Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Hamada Castle -Gone with the Edo shogunate-

Hamada Castle

-Gone with the Edo shogunate-



Name: Hamada castle (Hamada-jo)
Alias: Kameyama jo (Turtle mountain castle)
Place: Tonomachi Hamada city, Shimane
Type: Hill castle
Built: 1623
Remaining remnants: Stone walls, clay walls and moats
Title: 100 more famous Japanese castles

Brief History

Hamada castle (浜田城) is located on Kameyama hill, at the mouth of Hamada river and beside Sanindo way. Hamada city has been a central city of Iwami country (western Shimane prefecture) historically. The city has a good port and is a posting site of Sanindo way.

In 1600, as a result of battle of Sekigahara, the territory of Mouri clan which formerly goverend Nagato province (Yamaguchi prefecture), Iwami province and Aki province (Hiroshima prefecture) was decreased only to Nagato province by Edo shogunate. Instead of Mouri clan, Furuta clan was appointed to govern Hamada city, and they newly built a castle on the hill and named it as Hamada castle in 1623. Hamada castle was a small castle with only one three story turret and several gates and barracks, but regarded as a front toward Mouri clan.

In 19th century, after the arrival of Amerilan Admiral Matthew C. Perry to Japan to force opning nation to foreign country in 1853, public opinion became split concerning the this matter. Edo shogunate decided to open the nation considering foreign millitary power, but large local lords such as Choshu domain (Mouri clan) and Satsuma domain (Shimazu clan) opposed to the opening under the intention of current emperor Komei, and performed anti-shogunate activities.

To punish Choshu domain, shogunate made expeditions to Choshu territory by surrounding local lords including Hamada domain in 1861 and 1862 twice. For first expedition, it was just after the attack to Choshu domain by ally of English, French, Dutch and American navy as a revenge to killing foreigner and shutiing the Kanmon straight. Due to that damage, Choshu domain once surrendered to shogunate before the beginning of battle, and killed its activists.

But Shogunate imposed too severe surrender conditions, thus Choshu domain decided to a do-or-die resistance to Edo shogunate again in 1865. This time Choshu domain made peace with Britain and acquired their new weapons, and Satsuma domain also supported Choshu clan. On the other hand, Shogunate side army had only low moral because of continuous marches, and their equipment were old ones. Shogunate army attacked Choshu territory from their four borders, but they were all in deadlock or driven away facing Chushu armies and militias equipped by new weapons.

Hamada clan attacked Choshu domain by northeastern border of Choshu territory, but suffered severe defeat by them and retreated. Choshu domain army chased Hamada domain army and intruded into Hamada town. As Hamada castle was a small castle without secure defense facility, Hamada domain burnt down Hamada castle by themselves and escaped. Next year shogunate army lost the battle of Toba Fushimi against new government force consisted of Choshu clan and Satsuma clan, and finally in 1867 Edo shogunate returned its government to the Emperor.

Subsequent to Meiji revolution outer area disappeared into the city, but stone walls of major areas on the hill still remain well. Broken pieces of roofing tiles spread over the castle, and shows the vivid image of disposal. Now one gate formerly used at Tsuwano castle (Shimane prefecture) is moved to entrance of this castle.

Related Castles

Tsuwano Castle -Broken promises-

Pictures (click to enlarge)

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