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Meaning & History
Variously written, usually with characters meaning ‘three houses’. In the 5th and 6th centuries, Japanese rulers based in the Yamato region (present-day Nara prefecture) established royal rice-growing estates (miyake) throughout their realm in order to increase their income and consolidate their power. Many unrelated stewards and residents of these estates, or their descendants, adopted the term as a surname, which is listed in the Shinsen shōjiroku. Bearers of this surname, now found mostly in west-central Japan, spread throughout Japan, but many of their descendants later took local surnames.