Friday, July 27, 2012

History of Matsuyama Castle

The founder of Matsuyama Castle was Yoshiaki Katoh, who was born in 1563 in Aichi Prefecture. His father was a samurai and died when Yoshiaki was 6 years old. Yoshiaki became a member of the Hideyoshi Toyotomi’s army. At the age of 20, he became famous at the battle of shizugadake as one of the seven spears men in Hideyoshi Tootomi’s forces. Katoh was appointed lord of Masaki (town next to Matsuyama) with revenue of 60,000 koku (bales of rice). In the battles in 1592 and 1597 he served with the navy and for his good work was raised to 100,000 koku. At the battle of Sekigahara (1600), he joined Ieyasu Tokugawa’s army and was allotted 200,000 koku because of his brave works. In 1602 he decided to build a castle on Katsuyama Hill in the center of Dogo Plain. He ordered Shigenobu Adachi to prepare the sight and begin construction. In 1603 katoh, his retainers and people of Masaki moved into Matsuyama. Construction continued for 24 years and was completed in 1627. At that time the donjon was magnificent with five roofs and stories. After staying in Matsuyama for 25 years, Katoh was transferred to Aizu in northern Japan.
Tadachika Gamoh, who came from Yamagata Prefecture in northern Japan, became the new lord of the castle in 1627. Though he completed the NIMARU (intermediate outworks of the castle), he died 7 years later without leaving an heir.
In 1635, the castle finally passed to the lord of Kuwana (Mie Prefecture), Sadayuki Matsuaira, with revenue of 150,000 koku. The donjon was rebuilt with 3 stories in 1642. On New Year’s Day in 1784, the donjon was struck by lightning and burned down. Reconstruction of the present structure was begun in 1820 and completed after 35 years in 1854.
During the Showa Era (1926-1989) the Small Donjon and others of the turrets were destroyed by arson or bombing during the war. Since 1966 the City of Matsuyama has continued has continued reconstruction efforts with wood in the original style of the castle, and the original figure will be seen someday. The castle is located at the top of Katsuyama Hill (132m = 433 feet) in the center of the city. Near the foot of the mountain are the NINOMARU (intermediate outworks of the castle), and SANNOMARU (the moat containing Horinouchi Park). It is thus a rather large scale, and is widely known as one of the three big multiple wing castles in Japan which are built on a hill in the center of a plain, the others being Wakayama Castle and Himeji Castle.

Stories Surrounding the Construction

First the site of the castle and then construction of the stone base was begun. Most of the stones were brought from the old Yuzuki Castle and the Masaki Castle sites, though some were mined in the nearby areas. There is an interesting episode concerning the conveying of the stones. In the Masaki area the women who peddled fish in basins carried on their heads were called “otata.” These women are said to have carried the gravel in their basins on their heads, from Masaki to Matsuyama. Katoh’s wife rewarded them for their hard work with hand-shaped rice balls. Later, when the roof tiles were carried to the mountain, construction was disrupted while waiting. It is said that Shibenobu Adachi mobilized local farmers to make a human chain in three directions, and the tiles were handed from person to person down the line and the entire lot was transferred to the castle in one night. Yoshiaki Katoh is said to have been quite surprised by this feat.

The Meiji Restoration and Matsuyama Castle

When Matsudaira, a relative of Tokugama, became Lord of Matsuyama Castle, Matsuyama became a relative fief of the Tokugawa Shogunate. Near the end of the Tokugawa Era, which resulted in the demise of feudalism, there was a civil war between the supporters of the Shogun and those of the Emperor. As a relative of the Shogun, the Matsuyama lord joined several battles on the Emperor on the side of the Shogun-ate. At the Meiji Restoration, political power changed hands from the Shogun to the Emperor and the Matsuyama lord was labeled an enemy to be tracked down and attacked. In the Matsuyama fief there was some conflict about whether to submit or to stand and fight. Lord Sadaaki Matsudaira made the decision to submit. He allowed Tosa soldiers from the new government to enter the castle, showing that he had no intentions of fighting the Emperor, and he himself took refuge at the Josinji Temple in Matsuyama, showing his penitence. His sincerity was accepted by the new government and he was saved from attack. Thus Matsuyama Castle was saved from being destroyed by the fire of war and remained as it was. Jurisdiction over the castle was moved to several Ministries in turn and in 1923 was given to Matsuyama City by Sadakoto Hisamatsu.
Material Source is a brochure developed by Iyo Railway Co. Ltd.

No comments: