Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Shikano Castle -Local small lord looking at foreign countries-

Shikano Castle

-Local small lord looking at foreign countries-



Name: Shikano castle (Shikano-jo)
Place: Shikano Tottori city, Tottori
Type: Mountain castle
Built: Originally unknown, expanded in 17th century
Remaining remnants: Stone walls, clay walls and moats

Brief History

Shikano castle (鹿野城) is located Shiroyama mountain in Shikano town, at the southwest of central Tottori city. Shikano area is a point of merging valleys spread into Nihonkai sea and center of western Inaba province (eastern half of Tottori prefecture) It is an inland town but connected with Kurayoshi area through mountain side road.

In medieval era, Shikano area was governed by local lord Shikano clan, but fell by attack of Amago clan, a warlord of Izumo province (eastern half of Shimane prefecture) at the middle of 16th century. After that Amago clan and Mouri clan conflicted for this castle and Mouri clan captured along with the fall of Amago clan in 1565. But among the campaign of Hideyoshi Toyotomi (1537-1598), a regional commander of Oda clan who faced Mouri clan, Korenori Kamei (1557-1612) was appointed as a commander of castle.

Local small lord looking at foreign countries

Korenori Kamei was son of former retainer of Amago clan, and after the extinguishment of Amago clan by Mouri clan in 1566, he devoted himself in restration movement of Amago clan supporting Katsuhisa Amago (1553-1578) along with Yukimori Yamanaka (1545-1578) or Hisatsuna Tachihara (1531-1613). 

When Katsuhisa and Yukimori died at Kouzuki castle (Hyogo prefecture) under siege of Mouri clan in 1578, Korenori was not there and escaped the accident. He kept fighting against Mouri clan under Hideyoshi, and made achievement in battles such as siege of Tottori castle. When Hideyoshi captured Inaba country, Hideyoshi placed Korenori at Shikano castle.

Rarely among small lords of the time, Korenori interest on foreign countries. After the fall of Ouchi clan which monopolized foreign trades in 1551 Amago clan captured once silver mine of Iwami province (western half of Shimane prefecture) and engaged in foreign trade from Mihogaseki port in their territory using the wealth from mine. Although Amago clan fell in short period, the experience of foreign trade remain in the area.

Succeeding this tradition, Korenori had interest on foreign country. In this time generals of certain position usually were given names of governor or government position, thus Korenori asked Hideyoshi to give the name of governor of Ryukyu island (current Okinawa prefecture). Even if it was only nominal name he was actually had the name of governor of Ryukyu, but later Shimazu clan at Kagoshima prefecture actually controlled Ryukyu island thus Korenori had to return his position.

After the death of Hideyoshi, Korenori supported Ieyasu Tokugawa (1543-1616) at the battle of Sekigahara in 1600, and was secured his territory. At the beginning of Edo era, Edo shogunate limited foreign trade to the people who had special permission letter (Shuinjo) given by Shogunate. 

Mainly large merchants or powerful lords exercised this right, but among them. Korenori got permission and engaged in foreign trade with Siam (Thailand) by himself. Further he attempted to build trade ship by himself, but failed in this project.

Concerning Shikano castle, the castle was also affected by his interest. He named this castle as Ousha-yo, it means Buddha Gaya city in India. He also named turrets as Oranda yagura (Holland turret) and Chosen yagura (Chosun turret), and built a reception house built by insent trees of India. In this manner, unlike other castles Shikano castle had exotic atmosphere, and was a terrestrial globe for Korenori.

Afterward of castle

After death of Korenori Kamei clan was transferred to Tsuwano castle (Shimane prefecture), and after the movement this area was governed by Ikeda clan from Tottori castle. Hilltop area was demolished, but Ikeda clan built their administrative office at hillside area. The shape of hillside area surrounded by water moats still well remain, and still show the image of paradise Korenori dreamed.


30 minutes drive from Tottori Jidoshado Expressway Tottori-Nishi interchange to hillside parking


Related Castles

Tottori Castle -As secure as guarding general's will-
Tsuwano Castle -Broken promises-


Pictures (click to enlarge)

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