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The Castle Town and Japan's Modern Urbanization*

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 March 2011

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Japan's role in Far Eastern history has been unique in many respects. Traditionally an integral part of the Chinese zone of civilization, Japan has nonetheless demonstrated a marked ability to remain independent of continental influence. In recent years Japan's remarkable record of adjustment to the conditions imposed upon her by the spread of Western civilization to the Orient has raised the provocative question of why Japan, of all Far Eastern societies, should be the first to climb into the ranks of the modern industrial powers. Is it possible, as one scholar has suggested, that Japan “has been the country which has diverged the most consistently and markedly from Far Eastern norms, and these points of difference have been by and large, points of basic resemblance to the West”?

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Copyright © The Association for Asian Studies, Inc. 1955

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References

1 Reischauer, Edwin O., The United States and Japan (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1950), 184.Google Scholar

2 Mumford, Lewis, The Culture of Cities (New York: Harcourt, Brace and Co., 1938), 3.Google Scholar

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5 In applying the term feudalism to the institutions of Kamakura, Ashikaga, and Tokugawa Japan I follow Asakawa, K., “Some Aspects of Japanese Feudal Institutions,” TASJ, 46.1 (1918), 76102.Google Scholar

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9 This is brought out clearly in Tomohiko, Harada, “Chūsei toshi no jichi teki kyodo soshiki ni tsuite.” (On the self-governing communal organization of the medieval town), Rekishigaku kenkyū, 156 (03 1952), 113Google Scholar. See also Harada, , Chūsei ni okeru toshi, 253255Google Scholar; Nagashima, , 4751Google Scholar; Murayama, , 124132.Google Scholar

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17 Japanese scholars have recently devoted considerable attention to the subject of the emergence of the kinsei daimyō “modern daimyo.” For an analysis of the feudal lords who preceded the daimyo see Keiji, Nagaharaj and Hiroshi, Sugiyamak, “Shugo ryōkokusei no tenkai,” (The development of the shugo domain), Shakai keizaishigaku, 17.2 (1951)Google Scholar. On the modern daimyo themselves, the outstanding author is Itō Tasaburōl. Of his many writings see “Kinsei daimyō kenkyū josetsu” (An introduction to the study of the modern daimyo), Shigaku zasshi, 55.9 (09 1944), 146Google Scholar; 55.11 (Nov. 1944), 46–106. His Nihon hōkenseido shi (A history of Japanese feudalism) (Tokyo: Yoshikawa Kobunkan, 1951)Google Scholar, is useful as a brief survey. The establishment of the Bizen domain of central Japan is being made the theme of joint study by members of the University of Michigan Center for Japanese Studies.

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21 Japanese interest'in the castle town is indicated by the fact that the 1954 symposium of the Jimbunchiri Gakkai of Kyoto dealt with this subject. A mimeographed bibliography prepared for this symposium entitled Jōkamachi kankei bunken mokuroku (A bibliography of materials on the castle town) has been extremely helpful in the preparation of this article. Among the general works consulted on the subject the following have been found most useful: Hitoshi, Onon, Kinsei jōkamachi no kenkyū (A study of the modern castle town) (Tokyo: Shibundō, 1928)Google Scholar; Terutsugu, Onoo [Hitoshi], “Kinsei toshi no hattatsu” (The growth of the modern town), Iwanami kōza, Nihon rekishi, 11.4 (1934)Google Scholar; Tomohiko, Harada, “Toshi no hattatsu” (The growth of cities) in Tsuchiya Takaop, Hōken shakai no kōzō bunseki (An analysis of the structure of feudal society) (Tokyo: Keisō Shobō, 1950), 95124Google Scholar; Takeshi, Toyoda, Nihon no hōken toshi (Feudal cities of Japan) (Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten, 1952).Google Scholar

22 Many of the so-called “new castles” were built on sites previously occupied by minor fortifications of one kind or another. But the fortresses built after 1575 were seldom dependent upon these earlier structures. In terms of size and conception they were literally new creations. The most familiar example is Edo which was converted from a small fortified outpost into the greatest fortress in Japan from 1590 to 1606.

23 This list includes the major castles built or rebuilt in new style between these years. The order is chronological according to the dates on which construction was begun. Data is taken from Noboru, Ōruiq and Masa, Tobar, Nihon jōkakushi (History of | Japanese castles) (Tokyo: Yūzankaku, 1936), 528533Google Scholar; and Toyoda, , Nihon no hoken toshi, 8990.Google Scholar

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28 The Sendai domain maintained a system of alternate residence between castle town and fief for the major fief-holding vassals. Iinkai, Sendai Shishi Hensan, 2829.Google Scholar

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41 A classical statement of this concept is found in Kumazawa Banzan's Daigaku wakumon: “The lord of a province is appointed by Heaven to be the father and mother of that province.” Quoted in Fisher, Galen M., “Kumazawa Banzan, His Life and Ideals,” TASJ, 2nd Ser., 14 (1938), 267.Google Scholar

42 Maps of the Tokugawa period record between 148 and 164 active castles. Hall, R. B., 184Google Scholar. Orui and Toba list 186 castles at the end of the Tokugawa period (pp. 694–705).

43 Sekiyama, , 100106Google Scholar; Toyoda, , Nihon no hoken toshi, 146152.Google Scholar

44 With the promulgation of the new law of local administration in 1888, 39 legal cities (shi) were created. Of these 33 were former jōkamachi.

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49 Griffis, William Elliot, The Mikado's Empire (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1906), 2:526Google Scholar, rejoicing at the changes which followed the abolition of the Fukui han wrote: “The local officials of Fukui are to be reduced from five hundred to seventy. The incubus of yakuninerie is being thrown off. Japan's greatest curse for ages has been an excess of officials and lazy rice-eaters who do not work.”

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53 For a recent and novel approach to this subject see Ichirō, Ishidaac, “Kinsei bunka no tenkai” (The development of early modern culture), Shin Nihonshi taikei, Vol. 4: Kinsei shakai (Tokyo: Asakura Shoten, 1952), 308415Google Scholar, esp. 410–415.

54 Griffis (p. 430) describes his first impression of Fukui in 1871 as follows: “I was amazed at the utter poverty of the people, the contemptible houses, and the tumbledown look of the city…”

55 I do not ignore the fact that in some han the bushi still retained their Iandholdings or that in the late Tokugawa and early Meiji periods a considerable number of bushi were “returned” to the land.

56 Chōsakai, Tōkyō Shiseiad, Nihon toshi nenkan (Japan municipal yearbook) (Tokyo, 1952)Google Scholar; Orui, and Toba, , 694705.Google Scholar

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