187.Fukue Castle Part1 (draft)

Fukue Castle was located in Fukue Island, which is the largest one of Goto Islands. It was built by the Goto Clan, the lord family of the Fukue Domain during the Edo Period. Goto Islands are at the westmost part of the Kushu Region. That’s why they have a long history including close relationships with foreign countries through sea transportation. However, the castle is one of the latest castles in Japan because of the special conditions and matters of the islands.

Location and History

Fukue Castle was located in Fukue Island, which is the largest one of Goto Islands. It was built by the Goto Clan, the lord family of the Fukue Domain during the Edo Period. Goto Islands are at the westernmost part of the Kushu Region. That’s why they have a long history including close relationships with foreign countries through sea transportation. However, the castle is one of the youngest castles in Japan because of the special conditions and matters of the islands.

The location of the castle

Goto Islands with Matsura Party, Kaizoku warriors, and Wako pirates

In the ancient times, Goto Islands were on the southern route for Japanese missions to the Tang dynasty of China. For example, a famous priest, Kukai, left the islands to the dynasty by ship. In the Middle Ages, warriors, called Matsura Party, invaded the islands in order to govern it. Though their leader, the Matsura Clan stayed in Hirado of the main Kyushu Island, other members like the Uku and Aokata Clans moved to Goto Islands. Apart from the jobs for ruling their lands, they usually acted as sea guards and navies. They also pirated cargos from the ships which meant they didn’t have to pay to enter certain areas or were wrecked. So, they were sometimes called Kaizoku, which directly means ‘pirates’.

The restored Kobayabune boat, which is an example of navies’ or Kaizoku’s boats, exhibited by Murakami KAIZOKU Museum

Another leading group at that time were Wako pirates, which used Goto Islands as a base. They were classified in the former Wako during the Muromachi Period and the later one during the Sengoku Period. The latter was, in fact, ruled by Chinese people, who were like armed merchants. It was said that some Japanese people from the Matsura Party might have joined the Wako pirates. The lords of the party tried to build a strong connection with those of the pirates to improve their power.

A picture of the Wako attack (licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons)

Rule of Goto Clan as Fukue Domain

In the 14th Century during the Muromachi Period, one of the Matsura Party, the Uku Clan managed to unify Goto Islands. As a result, the clan moved its home from Uku Island to Fukue Island, the largest one in the islands. Morisada Uku, who was the lord of the clan in the middle of the 16th Century tried to increase trading by building Egawa Castle near the estuary of Fukue River. He met a Chinese big shot from the Wako Pirates, called Wang Zhi, in the process. Morisada allowed Wang Zhi to live and trade in Fukue, by building a Chinatown near the castle. Some historical items, such as Minjin-do (a mausoleum) and Rokkaku Well, can be seen in the town ruins. Goto Islands became a trading center following Hirado.

The portrait of Wang Zhi, exhibited by Minjin-do Mausoleum
The imaginary image of the Chinatown, exhibited by Minjin-do Mausoleum
The Minjin-do Mausoleum
The Rokkaku Well

The Uku Clan also adapted to its new environment. When Christianity came to Goto Islands, Morisada’s son, Sumisada became a Christian. Sumisada’s grandson, Sumiharu changed his family name from Uku to Goto, as the representative of the islands, during the unification of Japan by Hideyoshi Toyotomi. Sumiharu’s successor, Harumasa Goto survived even when Ieyasu Tokugawa became the last ruler. Harumasa was the first lord of the Fukue Domain which governed the area all through the Edo Period. The second lord, Moritoshi Goto forced all the warriors of the domain to live in Fukue town to rule over them completely. Fukue Samurai Residence Street is the ruins for the middle-class warriors’ residential area.

Fukue Samurai Residence Street

However, the situation of the domain was not stable. Even though the income of the domain had been good because of the prosperous fishing industry, both of them declined rapidly. Therefore, the domain needed to make counterplans. Their first plan was to tax each person in the domain, It seemed unusual but the second counterplan was more unorthodox. Their second plan was to force some girls to serve high-class warriors like slaves for three years! This was obviously a tribble law even during the Edo Period, which lasted until the end of the period. On the other hand, another plan might have unknowingly brought a good thing to Goto Islands. Fukue Domain asked Omura Domain in the main island of Kyushu to move farmers to Goto Islands. They agreed with each other, and then, thousands of farmers went to the islands. In fact, many of the farmers were underground-Christians. Being Christian was prohibited at that time, but Fukue Domain accepted them carelessly without checking their background because they wanted to increase their income. As a result, Christianity was secretly worshiped by the farmers, which would lead to some Hidden Christian Sites in the Nagasaki Region (as a World Heritage) in Goto Islands.

Kashiragashima Church in Kashiragashima Island of Goto Islands (licensed by Indiana jo via Wikimedia Commons)

As for the castle’s matter, Egawa Castle was eventually burned down by accident in 1614. Fukue Domain tried to build another one, however, it was not allowed by the shogunate. This was because the domain was too small for having a castle. The shogunate controlled all the domains by classifying them and permitting what they could do. Instead, Fukue Domain built Ishida Encampment at a seashore where Fukue Castle would later be built.

The ruins of Egawa Castle, where only a monument stands beside the hotel

Road to Fukue Castle

Fukue Domain was also not allowed to trade with foreign countries because it was allowed to do so with Netherlands and China. The only trading that was allowed was in Nagasaki Port. Furthermore, the domain was ordered by the shogunate to monitor the foreign trading ships on route to Nagasaki near Goto Islands. The domain built 11 lookout posts on the islands in order to monitor foreign ships. That made the domain become more careful of foreign affairs. The domain sent some officers to Nagasaki to collect foreign information. As time passed, unidentified Western ships often appeared in the sea around Japan. The domain felt a sense of crisis and applied the first permission to build a castle in 1806 but was rejected in the end.

Dejima Island in Nagasaki Port, which was used for the trading with the foreign countries (licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons)

Meanwhile, there were big incidents at Nagasaki. In 1808, a British warship, called Phaeton, rushed towards Nagasaki, to catch some ships of Netherlands under a state of war between the countries. Then, in 1844, a Dutch warship, called Palembang, visited Nagasaki with a diplomatic massage by the Dutch king, which encourage Japan to open the country. This information was basically confidential, but Fukue Domain got it through the officers at Nagasaki.

The British warship, Phaeton (licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons)
The Dutch warship, Palembang (licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons)

Therefore, it asked the shogunate to allow them to build the castle again and again. Eventually, they were allowed to do it in 1849, which was the same year as that of Matsumae Castle in Hokkaido was built.

Matsumae Castle

Construction of Castle

Fukue Domain lauched the construction of Fukue Castle at the same site as its encampment right away. However, it took a very long time as long as 15 years. This was because of the lack of the budget and its location near the estuary. There is the ruins of a lighthouse called Jotobana near Fukue Port. it was originally built as banks to protect the construction site from the big waves. The castle was eventually completed in 1863. It was one of the youngest castles in Japan and unique one devoted to guarding the sea.

The Jotobana Ruins

For these reasons, it had several distinct features. First, the castle faced the sea in the east and surrounded by is in the east, north, and south directions. The sea could be a natural moat for the castle, but could also take enemy’s ships in as well. Therefore, the stone walls at the eastern side were very thick. A water gate was also built to sail the caste’s ships. Secondly, the castle had several enclosures such as the Man, Second and Northern Enclosures like others. However, the corners of them had cannon bases, not turrets which Japanese castles used to have had. the residence and garden for the lord were built in the western part of the castle, the farthest from the sea, which could be the safest. Finally, the stone walls of the castle used many natural stones which the island produced. the stones were piled in a method called Nozura-zumi by a special stone craftsman group called Ano-shu.

The illustration of Fukue Castle, quoted from the board of education of Nagasaki Prefecture
The stone walls at the eastern side of the castle
The stone walls which were piled in the Nozura-zumi method

Though the castle was built after the great efforts and so long time, it was abandoned in 1872 after the Meiji Restoration when it was only 9-year-old.

The ruins of Fukue Castle

To be continued in “Fukue Castle Part2”

53.二条城 その1







足利義輝肖像画、国立歴史民俗博物館蔵 (licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons)
花の御所、「洛中洛外圖上杉本陶版」より (licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons)
義輝二条城の推定位置(赤枠内)、左下の堀に囲まれた区画が現・二条城(Google Mapを利用)


足利義昭坐像、等持院霊光殿蔵 (licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons)
義昭二条城の推定位置(青枠内)、赤枠内が義輝二条城(Google Mapを利用)


織田信長肖像画、狩野宗秀作、長興寺蔵、16世紀後半 (licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons)
信長二条城の推定位置(緑枠内)、青枠内が義昭二条城(Google Mapを利用)
織田信忠肖像画、総見寺蔵 (licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons)



豊臣秀吉肖像画、加納光信筆、高台寺蔵 (licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons)
「聚樂第屏風圖」部分(三井記念美術館所蔵)(licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons)
秀吉が築いた妙顕寺城の推定位置(茶枠内)(Google Mapを利用)


徳川家康肖像画、加納探幽筆、大阪城天守閣蔵 (licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons)
慶長期二条城の範囲(紫枠内)(Google Mapを利用)
慶長二条城が描かれた「洛中洛外図」、メトロポリタン美術館所蔵 (licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons)


豊臣秀頼肖像画、養源院蔵 (licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons)
大坂夏の陣図屏風、大阪城天守閣蔵 (licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons)
古田織部肖像画、「茶之湯六宗匠伝記」より (licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons)



徳川秀忠肖像画、西福寺蔵 (licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons)
徳川家光肖像画、金山寺蔵 (licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons)
後水尾天皇肖像画、宮内庁書陵部蔵、尾形光琳筆 (licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons)
徳川和子(東福門院)肖像画、光雲寺蔵 (licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons)


現在の二条城の航空写真(Google Mapを利用)





徳川家茂肖像画、徳川記念財団蔵 (licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons)


将軍時代の徳川慶喜 (licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons)
「大政奉還図」、邨田丹陵作、聖徳記念絵画館蔵、10月12日の黒書院での場面を描いています (licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons)


「二条城太政官代行幸」、小堀鞆音作、聖徳記念絵画館蔵、明治天皇の行幸の場面を描いています (licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons)


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187.福江城 その2





城周辺の航空写真(Google Mapを利用)


































・「九州の名城を歩く 佐賀・長崎編」吉川弘文館
・「長崎県文化財調査報告書第139集 石田城跡」1997年 長崎県教育委員会


今回の内容を趣向を変えて、Youtube にも投稿しました。よろしかったらご覧ください。