〔２０１０年３月２２日（月）： 『歴史フットパス・ウォーキング in 鎌倉』 の参加者募集中！〕
１. An area, which is called “shitamati” or downtown , was under the sea 10,000years ago. Two thirds of the shell mounds in Japan are in the Kanto region. One of them is the Oomori shell midden that was discovered by Edward Sylvester Morse from America who
was a professor at the Tokyo University. Those shell mounds testify that not a few people lived in this area. It is said that it was 2000 years ago that the shoreline took the shape that remained until the Edo period.
２. It was at the time when the Yamato court began to rule over Japan that the Kanto region was referred to in historical documents. The Taika Reform served as a system to make Japan a nation governed according to fixed laws and the Kanto region was designated as “Musashi.” Some say it was called “Musashi” because ” Karamushi” , a perennial grass, was seen everywhere in the area. In the 9th and 10th centuries, battles broke out between the Heike clan and the Minamoto clan in the region.
At that time, Masakado Taira carried the greatest weight among warriors in the region and called himself “ the New Prince”. It seems that few people paid attention because it took place in a place far away from Kyoto which was the capital then. In the next century, the Minamoto clan deepened ties with warriors in the area, which led the way to setting up
the Kamakura government.
＊The Sarashina Diary
Lady Sarashina, a daughter of Takasue Sugawara, is the author of the Diary.
Around 1060, it was completed. In 1020, the author was 13 years old and
while she was on the way home back to Kyoto from “Kazusa region” (now Chiba Prefecture) with her father, she wrote about a road which was called “Chiba road” in the Edo period and now called national road 14. When she approached the Sumida river she referred to a bird which had been in a poem written by “Narihira Ariwara,” which testifies that the road was busy from long before that time. By the way the bird must have been a hooded gull, a symbol of Tokyo.
＊Iha Nuribe ,a government official
Nuribe was a government official in the Nara period (7th and 8th centuries). According
to「History of Osaka volume Ⅰ」, he donated twenty thousand rolls of cloth made of plants as a tax payment .( One roll is considered to be 10 meters.) Sagami region was a place where cloth for a payment tax was often traded. It is thought he himself went out to a city to be a government official and get business contacts and must have had a group of business people in Sagami region to help to make it easier to do business transactions in the Naniwa region. Twenty thousand rolls of cloth is too much for just a few people. They might have used a sea route from Sagami to Owari or Ise and then a land route to Naniwa. It seems that woven fabric was produced in a large quantity because that Musashi region was blessed with good materials such as the nettles. It cannot have not been so difficult to collect woven fabric if they had an organization.
３. Later Shigenaga Edo bcame a ruler in the Kanto region and he became a subject of Yoritomo. The Edos had enjoyed prosperity through sea transport and transportation of goods, which shows the Kanto region was a busy trading center as a good place for sea transport. He made a good foundation for Edo as a big city. It was Doukan Oota that made Edo far better place. He was a past master in the arts of the pen and sword and he did much river engineering and flood prevention work. He also built the original Edo castle. We hear that when Ieyasu went to the original Edo castle it was so ruined that it was almost broken down. Some suspect that they made the story up so that Ieyasu’s work would be appreciated more highly.
Why did Ieyasu prefer Edo as the center of the Tokugawa shougunate to Odawara or Kamakura? As we learned already, sea routes, transportation and therefore various industries were well developed in the areas around Edo and the land was blessed with a geographical advantage, so he must have seen great potential in Edo. In fact Edo became the largest city in the 19th century with a population of one million.
Yokohama was considered as a mere sandy beach but actually the place was among
the areas suited for transportation, sea routes and industries and was ready for the next stage.
Since the opening of the port, Yokohama has been an international city.
＊It was long thought that Edo had been a small fishing village. Much excavation around Shinagawa and Asakusa have revealed otherwise. Edo was the center of commerce and transport. Instead of land routes, sea routes were much used as a means of transportation and various goods reached Shinagawa from Kyoto and Sakai. Those goods were carried to much further places.
４. It was the most essential thing for Ieyasu to construct a strong castle town. With a vision for the future he started the reclamation of the land of marsh. They dug the Kanda hill and reclaimed the Hibiya inlet which is now the outer garden of the Imperial Palace. He ordered the construction of the Nihonbashi bridge. They dug many canals around the Edo castle. In around 1620, he ordered the Sendai han to make the Kanda river, connecting the Hirakawa river and the Koishikawa river. He ordered many civil engineering projects changing the flow of the Tone river to the Pacific instead of the Edo bay, which solved the issue of floods.
It is said that Tenkai, a noted monk and a strong adviser for Ieyasu, advised that
city planning of Edo be like that of Kyoto according to the Way of Yin and Yang; a capital should be protected by four fabulous animals that are omens of good fortune. It was believed that there should be a black turtle-snake in the north, a white tiger in the west, a blue dragon in the east, and a red phoenix in the south. These mean a high mountain, a broad road, a clear stream and the sea respectively. So the Tone river was controlled by the civil engineering to be the blue dragon in the east and roads were made as the white tiger in the west. As northeast was considered to be the demon’s gate, many temples were built in that direction. Ieyasu wanted Edo not only to be the center of politics and economics but also to be a place of eternal peace so he wanted to follow the example of the city planning of Kyoto.
One more aspect of the superior planning of Edo was the clockwise expansion through moats. Moats were built in a whorl shape around the castle so that they could have residential area for warriors and townsmen separately, while they could have business contacts through water ways. Clockwise expansion around the Edo castle was originally devised to make use of energy from Mt. Fuji. It seems to have worked well.
● 古街道研究家 道の考古学者 歴史ルポライター
● 歴史古街道団長 歴史古道まちづくりプランナー 歴史計画コンサルタント
● １４講座レギュラー講師 日本フットパス協会理事 １９５９年東京出身