Glossary of Terms for Studying Aizu Wakamatsu's History

Aizu 会津

  • original meaning – two gods met (会) by a river (津) in Aizu Takada

Aizu Clan 会津藩

  • Katamori Matsudaira (松平容保) [1834-1893] was the lord (daimyo – 大名) of the Aizu Clan
  • they were opposed to the Meiji Restoration and fought against the emperor’s forces in the Boshin Civil War

Boshin Civil War 戊辰戦争 [1868-1869]

  • Jan 27th 1868 to Jun 27th 1869 (last stronghold – Hakodate in Hokkaido – fell)
  • Meiji Restoration (明治維新) trying to unify Japan
  • some areas were fighting back, but many just accepted the new situation
  • Aizu was the last stronghold of the samurai way of life
  • Aizu clan fought against the anti-shogunate troops

Bukeyashiki 武家屋敷

  • residence of the samurai of Edo period (17th-19th century)
  • seven acres, 38 rooms
  • original buildings were burned 130 years ago during the Boshin civil war, rebuilt 20 years ago
  • took two years to rebuild
  • rooms have been decorated in Edo period style
  • lavatory has surface area close to 55 square feet
  • rice cleaning mill – 180 years old, brought from Shirakawa, water powered, has 16 stone mills, can pound 960kg of rice per day
  • kitchen has strong cross beams to support heavy snowfall
  • gyakubyobu (逆屏風) – the byobu (or screen painting) is placed upside-down to show that their has been a death in the family
  • while one retainer (Tanomo Saigo) went to battle, his wife and children killed themselves
  • papers on the wall or pillar—When people come here for sightseeing, they put the paper which has their names on the wall as a good luck charm or just in memory.
  • Inro—a case to keep an Inkan (stamp) or medicine. Rich people used to keep it in their pocket, and usually they had a stopper called “ “
  • money at the rice cleaning mill—Japanese people have a habit of making a monetary offering at shrines for the good luck. People visiting here offer money for praying the good harvest.
  • Nakahata Shrine – moved from Nakahata village, Gunjiro Matsudaira (judge) lived there, designated as important piece of cultural property
  • Chanoyu – tea ceremony – not pastime, but aesthetic ritual, follows rules set by Sen-no-Rikyu, his son, Shoan introduced the tea ceremony to Aizu, he built Rinkaku at Tsurugajo

Bushidou 武士道

  • way of the warrior
  • martial spirit, skill with weapons, absolute loyalty to one’s lord, strong sense of personal honour, devotion to duty, courage to sacrifice one’s life in battle or ritual suicide
  • was actually mostly developed in times of peace – warriors had very little to do but practice their “way” when the rulers took most of the powers away from them
  • martial aspects of bushido became popular during militaristic 1930’s, but then fell into disfavour after the war (WWII)

Byakkotai 白虎隊

  • 20 young men (16-17 years old [Japanese counting], 15-16 years old [Western counting]) who studied Bushido (see below) at Aizu Nisshinkan (会津日新館)
  • irony – Bushido teaches obedience to superiors, but Byakkotai were involved in a civil war, which is the exact opposite of obedience
  • were fighting off in Inawashiro (猪苗代町), but were losing
  • escaped through cave to Iimoriyama (飯盛山)
  • looked over Aizu to see the Tsurugajo (鶴ヶ城、若松城) in flames
  • if the castle fell, it meant the end of the Aizu Clan (会津藩)
  • rather than risk having to humble themselves before a new master, (and also to show their loyalty to the Aizu Clan) they killed themselves (1868)
  • in fact, the castle was not burning and the war raged on
  • Adachi Touzaburou 安達籐三郎, Ariga Orinosuke 有賀織之助, Ikegami Shintaro 池上新太郎, Ishida Wasuke 石田和助, Ishiyama Toranosuke 石山虎之助, Itou Teijirou 伊東悌次郎, Itou Toshihiko 伊藤俊彦, Ibuka Motarou 井深茂太郎, Shinoda Gisaburou 篠田儀三郎, Suzuki Genkichi 鈴木源吉, Tsugawa Kiyomi 津川喜代美, Tsuda Sutezou 津田捨蔵, Nagase Yuuji 永瀬雄治, Nishikawa Katsutarou 西川勝太郎, Nomura Komashirou 野村駒 四郎, Hayashi Yasouji 林八十冶, Mase Genshichirou 間瀬源七郎, Yanase Katsuzaburou 簗瀬勝三郎, Yanase Takeji 簗瀬武治, Iinuma Sadakichi 飯沼貞吉 [15,16 years old]

Byrd, Isabella イサベラ・バード

  • eldest daughter
  • born in Yorkshire, father was pastor
  • sick as a child (spinal disease), spent most of her adolescent years lying on a sofa in the rectory
  • in 1854 (she was 23), she decided to travel abroad in order to improve her health
  • first visited Canada, then U.S.A.
  • in the Spring of 1978, she set sail from San Francisco, arrived at port of Yokohama
  • stayed with Dr. Hepburn, an American missionary in Yokohama
  • didn’t like Yokohama very much, decided to travel into the interior even though it was not necessarily safe
  • hired a guide, an 18 year old boy named “Ito”
  • left Tokyo on horseback, Isabella in the lead
  • explored Nikko, headed further along the Kinugawa route (Aizu Highway)
  • visited Ikari, Yokokawa, Itosawa, Kawashima, Tajima, Toyonari, Atomi, Ohuchi, Ichikawa, Takada, Bange, Katakado, Nozawa, Najiri, Kuruma-toge, Hosaka, Torii, Eizan, and Tsugawa
  • when they reached Niigata, they had travelled 246 miles from Tokyo
  • continued to travel to Aomori via Yamagata, Shinjo, Yokote, and Kubota – covering 373 miles
  • visited villages of Ainu, where she closely observed the aborigines life and customs
  • took a ship called the Hyogo-maru back to Yokohama
  • whole journey lasted three months
  • wrote book – “A Trip to Japan’s Hinterland”, in which she described her visits to small towns, etc.
  • she visited Japan 5 more times between 1894 and 1896

Daimyo 大名

  • leader of local area (i.e. Aizu)

Fujinbutai 婦人部隊

  • group of female fighters during Boshin Civil War

Gamo Ujisato

  • ordered by Toyotomi Hideyoshi (shogun) to move to Aizu to rebuilt the castle and organize the city
  • protected the area from Date, who was Toyotomi’s enemy in Sendai
  • introduced culture to Aizu — lacquerware
  • rebuilt the castle as a seven storey building which resembled a crane in flight (current castle is 5 storeys)

Iimoriyama 飯盛山

  • markers at base – for horses
  • place where the Byakkotai came after losing a battle in Inawashiro
  • many markers donated to show support of Byakkotai and their samurai spirit
  • one marker from Italian government — axe removed from claw of bird

Iinuma Sadakichi 飯沼貞吉 [1853-1931]

  • Iinuma was the one Byakkotai who survived to tell the tale
  • his hand was injured, so he couldn’t complete the seppuku

Jinbo Shuuri 神保修理 [1838-1868]

  • samurai, against war – was killed due to his opposition to Aizu’s stance on Boshin Civil War

Karou 家老

  • advisor to the daimyo, elder

Kayano Gonbei 萱野権兵衛 [1830-1869]

  • karou, during Boshin Civil War

Komei Tennou 孝明天皇

  • Emperor before Meiji

Kumitate 組み立て

  • style of construction in which no nails are used (e.g. Sazaedo)

Matsudaira Katamori 松平容保 [1834-1893]

  • Daimyo during Boshin Civil War
  • adopted by Matsudaira family

Meiji Restoration 明治維新 [1868-1912]

  • January 3 1868 to July 30 1912
  • restoring imperial rule

Meiji Tennou 明治天皇 [1852-1912]

  • Meiji Emperor, opposed Tokugawa shogunate

Nakano Takeko 中野竹子 [1846-1868]

  • one of Fujinbutai, died during Boshin Civil War

Sagawa Kanbei 佐川官兵衛 [1831-1877]

  • samurai, was for fighting during Boshin Civil War

Saigou Tanomo 西郷頼母 [1803-1905]

  • karou, originally against fighting in Boshin Civil War, resigned, succeeded by Kayano

Sazaedo さざえ堂、栄螺堂 [1796~, 1889~present]

  • built in 1700s
  • fell into disrepair during Meiji restoration
  • rebuilt with support of local citizens
  • sazae = turban shell
  • shaped like double helix
  • philosophy – if you can’t climb a mountain, do a pilgrimage, then climb Sazaedo (similar to placing a rock on top of a rock to symbolize building a temple)
  • 33 images of Kannon (Buddhist Goddess of Mercy)
  • 16 metres tall
  • no nails used in construction – kumitate style of construction (組み立て)

Samurai 侍

  • member of the ruling class, originally warriors
  • bound by Bushidou during Edo period

Seppuku 切腹

  • ritual suicide by self-disembowelment
  • also called harakiri (腹切), but that is too direct for most Japanese
  • abdomen was chosen because ancient Japanese believed that it was the place where the soul resided and the source of action-derived tension, cradle of the individual’s will, boldness, spirit, anger, generosity
  • became very ritualized
  • apparel, site, time, witnesses, inspectors, assistant
  • open kimono, stretch out right hand to grasp knife, cut into abdomen from left to right
  • this wound was often not deep, and not intended to kill
  • prearranged signal to assistant would tell assistant to sever head
  • one of the 5 grades of punishment among samurai class

Shougun 将軍

  • military leader of the daimyo and all of Japan (until Meiji Restoration)

Tennou 天皇

  • emperor

Tokugawa Yoshinobu 徳川慶喜 [1837- ]

  • last Shogun

Toyotomi Hideyoshi

  • Shogun who ordered Gamo Ujisato to rebuild Tsurugajo and to protect the area from Sendai’s Date family which was Toyotomi’s enemy

Tsurugajo 鶴ヶ城 [1384-, 1590-, -1874, 1965-present]

  • Daimyo Residence
  • most castles in Japan are reproductions of the originals which were destroyed in battle or in restorations
  • Tsurugajo was rebuilt in 1965 after being destroyed in 1874
  • Displays
    • 1st floor – tomb-period excavations (4th to 7th centuries) and Buddhist materials
    • 2nd floor – antique lacquerware and pottery
    • 3rd & 4th floors – Boshin War items, Byakkotai displays
    • 5th floor – observatory
    • Southern wing – folk materials
  • corridor bridge (Red bridge) – so as not to let very many enemies attack, legend — bridge was originally built so that pulling any one board out of it made the whole thing collapse
  • suit of armor and a helmet – made of iron, covered with lacquer. At the front of the helmets, they have the symbol of their groups.
  • a sword guard – the protection for the sword, craftsmen carved beautiful patterns on it
  • Akabeko (赤べこ) – a famous souvenir of Aizu, red is believed to be a lucky colour, idea apparently comes from “red cows” that were needed to move the big stones to make the castle
  • Festival – September 23rd
  • surrounded by a stone wall
  • See: Interactive Tour of Tsurugajo