11 posts tagged Edo period
Kawagoe castle was originally built in 1457 by Ota Doshin and his son Dokan under the order of Uesugi Mochitomo. It was initially held by the Yamanouchi branch of the Uesugi clan.
In 1537 Hōjō Ujitsuna seized it from Uesugi Tomosada and it became one of the many satellite castles (shijõ) defending the central castle (honjõ) at Odawara.
For nearly two decades after that, the Uesugi launched a number of attempts to regain the castle. In 1545 the two branches of the Uesugi clan, the Ogigayatsu under the command of Uesugi Tomosada, and the Yamanouchi under the command of Uesugi Norimasa, joined forces together with Imagawa Ujichika and Ashikaga Haruji to reclaim Kawagoe castle for the Uesugi clan.
Kawagoe was under the command of Hõjõ Tsunanari who had a garrison of only 3000 troops at hand. They were heavily outnumbered by the combined armies of the Uesugi with 100,000 troops. As the siege got underway in the evening, a Hõjõ messenger was sent out in secret via the river to call for aid from Tsunanari’s adopted brother, Hõjõ Ujiyasu who was stationed at Hachigata castle to the north. The battle of Kawagoe was to become Hōjō Ujiyasu’s most celebrated victory and a unique battle in the history of samurai warfare. He led a hastily gathered army of 8000 troops on a fast paced night march to defend Kawagoe. Ujiyasu attacked the rear of the Uesugi siege lines in the darkness of night, confusing and dividing the besiegers. The entire besieging army was defeated before daybreak and the retreating Uesugi troops were chased down and slain in the surrounding mountains. Uesugi Tomosada was killed during the surprise attack and with him the Ogigayatsu branch of the Uesugi came to an end.
Kawagoe castle eventually fell to Toyotomi Hideyoshi during his attack on Odawara castle in 1590.
Following the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600, when Tokugawa Ieyasu set up his new government in Edo to the south, Kawagoe castle’s strategic significance was realised as a defensive position to protect the capital in the north. Kawagoe commanded the road to Echigo province to the west, and its location on the Sumida River and near the Edo River were important elements of its tactical significance in defending the Kantō from attacks from the north.
During the Edo period (1600-1868), Kawagoe was an important commercial town, providing the nearby capital with timber, rice, textiles and other materials.
Twenty one samurai warlords from various clans, all closely allied with the Tokugawa Shõgun, resided at Kawagoe castle throughout the Edo period. In 1639 the Daimyõ of Kawagoe castle, Matsudaira Nobutsuna, was granted permission by the Shõgun to expand Kawagoe castle and it’s gardens.
In 1870, at the beginning of the Meiji period, a total dismantlement of the castle began. Some of the buildings were relocated around the Kawagoe area and in neighbouring cities, and many of the castle’s stones were used in public works such as building roads and canals.
Today a very small section of the original Honmaru Goten is the only surviving building of Kawagoe castle. It was originally the castle’s centre palace and the residence of the incumbent lord during the Edo period. It was built in 1848, 20 years before the end of Japan’s feudal age, and has partially survived the Meiji period prohibition on defensive embattlements and the Kawagoe Great fire of 1893. In 1967 the Saitama Prefectural Government designated it as a Tangible Cultural Property. It has been faithfully repaired over the years with sections rebuilt to retain the original atmosphere of the relatively peaceful Edo period. Many original painted panels remain throughout and some of the original tiles and timbers are on display.
Nearby is a preserved section of one of the inner moats with a map and diagram detailing the defensive layout of the moat complete with a reconstructed defensive wall.
91 photos of the remains of Kawagoe castle on my flickr page
Hakone Sekisho (Hakone checkpoint), Hakone, Kanagawa prefecture.
Hakone used to be an important checkpoint to control traffic along the Tõkaidõ Road, the highway which linked Edo (Tõkyõ) with Kyõto during the feudal era.
The current gates, buildings and tower were constructed in 2007 based on drawings from the Tokugawa period. The Hakone checkpoint was the 10th of the 53 stations of the Tōkaidō Road from Edo (Tõkyõ).
These two graves in Hiratsuka are dated 1612 (left) and 1619 (right). They both depict Kannon bosatsu. They are the graves of two village head chiefs of the Edo period (1600-1868). They were moved to their present location on private land following WWII after the area was extensively fire bombed.
Old farm house built in 1707 (the year that Mount Fuji last erupted). Izu peninsula, Shizuoka prefecture.
Traditional old houses in central Nara, Nara Prefecture. Houses in this area date back to the Tokugawa period (1600-1868). many have been lovingly restored and some are now stores and restaurants.
A participant at the Daimyo gyoretsu (大名行列) at Hakone Yumoto Onsen Town, Hakone Kanagawa Prefecture.
A traditional kabuto zukuri style house from the early Edo period (1600-1868) at the Fujiyoshida History Museum (富士吉田歴史博物館) in Fujiyoshida, Yamanashi Prefecture.
Travelling street vendor in Asakusa, Tokyo.
Hamamatsu Castle (浜松城) is located in Hamamatsu City.
Hamamatsu castle was originally built in 1532 by Imagawa Sadatsuke of the Imagawa clan.
Tokugawa Ieyasu obtained the castle after defeating the Imagawa in a battle in 1568 and moved here permanently in 1570. Many of his famous battles were fought using this castle as his base of operations. The most famous battle Ieyasu fought from Hamamatsu castle is recognised as one of the most fierce in Japanese history, and one that nearly settled the fate of the whole country by wiping Tokugawa Ieyasu out altogether - the battle of Mikata ga hara.
Tokugawa Ieyasu had extended the influence of his ally Oda Nobunaga by making Hamamatsu his headquarters. Situated halfway between Kyoto and Odawara (Edo was not yet established) on the Tokaido road Hamamatsu was in a very strategic position to control the major artery of pre-modern Japan.
Takeda Shingen realised that his biggest threat was Oda Nobunaga. Nobunaga had destroyed the base of the Buddhist warrior monks of mount Hiei in 1571, and Takeda Shingen being a Buddhist monk took this to be an affront on Buddhism as well as a threat to his desire to become warlord of Kyoto.
Tokugawa Ieyasu was not Shingen’s biggest threat, but an immediate challenge to his plans to destroy Oda Nobunaga. Shingen had made a peace treaty with Nobunaga, and secretly planned to first destroy Ieyasu and then move against Nobunaga. Nobunaga advised Ieyasu to withdraw to Okezaki castle while the peace treaty was being drawn up, but the headstrong Ieyasu wouldn’t have it knowing Shingen all too well.
Ieyasu remained in Hamamatsu and Shingen took this as a further affront, deciding to make a direct attack on Hamamatsu castle. Shingen cut off all of Ieyasu’s supplies and support from Oda, and then moved on Ieyasu.
Ieyasu was advised that he was not the objective and that Shingen merely wanted to get at Oda. He was advised to prepare for a siege and send out night raids to break it and take Shingen from the rear. Ieyasu would have non of it, and decided against a direct battle on the plains in front of Hamamatsu castle.
The Takeda army had taken the high ground of Mikata ga hara and his army outnumbered Ieyasu three to one. The battle lasted all day and into the night when it was realised by Ieyasu that he was not going to see victory. The keeper of Hamamatsu castle, Natsume Yoshinobu rode out from Hamamatsu castle and pleaded with Ieyasu to flea and think of his family’s line. Ieyasu would not budge determined to die fighting, but Yoshinobu swung Ieyasu’s horse around and struck it on the rump sending him back to the castle, he then charged into the Takeda army shouting “I am Ieyasu.”
As Ieyasu entered the gates of Hamamatsu castle the orders were given to shut them, but Ieyasu interrupted them. To shut the gates was exactly what Shingen wanted them to do. Instead he ordered the gates left open and all the fires to be lit to guide retreating samurai back. Sakai Tadatsugu was ordered to beat the taiko drum at the gate.
The battle chronicle Mikawa Fudo-ki notes that Ieyasu had the dead Tokugawa samurai who had died in the retreat laid upon their backs in lines while the samurai who had died in advancing laid face downwards. The advancing Takeda suspected a trick and didn’t dare enter the castle even though it’s gate was open.
The Takeda camped on the plain in front of the castle. Ieyasu determined to make the night unpleasant for the Takeda sent out night patrols of samurai to sneak into the Takeda encampment and take their weapons and provisions. Led by Okubo Tadayo and Amano Yasukage, skilled men in night infiltration, sixteen samurai armed with guns and 100 footsoldiers moved on the Takeda encampment. They infiltrated the Takeda in small teams and sabotaged their equipment.
Okubo constructed a dummy bridge over a narrow pass constructed of cloth and strewn with straw and then proceeded to harass the enemy from across the pass firing burning arrows into them. The ruse worked and a contingent of Takeda attempted to cross and fell into the steep ravine where they were fired upon by the Tokugawa.
Shingen held a war council and impressed by the tenacity of the Tokugawa, Shingen resolved to withdraw rather than risk a full scale siege of the castle and deal with the night infiltrators of the Tokugawa. So Tokugawa Ieyasu and Hamamatsu castle were saved by one very loyal retainer and Ieyasu’s ability to use both psychological and gorilla warfare.