Friday, March 7, 2014

Tanaka castle -Round shape castle guarded western border of Suruga-

Tanaka Castle (Suruga province)

-Round shape castle guarded western border of Suruga-



Name: Tanaka Castle (Tanaka-jyo)
Alias: Kame jyo (Turtle castle)
Place: Tanaka, Fujieda city, Shizuoka
Type: Plain castle
Built: Originally 1537, expanded in 15th century
Remaining remnants: One turret, sand walls and moats

Brief History

Tanaka castle (田中城) is located at the central part of Fujieda city, in the middle of Shida plain.
Formerly this area was marshy area surrounded Seto river and Rokken river, and this castle was build at slightly elevated area between rivers.

Build and expansion of Tanaka castle

Originally there was a small castle under Imagawa clan. In 1568, Shingen Takeda (1521-1573), a warlord of Kai province (Yamanashi prefecture), attacked Imagawa clan in cooperation with Ieyasu Tokugawa (1543-1616), a warlord of Mikawa province (eastern part of Aichi prefecture). Takeda army occupied whole part of Suruga province, and significantly expanded Tanaka castle to guard western border of the province.

During the period of Takeda clan, Tanaka castle had three layer of areas. As there is no limitation of terrain, the shape of outer area was totally circular of 300 meter diameter. For each direction there were four gates, and each gate equipped Maru Umadashi, a round type rampart in front of the gate, being surrounded by crescent moon style moats. Maru Umadashi assists sallying from the gate or retreating into castle before the attack from enemy.

Struggle for Tanaka castle and afterward

Takeda clan continuously attacked Totomi province (western part of Shizuoka prefecture) held by Ieyasu Tokugawa from Tanaka castle. But in 1575, Katsuyori Takeda (1546-1582), successor of Shingen, fought against alliance of central ruler Nobunaga Oda (1534-1582) and Ieyasu Tokugawa at the battle of Nagashino, and suffered fatal defeat by them. Ieyasu Tokugawa started counter attack to weakenedTakeda clan and recovered Futamata castle or Takatenjin castle deprived by Takeda clan.

Tokugawa clan recovered Totomi province from Takeda clan next aimed Suruga province and attacked Tanaka castle several times. But Tanaka Castle guarded by Nobushige Yoda (?-1583) who left Futamata castle (Shizuoka prefecture) after strong resist against Tokugawa clan, drove back attack of Ieyasu again and again. In 1582, when Takeda clan collapsed, Nobushige opened this castle to Tokugawa clan.

After the capture by Tokugawa clan, except for 1590’s, this castle had been governed by generals of Tokugawa clan as an important place to control Tokaido road, a main route connected Edo city and Kyoto city passed just at the north of Tanaka castle. They extended this castle with one more layer, and built many building for the purpose of government office. 

Subsequent to Meiji revolution, most buildings were lost and castle area turned to schools, houses and rice fields. But a two-story turret used as a substitution of main tower still remains, and brought to the site of former outer palace of the lord next the castle, where is now used as a park. Clay walls and water moats partially exist, and the round shape of the castle is still easily imagined from the shape of roads.

Related Castles

Pictures (click to enlarge)

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