the Nagano area.

Beginning in 1553 and lasting until 1561, a famous series of twelve battles between Uesugi forces and Takeda forces known as Kawanakajima No Tatakai took place on the plain of Kawanakajima about 4 km south of Nagano City where the Saigawa and Chikumagawa rivers join.  During these battles, these two great military forces employed brilliant military strategies.  Because of their superior fighting skills, the Murogas fought at the forefront of the Takeda forces, advancing through Muroga Pass to invade Kawanakajima from the south. 

Nobutoshi was a brilliant samurai who gained the strong trust of Shingen Takeda and engaged in major battles for him.  After Shingen's death, Nobutoshi Muroga served Shingen's son, Katsuyori Takeda. 

Nobutoshi Muroga was fighting for the Takedas against the forces of Nobunaga Oda during the famous battle of Nagashino in 1575.  During this battle, Oda's forces used guns to attack Nagashino Castle and decisively defeated the Takedas.  This battle is considered to represent the first significant usage of firearms in Japanese warfare.  Akira Kurosawa's well-known film Kagemusha is based on the battle of Nagashino.

After the Takeda clan was finally destroyed in 1582, Muroga families dispersed to different parts of Japan and entered the service of different warlords.  Some Murogas had previously served an important relative of the Tokugawa shoguns in Nagoya, and the largest number of Muroga families settled in the Nagoya area.

The Tokugawa shoguns came to power in 1600, at first under the leadership of Ieyasu Tokugawa.  Nobutoshi Muroga was hired to serve Ieyasu Tokugawa.  During the Tokugawa shogunate, some Muroga families served directly under Tokugawa shoguns, holding high positions such as bodyguard to the shogun.  Others served Tokugawa relatives or subjects.

 The Sakais were important subjects of the Tokugawa regime, and some Muroga families became vassals of the Sakai clan.  Around 1600, at the very beginning of the Tokugawa era, the Sakai clan moved from the Gunma region to Himeji in the Hyogo region.  Although the Sakais were primarily a political family, Kanpachi Muroga, who served them, was a renowned master of the martial art of the spear.  
As Muroga ancestors had faithfully served another relative of the Tokugawa shoguns in Komoro, some Muroga families went to work for the Makino warlords of Komoro Castle in Komoro City to the east of Muroga-mura. Historic maps of Komoro Castle from around the year 1890 show the homes of Taro Muroga and Kinzaburo Muroga among the rows of samurai homes lying outside of the main castle.

And some Muroga families were hired by the Sanadas, defenders of Ueda Castle, located near Muroga-mura.  The Sanadas had served the Toyotomis, who were finally destroyed by Ieyasu Tokugawa at Osaka Castle in 1615.  The Murogas fighting for the Sanada family in that battle were killed in the ensuing castle fire. 

Masatomo Muroga, a descendent of Nobutoshi Muroga, went to Sado Island, a large island in the Japan Sea off the northern coast of present-day Niigata Prefecture and served as governor of the Sado gold mine directly owned by the Tokugawa government from 1789-1793.  In striving to increase the output of gold, Masatomo worked hard to overcome the problem of constant flooding of this deep mine such that it continually had to be bailed out. 

Another Muroga ancestor became overseer for the construction of Zojo-ji Temple in Shiba in downtown Tokyo.  Generations of Tokugawas were buried in the funerary grounds of this temple.

BRANCHES OF THE MUROGA FAMILY

The Murogas of Hyogo

Kunitake Muroga and his son, Ko Muroga, who are probably descended from those Muroga families who went to Hyogo to serve the Sakai clan after they left the service of the Takeda family, both achieved great success in industry. 

Kunitake was well known as an ingenious businessman.  He led the conversion of Shikishima Bouseki from a minor cotton-thread manufacturer into one of the four giants of that industry prior to World War II.  Ko served as president of NEC America during the 1980s.

The Murogas of Komoro

Chozan Muroga (1802-1883)
Great-grandfather of Saburo Muroga.
Chozan Muroga was originally a member of the Matsui family, who lived in
Utsunomiya in Tochigi Prefecture.  Chozan became a Muroga when he was adopted by Gunzo Muroga, who worked in the service of the Makino family. Chozan married Takiko Akashi in Fukui Prefecture.  In 1877, Chozan moved to Numazu in present-day Shizuoka Prefecture.  While some parts of Shizuoka were locally governed, at that time Numazu was under the direct rule of the Tokugawa regime.
Chozan died in Numazu in 1884 at the age of 81. Chozan and Takiko had eight sons and one daughter; from eldest to youngest as follows:

Sadatada Muroga (1835-1896)
Eldest son and grandfather of Saburo Muroga. 
Sadatada was originally named Mikitaro, but his name was changed to Sadatada.  Sadatada was extremely skilled at kendo (traditional Japanese fencing).  In order to develop his talent, he was sent to study at Genbukan in Tokyo, which was the famous kendo school of Shusaku Chiba, who was the most famous master of kendo of the time.  Genbukan, with 3000 students, was the most popular school of kendo, and the best kendo students of Japan studied there.  Ryuma Sakamoto, a hero of the Meiji Revolution, was a classmate of Sadatada at Genbukan.

While studying kendo, Sadatada kept an official residence in Tokyo and held the official position of costume manager for Yasumasa Makino. Yasumasa was the warlord of the Komoro region, but he resided in Tokyo. 

As Sadatada trained to become a kendo master, he did not have much opportunity to develop his administrative abilities.  Still, when the Tokugawa government collapsed in 1868, Sadatada returned to Komoro to become the manager for the Makino family.  Under the new Meiji rule, life for the samurai changed dramatically.  All of the warlords became noble families of Japan, and their employees, mainly samurais, lost their traditional employment.

Sadatada served the Makino family at Komoro Castle faithfully during this difficult transition until it was complete.  He was known as a man who gained people's trust based on his good heart and honest character.  His kindness, reliability, and commitment to those in his care were fondly remembered by castle staff whom his grandson Saburo Muroga met when he visited the castle in 1983.

When Sadatada lost his position as a samurai, he was forced to leave the family home in Nakadana-machi, Komoro City, where he and his ancestors had lived for generations.  He bought a farmer's house that had only two rooms, and tried to secure employment during this time when it was extremely difficult for displaced members of the samurai class to find occupations.   Finally, he took up a job as clerk for the Komoro City government.  He rented one room of the small house to a maker of tabi (traditional fitted socks).

This house was still standing and in good condition in 1983, when Saburo Muroga visited it.  It happened that the famous poet and novelist of Nagano Prefecture, Toson Shimazaki, had bought the house and lived in it, so this unpretentious farmhouse became valued because of its connection to the literary heritage of Japan, and Nagano Prefecture in particular.  Toson's novel The Family, which is largely an account of the author's own life, poignantly depicts how an ordinary family from the rural mountainous part of Nagano lived during the early 1900s.

However, Komoro City did not want to maintain the house, so it was moved to the courtyard of Teisho-ji temple in Saku City, about six miles south of Komoro Castle.  A small model of the house is displayed in the Toson Museum located on the grounds of Komoro Castle.

Sadatada married Nobu Yamada, who was his niece and the eldest daughter of Yoshinori Yamada, an employee of the Kobama-han clan of Fukui Prefecture, and they had six children.

Sadatada died in 1896 at the age of 60 in the Makino family home in Tokyo. Nobu died in 1919 at the age of 73 in Numazu.

Nobuya Sunaga         
The second son.  The name of his wife is not known.

Sadanao Muroga      
The third son.  Wife Kei.  

Mitsuteru Samoto     
The fourth son.  Wife Tori.

Daughter                 
The only daughter, who died young.

Tomoaki Ohashi        
The fifth son.  The name of his wife is not known.

Rokuro Muroga        
The sixth son.  Wife Makiko. 
Rokuro was lame, but apparently he was very bright.  He was one of seven students in the first class of the medical school of the University of Tokyo.  Ogai Mori, a well known novelist of the Meiji period, was his classmate.  Right after his graduation in 1877, Rokuro was appointed head of Sunto Hospital in Numazu City, Shizuoka Prefecture, one of the small number of regional hospitals that had been established by the Japanese government.  Rokuro's starting salary was 120 yen per month, an extremely high salary for that time.  Such a responsible position, and such a salary for a young, newly graduated doctor, highlights the value that was placed on Japanese doctors who had studied western medicine at that time. 

After some years, Rokuro left Sunto Hospital to found his own hospital in Numazu.  He named it Muroga Byoin (Muroga Hospital).  He then married Makiko.  He hired his nephew, Teiji Muroga, the father of Saburo Muroga, to work at the hospital after Teiji left the Japanese Army.  Another nephew, Sukeyata Muroga, came to live with Rokuro when he was a young boy.

Shichiro Muroga 
The seventh son, who died young.

Hachiro Muroga       
The eighth son, who died young.

The Family of Sadatada Muroga

Sadatada Muroga (1835-1896)        
Eldest son of Chozan Muroga, grandfather of Saburo Muroga.   Sadatada Muroga and his wife Nobu had four sons and two daughters; from eldest to youngest as follows:

Masu Sejimo (1861-1946)                
The eldest daughter.  Masu married Kumanosuke Sejimo, a former samurai of Tatsuoka-han stationed at Taguchi-mura, Minami-saku-gun,  Nagano Prefecture.  Masu died in 1946 at the age of 85.

Sayo Komiyama                                
The second daughter.  Sayo married Takejiro Komiyama of Komoro City, Nagano Prefecture.  She died at the age of 70.

Sukeyata Muroga (1867-1918)        
The eldest son.  Sukeyata moved to Numazu in 1879 to live with his uncle, Rokuro Muroga.  Sukeyata studied pharmacy at the Tokyo Pharmacy School in Tokyo, and after his graduation he became a pharmacy assistant at the Chiba School. 
Later, Sukeyata returned to Numazu where he opened his own pharmacy, which he named Muroga Pharmacy.  This pharmacy was very successful.  Unfortunately, Sukeyata was of delicate health and passed away at the age of 51 in 1918.

Takejiro Muroga                              
The second son.  Takejiro owned a retail store in Tokyo that sold automobile accessories.  Because of the economic and other hardships experienced by Japan during World War II, at the end of the war he was forced to close the store.

Sadamichi Muroga (1872-1920)       
The third son.  Sadamichi was raised by his uncle, Mitsuteru Samoto, who was a county governor (guncho) in Hokkaido.  He died in Kumagaya in Saitama Prefecture at the age of 48 in 1920.

Teiji Muroga (1875-1953)
The fourth son and father of Saburo Muroga.  Teiji was born January 19, 1875 in Nakadana-machi in Komoro City.  His father, Sadatada, was struggling to make a living after he became unemployed as a samurai retainer of the Makino family at Komoro Castle.  He asked his younger brothers, Mitsuteru Samoto and Rokuro Muroga to take care of his three eldest sons; and he asked Yasumasa Makino, the former warlord under whom he served, to care for his second daughter.  His eldest daughter had already joined the household of her husband.  So at last only the youngest child, Teiji, was left at home to be raised by his parents. 

Teiji graduated from grade school, and then attended post-grade school, a two-year extension of grade school education.  Teiji excelled in mathematics, however, he did not have the chance to immediately continue on to higher education. 

Instead, at the age of 16 he was recommended to become a substitute teacher for a grade school at the salary of 3 yen per month.  The following year, he took up a post as a regular grade school teacher for the salary of 4.5 yen per month.  However, this career did not suit Teiji and he resigned after half a year in order to resume his studies.  In particular, he wanted to prepare to enter Rikugun Shikan Gakko, the Japanese Army officer training school.  This school was very difficult to get admitted to, but once students were admitted, they could attend the school tuition-free. 
To prepare for Rikugun Shikan Gakko, Teiji entered the preparatory school Seijo Gakko in 1891 at the age of 18, using up all of his savings.  At Seijo Gakko, Teiji studied hard, sleeping at most only 5 hours per night.  But despite his commitment and serious effort, Teiji failed the entrance examination to enter the officer's school the following year.  His money gone and his goal unfulfilled, Teiji returned to Komoro City determined to continue studying and pass the examination the next time.

In Komoro City, Teiji began working for a shoyu (soysauce) brewery in order to build up savings.  His father, Sadatada, was then employed as the manager for a silk thread manufacturing company, but when he received an offer to become the manager for the Makino family, then living in Tokyo,  and he took up this position.  This made it easier for Teiji to resume his studies at Seijo Gakko, as he and his parents took up residence at the Makino family home.  Finally, Teiji was admitted to Rikugun Shikan Gakko, and he graduated as a member of the school's 10th class.
 In 1905, Teiji married Ken Abe, a young woman 10 years his junior. Ken's father was the station master of a government railroad station in Numazu, and they had eight children, two of whom died young.

Teiji served the Japanese Army in China during the Sino-Japanese War (1894-5), and in Manchuria during the Russo-Japanese War (1904-5).  During this war, Teiji was wounded during the great battle between Japanese forces and the Russian Army at Mukuden in 1905. 

In 1917, at the age of 41, Teiji retired from the Japanese Army at the rank of major.  He then went to Numazu to work as the business manager of Muroga Hospital, the hospital founded by his uncle, Rokuro Muroga.

Teiji died at the age of 78 in 1953.  During his lifetime, he experienced severe hardship and poverty twice; first when he was young, at the time of the transition from the Tokugawa period to the Meiji period when members of the samurai class lost their social status and means of livelihood, and second when he was old, at the time of World War II and the defeat of Japan.



The Family of Teiji Muroga

Teiji Muroga (1875-1953)                
The fourth son and father of Saburo Muroga.  Teiji and Ken had eight children, two of whom died young.  The other six, from eldest to youngest are as follows.  

Yukiko Suzuki (1908-1990)
The eldest daughter.  Yukiko was born March 22, 1908.  She married a landowner of a village near Numazu City.  She died on August 9, 1990.

Toshiko Watanabe (1913-1947)
The second daughter.  Toshiko was born May 5, 1913 at Tsuruga Kushibayashi.  She married a landowner of Chiba Prefecture.  She February 15, 1947 at Nittano, Azuma-mura in Isumi in Chiba Prefecture.

Sadanobu Muroga (1916-1994)
The eldest son.  Sadanobu was born March 31, 1916 at Tsurugu Mishima.  After graduating from the School of Political Science and Economics at Waseda University, he joined the think-tank of Manchuria Railway.  At the end of World War II, he returned to Waseda University where he taught as an instructor in the School of Political Science and Economics. 

Later, he left the university for industry, taking up executive positions at Nihon Joshidai and some small insurance companies.  He died October 5, 1994 in Tokyo.

Ayako Muroga
The third daughter.  She died young, when she was about 15.

Saburo Muroga (1925-)        
The third son.

Takeo Muroga (1928-1989) 
The fourth son.  Takeo graduated from Butsurigakko (now Tokyo Rika Daigaku).  He joined Japan IBM.  He died in 1989.

The Family of Saburo Muroga

 Saburo Muroga married Yoko Nakamura from Toyohashi, Aichi Prefecture, in 1956.  Yoko is skilled at Japanese calligraphy and traditional sumi ink drawing, and she teaches these arts in community courses in California.  She is an active volunteer who especially enjoys introducing Japanese arts to many people.  

Saburo and Yoko have two sons and two daughters, from eldest to youngest as follows:

Eisuke Muroga
The eldest son.  Eisuke is a University of Illinois graduate of the Department of Computer Science (PhD '90).  He is working in California.

Edith Morrow
The eldest daughter.  Husband, Guy Morrow.  Two children.  Edith is a homemaker living in California. 

Kenji Muroga
The second son.  Wife, Julie Challis from England.  Kenji is an accountant, living in London.

Lisa Muroga
The second daughter.  Lisa is working in California.