Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Tsu Castle -People who does not change his master seven times is not full fledged-

Tsu Castle

-People who does not change his master seven times is not full fledged-



Name: Tsu castle (Tsu-jo)

Alias: Anotsu-jo (Anotsu castle)
Place: Marunouchi Tsu city, Mie
Location: 34.7179080447286, 136.5078114614738
Type: Flat castle
Built: Originally 16th century, expanded in 17th century
Remnants: Stone walls and water moats
Title: 100 more famous Japanese castles

Brief History

Tsu castle (津城) is located on the place surrounded by two rivers at Tsu city. Historically Tsu city was called by Anotsu and an important port from Kyoto to eastern country, but once destructed by the earthquake at the end of 15th century, and the function of trade port moved to Kuwana port or Matsusaka port. 

Tsu castle before Takatora Todo

Tsu castle was originally built by Nagano clan, a local clan in 16th century. In 1580, Nobukane Oda (1548-1614), younger brother of Nobunaga Oda (1543-1582), was appointed by the governer of this region, and significantly expanded this castle into a modern one with five story main tower.

At the battle of Sekigahara in 1600, current general Nobutaka Tomita (?-1633) supported Tokugawa side and was attacked by Morichika Chosokabe (1575-1615), a lord of Tosa country (Kochi prefecture) who was former Toyotomi side. Attacked by overwhelming army the castle fought well, but finally Nobutaka opened the castle.

After the battle of Sekigahara. Takatora Todo (1556-1630) was appointed as a governer of this area. He further expanded Tsu castle and developed its castle town. Takatora is known as a master of building castles, and also as a self-made man frequently changed his master for promotion.

Promotion under Hidenaga Toyotomi


Japanese samurai is often imaged with Bushido (Way of samurai) emphasizing loyalty to master, but it is a custom in Edo era under the effect of Confucianism. In Sengoku era, local lords quite often changed his master or had it both ways, and retainer who had ambition to rise up wandered between masters seeking for more promotion. Takatora was a typical example of such retainer.

Born in Omi country (Shiga prefecture), Takatora at first served for local lord Atuji clan, but soon he changed to Nomusumi Tsuda (1555-1582), a nephew of Nobunaga Oda and allocated to western Omi country. But as he did not get with Nobusumi he left, and later was hired by Hidenaga Toyotomi (1540-1591), a younger brother of future ruler Hideyoshi Toyotomi (1537-1598).  

Along with the promotion of Hideyoshi, the role of Hidenaga also expanded rapidly. Under Hidenaga, Takatora participated in numerous military and administrative operations, and grew his talent. Finally Hidenaga governed Yamato country (Nara prefecture) and Kii country (Wakayama prefecture), and Takatora showed his shrewdness in administration and also built many castles such as Wakayama castle. It was a satisfactory period for Takatora.

Change to Tokugawa clan

But Hidenaga died in 1591, and his adopted son Hideyasu was also passed away in youth at 1595. Hidenaga house extinguished and Takatora thought to retire, but Hideyoshi who looked at his talent promoted Takatora as a direct retainer. Under Hideyoshi he was appointed as a governer of Iyo country (Ehime prefecture), and built excellent castles such as Ozu castle, Imabari castle or Uwajima Castle.

After the death of Hideyoshi, as a penetrating realist, he abandoned Toyotomi clan and approached to Ieyasu Tokugawa (1543-1616), a largest lord. He worked hard for invitation of other lords to Tokugawa side, and also fought bravely at the battle of Sekigahara against former Toyotomi supporting group in 1600. As a result of these achievement, Takatora was given large territory of Tsu domain in Ise country and Iga country (Mie prefecture), and became a most trusted newcoming retainer of Ieyasu. 

Subsequent to the battle of Sekigahara, utilizing his skill, Takatora engaged in build of many castle by Tokugawa clan, such as Edo castle, Nagoya castle, Sasayama castle Igaueno castle, Zeze castle and so on. Compared from other master of building castle such as Kiyomasa Kato (1562-1611) or Nagashige Niwa (1571-1637), Takatora’s castles were quite simple such as just a square shape which was suitable for rapid construction, and held back enemies by tall stone walls and wide water moats, not complex shape of the castle.

Finally Takatora died in 73 years old in 1630. It is said that he mentioned people who does not change his master seven times is not full fledged as his family creed.

Afterward of this castle

Todo clan had prospered throughout Edo era without transfer. At the time of Meiji revolution war, they first supported Edo shogunate but easily turned to new government side, and was criticized that the rule of its founder is still living.

Subsequent to Meiji revolution, all buildings and outer areas were broken. But central area with surrounding stone walls still remains as a park, and one corner turret guarding backside gate was reconstructed on the tall stone wall.


20 minutes walk from Kintetsu Nagoya-sen line Tsu-Shinmachi station. 10 minutes drive from Ise-Jidoshado Expressway Tsu interchange.

Related Castles

Pictures (click to enlarge)

No comments:

Post a Comment