cdm.tokugawa.1-0223022.000068,184,5734,5692
Click here to view this item in the UBC maps collection.

The Edojō map was produced in 1854. The creator of the map is unknown. During this time period, Emperor Kōmei was the ruler. This is also the same year Commodore Matthew Perry signs the Treaty of Kanagawa with the Japanese government, opening the ports of Shimoda and Hakodate to American trade which thus permitted the establishment of a US consulate in Japan. The building itself was inspired by the Azuchi Castle which is on the shores of Lake Biwa in Omi Province. The map depicts the Edo Castle from a birds eye view. The colours in blue depict water in the moats. The pink/red depicts the entrances/doors or stairs and the yellow parts depict areas where things were stored and residences where daimyos would stay.

There are more copies of maps that contain the Edo Castle in the Berkeley Japanese Historical Maps collection but none that focus specifically on the Edo Castle without looking at the surrounding town.

Background on Castles

Each castle is built for defence and also served to impress and intimidate rivals with their size and elegant interiors.[1] Moats were created with mountain streams and buildings were usually made of thatched roofs or wooden shingles.[2] One of the main problems with castles were that the use of thatch made it an easy target for fires (which was one of the reasons why the Edo Castle was destroyed so many times). Also the weather and soil erosion didn’t make structures a solid base which made it an easy target for earthquakes. But after 250 years of peace, castles lost their main purpose of defence and therefore edo period castles no longer needed defences against the outside.[3] Instead they served as luxurious homes for the daimyo.

Background on the Edo Castle

The Edo Castle, also known as Chiyoda Castle was built in 1457. Unlike most castles, which are built on hills for defence, Edo castle is built on a flatland (kakakushiki layout).[4] This is where the Tokugawa Ieyasu established the Tokugawa shogunate. Currently it is part of the Tokyo Imperial Palace. It was once considered the largest castle on earth but now it only consists of a few gates, guardhouses, wall and moats. The castle consists of wood and stone.[5] Edo, as the seat of the Tokugawa shogun, was the important castle in Japan at the time.[6] It was known for the strength of the gates, which is why they are still standing today after so many fires and earthquakes.[7]

Construction of Edo

1590-1656

When Ieyasu arrived at the castle constructed by Dokan, all the buildings were in ruins. The first ten years were then devoted to the town planning which would consist of reconstructing the castle, developing moats and subdividing for the warrior class.[8] They reconstructed the castle from a military viewpoint to accommodate moat networks and re-route ponds to connect to each other around the castle.[9]

1657-1715

In the year 1657, there was a major fire (The Great Meireki Fire) which burned 60% of the Edo urban area and devastated the castle except the nishinomaru.[10] They reconsidered the importance of new urban planning and the importance of disaster resistance. Between the years 1600 and 1868, many catastrophic fires occurred and the government took measures to reduce the vulnerability of the city by covering the roofs, made with straw, to be covered with mud.

1716-1867

This was the time period of the city to the fall of the city. This was the time when firemen were formed they began using roofing tiles on top of buildings.[11]

The Layout

The overall layout of the grounds of Edo Castle is extensive and measured 16 kilometers. Many fires and earthquakes have destructed the Edo Castle and have made the grounds smaller over the years, but the buildings have stayed generally in the same place. This included the Honmaru, which is in the center, the Ninomaru, Sannomaru, Nishinomaru, Nishinomaru-shita, Fukiage and the Kitanomaru. These were all divided by moats and large stone walls.

Gates

The gates or mon were what protected the castle. These were generally made with wood. The entrance of the castle was called the ote (meeting place) while the gate it leads to was known as the otemon.[12] Gateways serve as a symbol of power and authority.[13]

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edo_castle_base

Honmaru

The Honmaru consisted of outer, inner and central halls. It contained the keep and other residential buildings that were available for the use of the daimyo.[14] This area was destroyed once in 1657 and 1863 by fires. It is surrounded by moats on all sides for protection. The main tower, also called the keep or the donjon, symbolizes the power of the shogun. It was a glamorous construction and was ornamented with gold, but it was destroyed in the 1657 fire and only the foundations of it are left today. The introduction of stone as a building material for the main tower, helped combat the problem of soil erosion but it also allowed designers to build structures that were previously impossible.[15] The keep or tenshu which means ‘high heavenly protector’ is the highest point of the entire structure so that enemies would be able to see it from miles away.[16] The point of the keep was to provide a vantage point and provide secure storage. The Fujimi-yagura is the south-eastern corner of the Honmaru and it is said that the Fuji mountain can be seen from here. The word yagura is a name for a tower which literally translates into ‘arrow store’ which was one of its original functions.[17] This became one of the most important buildings during the Edo period since the main tower was destroyed in 1657.

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Fujima Yagura

Nishinomaru

This is the western ward where the residences of retired shogun were located. It was destroyed in 1873 and the Imperial palace was built there in the Meiji era. There are two bridges that led over the moats today, are where the site of the old bridges were.

Honmaru Palace and Nishonmaru

Various fires destroyed the Honmaru over time and were rebuilt after each fire. In the span from 1844 to 1863, the Honmaru experienced three fires. After each fire, the shogun moved to the Nishinomaru residences for the time being until reconstruction was complete. However, in 1853 both the Honmaru and Nishinomaru burned down, forcing the shogun to move into a daimyo residence. The last fire occurred in 1873, after which the palace was not rebuilt by the new imperial government. This means that the Honmaru and the Nishonmaru are both not present in this map because this map was drawn in 1854, the year after the 1853 fire.

Ninomaru

The Ninomaru was said to be constructed for the heirs of the Tokugawa shoguns. It’s situated on the eastern side of the Honmaru, but it has been destroyed multiple times and now only the Hyakunin-basho and the Doshin-bansho are still standing. The Doshin-bansho is a guardhouse where the samurai guardsmen were posted to watch over the castle grounds. The Hyakunin-bansho is a building which housed hundreds of guardsmen who were associated with the Tokugawa clan. The Otemon was the main gate of the castle. It underwent major damage in 1657, 1703, 1855, 1923 and 1945 due to earthquakes, fires and WWII. Restoration took place in 1965.

Fukiage

The Fukiage is the western area that was constructed into a firebreak after the great Meireki fire of 1657.

Modern Map

Kitanomaru

This is the northern part next to Honmaru and was used as the medicinal garden during the shoguns rule. It was also used as a secure residential compound for the extended family of the Tokugawa.

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A lot of the words on the map lead me to believe that it is a military map. The words explain different kinds of battle equipment that they might have carried. For example the two words at the bottom of the map are shown here. They mean arrow slit and gun slit which were used in battle previously. The words surrounding the map indicate how many outlets there were in each area of the palace.

What Has Changed Since Then

This particular map was made before the two fires took place in 1863 which destroyed the Nishinomaru, Honmaru and Ninomaru compounds. It was also made before the Meiji Emperor took residence in the structures in 1869. On May 5th 1873, there was another fire which destroyed part of the Edo Castle. The new imperial palace was then built in 1888. Then in World War II, the castle suffered further damage. Much of what was once part of the castles outer works has now disappeared under modern development.[18]

 

Notes

[1] “Types of Castle and The History of Castles.” Types and History of Castles. http://www.castlesandmanorhouses.com/types_07_japanese.htm.

[2] “Types of Castle and The History of Castles.” Types and History of Castles. http://www.castlesandmanorhouses.com/types_07_japanese.htm.

[3] “Types of Castle and The History of Castles.” Types and History of Castles. http://www.castlesandmanorhouses.com/types_07_japanese.htm.

[4] “Types of Castle and The History of Castles.” Types and History of Castles. http://www.castlesandmanorhouses.com/types_07_japanese.htm.

[5] “Types of Castle and The History of Castles.” Types and History of Castles. http://www.castlesandmanorhouses.com/types_07_japanese.htm.

[6] Turnbull, Stephen R., and Peter Dennis. Japanese Castles, 1540-1640. Oxford: Osprey Pub., 2003, 56.

[7] Turnbull, Stephen R., and Peter Dennis. Japanese Castles, 1540-1640. Oxford: Osprey Pub., 2003, 56.

[8] Ichikawa, Hiroo. “The Evolutionary Process of Urban Form in Edo/Tokyo to 1900.” Town Planning Review 65, no. 2 (1994): 184.

[9] Ichikawa, Hiroo. “The Evolutionary Process of Urban Form in Edo/Tokyo to 1900.” Town Planning Review 65, no. 2 (1994): 184.

[10] Ichikawa, Hiroo. “The Evolutionary Process of Urban Form in Edo/Tokyo to 1900.” Town Planning Review 65, no. 2 (1994): 186.

[11] Ichikawa, Hiroo. “The Evolutionary Process of Urban Form in Edo/Tokyo to 1900.” Town Planning Review 65, no. 2 (1994): 188.

[12] Turnbull, Stephen R., and Peter Dennis. Japanese Castles, 1540-1640. Oxford: Osprey Pub., 2003, 26.

[13] Coaldrake, William H. “The Gatehouse of the Shogun’s Senior Councillor: Building Design and Status Symbolism in Japanese Architecture of the Late Edo Period.” Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 47, no. 4 (1988): 397.

[14] Turnbull, Stephen R., and Peter Dennis. Japanese Castles, 1540-1640. Oxford: Osprey Pub., 2003, 21.

[15] Turnbull, Stephen R., and Peter Dennis. Japanese Castles, 1540-1640. Oxford: Osprey Pub., 2003, 17.

[16] Turnbull, Stephen R., and Peter Dennis. Japanese Castles, 1540-1640. Oxford: Osprey Pub., 2003, 17.

[17] Turnbull, Stephen R., and Peter Dennis. Japanese Castles, 1540-1640. Oxford: Osprey Pub., 2003, 29.

[18] Turnbull, Stephen R., and Peter Dennis. Japanese Castles, 1540-1640. Oxford: Osprey Pub., 2003, 21.

 

Works Cited

http://www.syougai.metro.tokyo.jp/bunkazai/heritagemap/chiyoda/chiyoda_r04.html

http://www.stutler.cc/other/sketchbook/sketchbook_b_01.html

http://www.jcastle.info/castle/profile/35-Edo-Castle

http://ameblo.jp/kabekuni/entry-11284884717.html

 

Contributor: Stephanie Mar

(Edited by Elle Marsh)

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