Above:  Maruhakayama Kofun and Sequoia trees


History

(1) The Middles Ages

 The Oshi Castle was built by the Narita clan in the late 15th century (1478).

Musasi bushi”the Narita clan ruled here for about 100 years.

  

World history1:      Spain was born.

 In Iberian Peninsula, through the marriage of Prince Fernando of Aragon and Princess Isabella of Castile, two kingdoms merged into the kingdom of Spain in 1479.

 In Asia Minor, the Ottoman Empire invaded the Balkan Peninsula and islands in Aegean Sea, Ionian Sea (1463-1479). However it was defeated by the knights in the Rhodes Island in 1480.

 

 Columbus with support of Spain landed the New World in 1492.

 

 In Italy the famous paintingLast Supperwas completed by Leonardo Da Vinci in 1498. 

 

At this time there was a marsh around the castle, the three-story turret stood on the castle site. When Ishida Mitsunari (Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s subordinate) attacked the Oshi castle, he had a headquarter at Maruhakayama Burial Mound (above picture) and his tactics was building an embankment around the castle, hoping to sink the castle into water in 1590.

 

  But still the castle didn’t surrender, so the Oshi castle was called “Ukishiro”(castle which floats on water). The retainers led by Narita Nagachika, castle keeper and princess Kai-hime persevered in the fight until the surrender of Odawara-jo castle. Finally they surrendered and the Narita clan went out of this place. 

 

 The flood project was order by Toyotomi Hideyoshi. His objective was to show his power to all people in Japan. The length of the bank is about 9 miles, and it was four times longer than his previous bank used for flood attack at Takamatsu Castle. The battle continued one and half months. But Ishida Mitsunari was devalued that he was not good at battle by his failure.

 

World history2:      Shakespeare was born.

Uesugi Kenshin was very busy to attack the Oshi Castle in 1553, 1559 and 1561. About at that time in England, William Shakespeare was born in 1564. He is the greatest playwright who ever lived. 

 

In 1581, the previous year that Takamatsu Castle was attacked by Hideyoshi, during the Holland’s Independent War against Spain, Holland’s soldiers in Amsterdam attacked the castle that had been occupied by Spanish troops.

 Holland’s soldiers destroyed the bank surrounding the castle and pushed Spanish Soldiers into the water of a sea. In this case, they destroyed the existing bank and won a victory, not building the bank. So Hideyoshi’s project was very unique in world history.

 

In Great Britain, the Queen Mary of Scotland was executed by the Queen Elizabeth (Virgin Queen) of England in 1587.

  

  

(2)The Tokugawa Ages 

      Battle of Sekigahara
Battle of Sekigahara
                                                Battle of Sekigahara ,        The 2nd from right:  Matsudaira  Tadayoshi , Lord of Oshi-han
Battle of Sekigahara , The 2nd from right: Matsudaira Tadayoshi , Lord of Oshi-han

 

Coffee Break 1:                      The Lords of the Oshi-han

 

Matudaira Tadayoshi: 

After the expulsion of Narita clan, Matsudaira Tadayoshi entered the Oshi castle in 1592. Shiba Ryotaro described in his novel “Sekigahara” that the Lord Oshi-han, Tadayoshi with the support of Ii Naomasa, the father of Tadayoshi’s wife Masako, attended the battle as the first battle in his life.

The first gun fire was made by Tadayoshi’s group and both armies began fighting. After the tide of the battle was favorable for the east group, Tadayoshi and Naomasa attacked the group of Satsuma-han. But they were injured in this battle. It would be possible to say that the Satsuma-han had revenged for this bitter feeling as one of main army in Boshin battle in 260 years later. So, the Lord Oshi-han would give a hidden influence in Japanese history.

 

 

 Tokugawa Ieyasu: 

After Sekigahara battle, the Oshi castle became a possession of the Tokugawa Shogunate. Tokugawa Ieyasu enjoyed hunting with falcons, so he visited Oshi-Han seven times. After he died in 1616, he was regarded as God. His body was moved from Kuno-zan to Tosho-gu in Nikko. On the way to Nikko, his body was placed at Honmaru(main land of Oshi-castle). Since this occasion no building stood at Honmaru area as the sacred place, Oshi-castle became an unique castle.

 

Matsudaira Nobutsuna:

 

 Matsudaira Nobutsuna was Lord of Oshi castle from 1633 to 1639. And he got the position of Rojyu(high ranking position) in Tokugawa Shogunate. When the Shimabara Rebellion broke out, he suppressed the rebels as the Commander in Chief of the troops. He had an eye on timing for making a general attack. So, he ordered his subordinates to open stomach of dead person. He found only seaweeds there. He did his attack and finished his project in a day. The rebellion was the last civil battle in Edo period. After this he got firm position in the Shogunate.

 

Abe Tadaaki: 

  Abe Tadaaki of Tokugawa Shogunate entered the castle in 1639 and ruled the area. Following for about 230 years, Abe clan and Matsudaira clan who were an executive of the Shogunate had ruled the Oshi castle. These ages, the Oshi-Han had been prosperous as a castle town.

 Tadaaki kept many quails as his hobby. One day he found a good quail at a street, but price was too expensive and hesitated to buy it. Hearing that Tadaaki wanted it, a person bought the quail and presented it to him. Very soon he released all quails to a field and stopped keeping a quail any more. He might think that if he was absorbed in one thing, he was afraid not to be fair for everyone.

 

  Matsudaira Tadakuni: 

 Matsudaira Tadakuni in late Edo period was a smart and heart-warming Lord of Oshi castle in the late Edo period. There are episodes when he was ordered to defend a section of seashore in Edo Bay by Shogunate. The section was thought as battle field at that time. He was expected to be awake through at night following a custom, so his young follower had to read old Chinese book instead of him at next his room. He stopped this custom, so his follower and he, both could sleep well at night. Also, he already knew this old story very well enough to recite it.

 

 

 

 

Left:  Dorui (Earthworks)  of Honmaru (rebuilt)

 

Coffee Break 2:    Organization of a castle   

Honmaru:

 This is the core region of the castle and serve as the living quarter for the castle ruler and is the final line of defense of the castle.  

Ninomaru & Sannomaru:

 These regions serve as outside layers to the Honmaru and may vary in shape and size.  

Kuruwa:

 

 This is a Japanese term that refers to the walls of Japanese Castle and regions bounded by arrangement of those walls. And this serves as a defensive territory, 

and provides spaces of the living quarters for common soldiers.  

Shinpan:

 

 Shinpan is a domain (Han) where the lord is certain relatives of the Tokugawa shoguns. Most of them have family name of the Matsudaira.   

Oshi Castle Omotenashi Armor Party

 Omotenashi” means warm hospitality in Japanese. Each member of this party welcomes visitors with their distinctive costumes. This party’s role is Gyoda Sightseeing Guide and they show visitors welcome dances at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. mainly on Saturday, Sunday and holiday as Gyoda City Sightseeing promotion party.

 

 Their dances are :

 1. Dance with swords to express spirit of Samurai in Kanto district

 2. Comical exercise with sticks by Block head commander and Samurai

 3. Dance with flags against Flood attack by Ishida Mitsunari

 

 Dances will take fifteen minutes and visitors can take photograph with them after dances.

This party is organized with members whose names were prominent samurais, princess and retainers. They are persons who fought bravely and kept the Oshi castle, when Ishida Mitsunari attacked this castle with flooding in 1590.

 

The party has seven members. The leader is Narita Nagachika, others are Princess Kaihime, daughter of lord of the castle, three chief Samurais, Masaki Tanbanokami, Shibasaki Izuminokami, Sakamaki Yukie, Ao ashigaru(retainer) and Shige, old peasant of the village.