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Mito Komon, whose real identity was Tokugawa Mitsukuni of Mito, was the grandson of Tokugawa Ieyasu, born on July 11, 1628, to Ieyasu's 11th son, Tokugawa Yorifusa. Becoming the Daimyo of the Mito Domain at the age of 34, Mitsukuni instructed his scholars to compile an extensive history of Japan known as the Dai Nihon-Shi.

Apart from his scholarly pursuits, Mitsukuni wrote travel diaries, including the very first Kamakura Travel Guide, where he creatively named various local features. He is credited as the first Japanese to enjoy ramen and was known for his fondness for wine and yogurt.

In the late Edo period, Mitsukuni's life was dramatized, later evolving into a series of novels. From 1969 to 2011, it became a regular TV series titled Mito Komon. The show depicted Mitsukuni, in his elderly and retired years, traveling the land incognito with two bodyguards, rectifying wrongs along the way. The series typically concluded with a sword fight, during which Mitsukuni revealed his true identity by displaying an Inro, a medicine box adorned with the Tokugawa clan seal.

The authentic Inro used by Mitsukuni is on display at the Mito Tokugawa Museum, alongside other relics like his armor and a sword damaged in a fire. While the stories of Mito Komon are works of fiction, as the real Mitsukuni seldom ventured beyond his Mito domain, he passed away at the age of 72 on January 14, 1701.

 


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