Sunday, June 22, 2014

Edo Castle (2) -30 year expansion under Edo Shogunate-

Edo Castle (2)

-30 year expansion under Edo Shogunate-


Continued from Part 1

Became the center of Kanto region

When Hojo clan was extinguished by Odawara campaign by central ruler Hideyoshi Toyotomi (1537-1598) in 1590, Kanto region was given to Ieyasu Tokugawa (1543-1616). Ieyasu was originally a warlord of Mikawa province (eastern half of Aichi prefecture), and as an ally of former ruler Nobunaga Oda (1534-1582), Ieyasu expanded his territory to current Shizuoka prefecture and Yamanashi prefecture. 

After the death of Nobunaga at accident of Honnoji in 1582, new ruler Hideyoshi fought with Ieyasu but could not beat him, thus finally Ieyasu served to Hideyoshi but kept his position as the largest lord. Hideyoshi intent to move Ieyasu from his native foothold, but had to give a larger territory in distant area.

Ieyasu who became the lord of Kanto region chose Edo castle as his residence. It is said that Hideyoshi recommended to do so, but the truth is unknown. Anyway Odawara castle, the residence of Hojyo clan, located too west to control the whole Kanto region, and there was no room to expand its castle town. Ieyasu newly built Nishinomaru (western area) at the next hill, and made up first castle town.

Establishment of Edo shogunate and expansion

After the death of Hideyoshi in 1598, due to the victory at the battle of Sekigahara in 1600, Ieyasu became new ruler. In 1603, Ieyasu was appointed as Seii Tai Shogun by the Emperor, and established Edo shogunate. Now Edo city became the capital of Japan.

As a ruler, Ieyasu started to expand Edo castle as residence of Shogun. At he reclaimed Hibiya inlet located at current Hibiya park to make place. At the same time, Ieyasu built Kitanomaru area, to protect the north side of central area which was connected to the height by ridge and weak point of the castle. In 1607, first main tower was built in central area, but there is an argument on the shape and color of this main tower. 

After this, Nishinomaru area was expanded to westward, and inner defense line covered north side and west side surrounded by deep water moats was completed (Edo castle is located on the projection of Yamanote height to eastward, thus westward of the castle connecting to the height was the weak point of the castle). 

After the extinction of Toyotomi clan at the battle of Osaka castle in 1615, next expansion had started by operation of large lords. Toll stone walls were built at eastward to northward of central areas, and Kandagawa river was moved to eastward by digging waterway at Kandayama mountain. Further central area was totally reformed and a new main tower was built in 1622.

During the period of third shogun Iemitsu Tokugawa (1604-1651), final construction was performed. Deep and wide moat of outer area was made at the west side of the castle (current Yotsuya and Ichigaya area), and stone walls were newly built at front side of outer area. Many gates were constructed at inner and outer area, and five story five floor (one basement) main tower was rebuilt in 1638. The height of main tower including basement was about 55 meter, and the wall of the tower was painted black. The roof of tower was paved by copper blocks, and oh the top of the roof there was a pair of gold grampus.

Structure of the castle 

As above, the castle connected from north side to west side to the height, and secure defense line consist of tall wall and wide moat were built here. At the north side of central area, a folding shape 30 meter tall stone walls guard the area. Beside, from Tayasu gate at the north edge of inner castle to Hanzomon gate at west edge of the castle, huge water moats of over 50 meter width surround the area. Front gate of the castle is located at east front of the castle. and as central area places on the hill visitors have to go up the slope to reach the central area. 

Other than main tower, there were about 20 turrets in the castle. Especially Fujimi turret at the south edge of main tower was the largest one, a three story white colored turret of beautiful shape. This was used as a substitute of main tower after the lost, and imitated as main tower or equivalent turrets of many castles in Kanto region.

In the central area there was a huge palace of Shogun. The palace was divided into three part of Omote (front side), Chuoku (middle side) and Ooku (inner side), and they were used for public use, daily life of Shogun, and places for wives and women of Shogun respectively. 

Outer area surrounded whole part of the castle, and especially north front and west front were securely guarded by deep and wide moats. Gate of outer area was called as "Mitsuke", and total number of these gates is said as 36 gate. 

Edo castle on and after Edo era

As above Edo castle was a huge castle with many buildings, but due to severe fire in 1657, many buildings including main tower were lost. Reconstruction of main tower was considered and basement for new main tower was built (current basement), but due to low necessity and financial problem, main tower was not built any more. Throughout Edo era many building were burned down by recurring fire, and good part of lost buildings were left as so.

At the time of Meiji revolution new government army considered to attack Edo city and Edo castle, but as a result of meeting between Kaishu Katsu (1823-1899), a military minister of Shogunate and Takamori Saigo (1828-1877), one of the leaders of new government army, Edo shogunate opened Edo castle without resistance and the castle was not involved in the battle.

After the Meiji revolution, new government decided Tokyo as its capital and Edo castle became an imperial palace. Remaining buildings were lost or damaged at Kanto great earthquake in 1921 or WW2, but three composite gates still remain and several turrets were restored after corruption using old materials. 

Good part of the castle including Ninihomaru and Sannomaru is off limit due to being used as imperial palace, but central area is served for public view as a East Garden Park of Imperial Palace. Round way outside of inner moats became the popular jogging course for city people, and we can see huge moat of outer area along with Chuo line of JR train between Ochanomizu station to Yotsuya station.

Related Castles

Odawara Castle -Castle rejected attack of two famous warlords-
Osaka Castle -Symbol of unification of Japan-
Nagoya Castle -Owari Nagoya city depends on existence of castle- 
Sunpu Castle -Place of memory of first Shogun-


Pictures (click to enlarge)

Inner Moat

Outer Moat

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