Welcome to the Country of One Thousand Miracles - Japan !
Coat of Arms of Kikkawa Family
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The Folding screen of Kintai-kyo Bridge
For more detailed information about
the Kintai-kyo Bridge, click the
following chinese letters.( In Japanese only )
By courtesy of Mr. Nobukado Matsuzuka
of Iwakuni West Rotary Club
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Chintai ch'iao (Kintai-kyô in Japanese)
Bridge in Si Hu (the West Lake),
province of Hangzhou, China
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Until the mid-16th century, the Amako and Ôuchi clans dominated the Chugoku Region. Sandwiched
between these two powerful clans, the Môri clan was dominated and humiliated by them, and was
completely at their mercy.
The Ôuchi clan is said to have descended from Prince Rinshô of the Korean Kingdom of Paekche
. ( Kudara in Japanese ). The Ôuchi clan reached its peak of power during the time
of Ôuchi Yoshitaka ( 1507-1551), who had seven provinces under his rule. The city of Yamaguchi,
with its flourishing culture, was called "The Kyoto of the West."
In 1550, Francis Xavier visited Yamaguchi city and asked Lord Yoshitaka for permission to
introduce Christianity into his domains. Lord Yoshitaka permitted him to preach the Christian faith
in his provinces. In 1552, the first Christmas in Japan was celebrated in Yamaguchi.
In 1952, to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the arrival of Francis Xavier to the city of
Yamaguchi, the Sacred Cathedral Commemorative of the visit of Francis Xavier to Yamaguchi
was constructed. Regrettably, it burned down in 1991. It was reconstructed in 1998.
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Yamaguchi Sacred Cathedral
the arrival of Francis
Xavier to Yamaguchi
On February 19th 1980, the government of Yamaguchi city
signed the agreements of sistership with the city of Pamplona,
in the province of Navarra, the birth-place of Francis Xavier.
The Japanese garden of 6,000 square meters constucted with
the cooperation of the government of Yamaguchi city which
sent to Pamplona some garden artists and horticulturists, is
the symbol of friendship between two cities. The garden was
inaugurated and was opened to the public in 1997.
In 1525, Môri Motonari pleadged loyalty to the Ôuchi clan. As a sign of his loyalty, he sent his eldest son Takamoto to Ôuchi Yoshioki antagonistic to the Amako clan. The security of the Môri clan became under the protection of the powerful Ôuchi clan.
Yoshitaka, son of Yoshioki, had devoted himself so much to learning religions, literature, history and the arts and he lead a gorgeous life influenced by the noblemen from Kyushu in spite of his domains were threatened by the Ôtomo and the Amako clans. One of his chief retainers Sue Takafusa ( later named as Harutaka) believed that a lord who didn't devote himself to governing the provinces well should be expelled. Other chief retainers of the Lord agreed with him. Lord Yoshitaka was attacked by Sue Takafusa and fled from Yamaguchi city but he entered a temple where he committed seppuku in 1557 and the powerful Ôuchi clan perished.
Môri Motonari attacked Sue Harutaka, and defeated his troops at the Itsukushima Island. He
possessed 4 provinces under his rule. When Môri Motonari was 61 years old, he wrote the fourteen
article will for his three sons. It is said that on his death bed, Môri Motonari broke arrows one by one
and warned his sons to get united, saying that one arrow can be broken easily, but three arrows put
together are difficult to break. This story is popularly known among Japanese people as " The
teaching of Three arrows ".
Motonari crashed the Amako clan and became the ruler of the 10 provinces. The second son
Motoharu and the third son Takakage of Motonari inherited by adoption the Kikkawa and and
Kohayakawa families respectively.
Kohayakawa family was divided into Numata-Kohayakawa and Takehara-Kohayakawa. In
1541, lord Kohayakawa Okikage of Takehara-Kohayakawa family died of disease. The family
had no heir. The main retainers of Takehara-Kohayakawa asked Môri Motonari for his little
son, Tokujumaru to succeed the family. Motonari delayed his decision for a few years, as there
were pros and cons among the retainers of Kohayakawa to have Tokujumaru adopted as a
son of the deceased lord. In 1644, however, 12 year old Tokujumaru finally entered Takehara
Castle as a lord of the Kohayakawas.
Tokujumaru was named Kohayakawa Takakage. He contributed much to the victory of the
Môri clan, making the Murakami Marine Warriors( Murakami Suigun ) in the Seto Inland Sea
to take sides with the Môri clan in the battle to defeat Sue Harutaka in the Itsukushima Island.
Takakage was referred to as " One of the two main rivers( pillars) of the Môri clan " together
with his elder brother Kikkawa Motoharu and supported the main House of the Môri of his
Takakage, however, was forced to adopt Hideaki, the nephew of Lady Kita-no-mandokoro,
legitimate wife of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, the ruler of all Japan. Hideaki was a nephew of
Hideyoshi, but Hideyoshi had adopted him as his son, when Hideaki was only three years
old. Hideyoshi had not sons of his own and not many relatives of his own. He gave many
favors to the members of the Kinoshita family of his legitimate wife Lady Kita-no-Madokoro
" Nene ". Lady Kitano Mandokoro was a daughter of a samurai Sugihara Sadatoshi. She
was adopted as a daughter of powerful warlord Asano Nagakatsu, a loyal warlord to
Toyotomi Hideyoshi before she married Hideyoshi.
Kohayakawa Takakage advanced to the Shikoku Island, at the order of Toyotomi Hideyoshi
who wanted to conquer and unify all Japan. The Kôno clan had governed the Province of Iyo
( Now, Ehime prefecture) during 250 years. Takakage ruined the Yuzuki Castle in Matsuyama
( Now, the capital of Ehime prefecture ) in 1585.
The site of 8.6 hectars of the Castle is now Dôgo Park open to the public. In 1987, they started
excavating the land of 2.9 hectars on the south of the Park. The excavation took 14 years, and
the ruins of the Castle, garden, and samurais' houses of the medieval ages were discovered.
In April 2003, the samurais' houses and the garden have been
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The site of the Yuzuki Castle
in the Dogo Park,
Matsuyama, Ehime Prefecture.
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Samurai enjoying the
composition of the Poem
Game " Renga "
reproduced. The scenes of the worrirors enjoying tea ceremony
and poems " Renga " composition game have also been
reproduced. ( See the photos on the left hand.
In the Dôgo Park, there is the Shiki Memorial Museum for the
Haiku poem reformer in the Meiji Era, Masaoka Shiki. In the
modern times, Ehime Prefecture produced many eminent Haiku
Many Haiku poets in the present times were the desciples
of the poets influenced by the Haiku reform movements started
by Shiki. Ehime Prefecture has a large population of amateur
Hideaki fought brilliantly in the battles in Korea, at the order of
Hideyoshi, leading the powerful " Suigun " - Marine warriors of
the Seto Inland Sea. Upon his return to Japan, he was appointed
as one of the " 5 Elder Ministers- Gotairô" in the Cabinet of the
He betrayed the West Army at the battle of Sekigahara by going
to the side of the East Army led by Ieyasu. This was a beginning
of the fall of the Toyotomi clan.
Hideaki was an important Daimyo with the two important
provinces, Bizen and Mimasaka, with 500,000 koku of rice
production. But, he may have not endured the bad reputation
of " a shameless betrayer ", and became almost insane. He
committed many follies, and died of desease at the age of 21
in 1602. He had never had a son and did not have anybody to inherit his domain and the family. Thus, the main house of the glorious Kohayakawa discontinued.
The father of Hideaki came from the family of Sugihara, but Hideyoshi gave the father of Hideaki his former family name Kinoshita to recognize him as a member of his own Toyotomi family. His father was named Kinoshita Iesada. In the battle of Sekigahara,following the advice of his sister Lady Kita-no-Madokoro Nene, Kinoshita Iesada remained neutral. Ieyasu, the first shogun moved him from the domain of Himeji to Ashimori in the province of BichIesada with the same rice production 25,000 koku.
The domain of Ashimori ( In the suburbs of Okayama city now ) of Kinoshita continued until the end
of the Tokugawa regime in 1686. In the Meiji era, lord Kinoshita was nominated as viscount. The
viscount Kinoshita died without having any son. His nephew Rigen inherited the House of the viscount.
Viscount Kinoshita Rigen was a poet. He participated in the literary and art movements of
"Shirakaba -ha School - White Birth". The name was taken after the name of the magazine founded
in 1910 mostly by the graduates of the Gakushûin School for sons of noble families,like Musyanokoji
Saneatsu, Shiga Naoya, Kishida Ryusei, and so on. Many of them were writers but could also paint
The artists of the Shirakaba-ha School were familiar with the latest tendency of Western arts at
that time. But, the European arts had been heavily influenced by the Japanese fine arts and folk
arts. The pictures and the drawings on the covers of the magazine " Shirakaba " were unique,
modern and romantic for many Japanese. People were not aware that they were influenced by
the traditional Japanese art forms. The Japanese thought that the new forms of the arts started
in Europe were purely European.
In 1862, the Tokugawa Shogun government participated in the World Exposition at London,
and then at Ｐaris in 1867. The Shogunate government exhibited paintings and articles
of the Japanese unique culture at both Expositions. The French artists were charmed with many
of them with which they had not been familiar.
Vincent Van Gogh imitated many works of Ukiyo-e woodblock paintings of Hiroshige and
other Japanese artists. The painters such as Claude Monet, Edouard Manet, Edgar Degas,
Paul Gauguin, and many craftsmen were charmed and influenced by the Japanese arts.
French art-critic Philippe Burty coined the word " Japonisme " in 1876 to describe the fads for
things Japanese. This new forms of the Arts developed into the arts of " Art Nouveau " and
" Art Deco " at the beginning of the 20th century.
The French artists designed flowers, grasses and insects in furniture, glass-wares, potteries,
posters and other articles.
The writers and the artists of Shirakaba-ha School introduced to Japan the new forms of
European arts but flavored with the Japanese arts. They matched well with the spirit and the
moods of the times of Taisho Romanticism and Democratism with a large emerging middle
class population in Japan. Musyanokoji Saneatsu, one of the main figures of the Shirakaba-ha
School, introduced to Japan the paintings of Vincent Van Gogh.
The famous British potter Bernard Howell Leach ( 1887 - 1978 ) became acquainted with
the writers and the artists of the Shirakaba-ha. He was heavily influenced from the Japanese
artists and potters of the Shirajaba-Ha.
In 1598, Hideyoshi died in the Fushimi Castle. He was 63 years old, and Lady Kita-no
-mandokoro was 51 years old. In the next year, she left the Osaka Castle, when the illgitemate
wife of Hideyoshi with his son entered the Castle.
She moved to a small palace in Kyoto, In 1603, emperor Goyouzei gave her the hononary name
of Kodai-in. She wanted to build a temple named Kodai-ji temple and to enter into religious life
there. Ieyasu heard about her wishes. He appointed his two important generals Sakai Tadayo
and Doi Toshikatsu to take care of the construction of the temple. He nominated the govenor of
Kyoto Iwakura Katsushige as a general builder of the temple. Other former generals of Hideyoshi
like Kato Kiyomasa cooperated in the construction of the temple.
She lived in the temple until she died at the age of 76. His religious life saved her from getting
involved directly in the battles of Winter and Summer of Osaka, and the tragical burning down of
the Osaka Castle and the end of Toyotomi family.
The second son of Mori Motonari, Motoharu, was adopted by the Kikkawa family, and he was
named Kikkawa Motoharu. His son Hiroie came from the province of Izumo to rule Iwakuni and
became the first lord of Kikkawa in the Iwakuni Domain.
The second lord Kikkawa Hiromasa built many times the bridge across the Nishiki River in 1630's.
The bridge was washed away every time after it was built, when a large typhoon hit the region.
In 1673, the third lord of iwakuni, Hiroyoshi, built an improved bridge after many failures and
studies, but the two of the three bridge footings on the islands were washed away. The structures
of the bridge were perfect but the foundation stones were not laid properly , as was found by the
survey, The footing foundations were reconstructed immediately and the new bridge was completed
in the same year. All the four footings were not washed away during 276 years until the Kijia Typhoon
destroyed them in 1950, although the foundations needed some repairs and reinforcements after
some years, as the conditions in the river beds changed constantly.
The citizens of Iwakuni wanted to have the new bridge built, and it was reconstruced in 1953. based
on the technology handed down generation after generation, but the new technology of bridge
engineering was added.
The total length of the curved line of the bridge is 689 feet ( 210 meters), and the total length of the
bridge in the direct line is 634 feet ( 193.3 meters ), and it is 16.4 feet wide ( 5 meters ), and the
height of the footing foundation of the bridge is 21,5 feet ( 6.6 meters).
Even by the standards of modern bridge arquitecture, engineering technology adopted in the
building the Kintai-kyo Bridge was the level which surprises the modern engineers.
In December 2001, the three stages of the replacement works of the arches started. In November,
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Nails used on the bridge,
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The Monkey Bridge "Saru bashi"
in Ôtsuki city, the Yamanashi
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The replacement of the
arches was completed
on 22nd March 2004
2003, the third stage of the replacement works started, and they were completed on March 22nd
2004. The total cost of the replacement of the arches of the bridge is estimated at ￥2,600,000,000
( Twenty five Million US dollars ). On internet, many people write, erroneously , that the bridge was
built only with clamps and wires and no nail is used. But, as shown in the above pictures, many nails
are used. A lot of errouneous information about the Kintai-kyo bridge has been spread.
The third lord of Iwakuni, Kikkawa Hiroyoshi, organized a project team to built a bridge that can not
be washed away easily, and nominated a young carpenter Kodama Kuroemon as a chief carpenter.
Hiroyoshi was always of poor health. He called for Tuli ( −Dokuryû in Japanese ) who was
a chinese buddhist priest and also medical doctor and took refuge in Nagasaki. He had fled from
China to Nagasaki. The Ming Dynasty in China by Chinese people had been overthrowned by the
Manchus in 1644, and the Qing Dynasty was established. The Manchus were assimilated to the
Chinese civilization, but the chinese people adopted some of manchu customs and culture.
The resistance troops led by Zheng Cheng Gong ( popularly known
as Koxinga in China and Kokusenya in Japan) fought against the Manchus from 1646 until 1658
He was born and brought up in Hirado, Nagasaki, in Japan, and his mother was Japanese. His
father, Zheng Zhi Long ( "Tei Shi Ryû" in Japanese) was a chinese smuggler and pirate.
The famous Japanese plywright Chikamatsu Monzaemon wrote a play based
on his life. It was put on stage as a puppet show play " Kokusenya Kassen - the Battles of Koxinga
( in Chinese) in the Takemoto Theater in Osaka. From November, 1715 to March 1717, it was
presented on stage more than 500 days. In Osaka, in the Edo Period, puppet show plays were
very popular. Many master works of dramas were presented at first in the form of puppet show
drama and were presented later on stage as a Kabuki play.
The puppet show drama " Bunraku " had a hard time in the post-war ages to survive. But, it has
survived and revived. The company has regular performances in Tokyo and other cities. The
government sent them to foreign countries many times, and built the National Bunraku Theather
in Osaka. The Bunraku company has frequent performances in middle schools and high schools
to make students familar with the Japanese classics.
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The postage stamps of
the puppet drama
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The National Bunraku
Theatre in Osaka
In 2001, the film titled ' Ying Xiong Zheng Cheng Gong ' - the
Hero Zheng Cheng Gong -' Eiyû Tei Seikô '
in Japanese - was filmed in China, with the Japanese
cooperation and directed by the famous chinese director Wu
Zi Niu , starring Zhao Wen-zhuo. To make this film, the
Chinese government cooperated by putting 25,000 soldiers
at the disposal of the movie company to act as warriors in
the film. The Japanese actress Shimada Yoko acted as the hero's
Japanese mother, Tagawa Matsu.
During the period of Dutch rule in Taiwan, China of Ming dynasty
was facing threats from its north, namely, the Manchus, and
its eastern coasts were being ransacked by the Japanese pirates
( "Wokou" in chinese, and "Wakô" in Japanese). Although
they were called "Japanese pirates", more than 80 % were chinese
pirates/smugglers living in the Japanese islands. The Japanese
rulers allowed them to live in Japan if they behaved well in Japan
because they promoted commerce and the legal trading was
impossible under the Ming dynasty.
Although Zheng Zhi Long, father of Zhen Cheng Gong, was an outlow,
the Ming dinasty emperor wanted to use his naval forces and
appointed him to defend China from the Manchu invasion and to make
him command the weekened Ming Navy.
Zheng Zhi Long sent an envoy Huan Chen Lan in August 1646 to Nagasaki to ask the Japanese Shogunate to send troops to China to help him drive the Manchu invaders back beyond the Great Wall.
Although the first shogun Ieyasu had a policy of military non-interference abroad, the shogunate under the third shogun Iemitsu was willing to send troops to China, because Japan had a large population of Ronin, masterless and unemployed samurai after the end of the ages of wars and the abolitions of many houses of warlords. A large unemployment of the samurai was causing a grave social uneasiness.
Sending troops to China ceased to make any sense because Zheng Zhi Long betrayed the Ming
emperor although his son, Zheng Cheng Gong tried to persuade his father to be loyal to the emperor.
His son, Zheng Cheng Gong was not able to defeat the Manchu. He decided to expell the Dutch from
Taiwan and attacked them. The Dutch surrendered to Zheng Cheng Gong "Koxinga" in 1662 and
thirty-eight year long Dutch rule over Taiwan ended.
In 1684, Taiwan became a prefecture of the Fujian Province of the Qing Empire. Although Taiwan
was officially a part of China, it was referred in China even in the official documents as a land of
rebellions with people hostile to outsiders who were beheaded ferocoiusly sometimes. When
some Okinawan fishermen were massacred in Taiwan by the aboriginals, the Japanese
government demanded the chinese government for the indemnization.
The Chinese goverment made a grave diplomatic mistake, when they replied saying that the
Taiwanese aboriginals were not civilized people who were not under the chinese rule. At that
time, according to the international laws established by the Western powers, a land of poeple
not ruled properly can be taken. The chinese government's reply provided Japan with a good
excuse to conquer Taiwan. The native Taiwanese living in the mountains called by the Japanese
as Takasago-zoku became very civilized and patriotic Japanese citizens under the Japanese rule.
Under the Nationalist government, their children learned Mandarin chinese but their parents and
grandparents continued to speak a refined Japanse language for many years and kept the
Japanese culture. As soldiers, they had a better eye sight than average Japanese. They became
good scouts in the Japanese army.
Koxinga established the government of the Ming dynasty in exile with its capital in Tainan. He died in
1662 at the young age of thirty-eight. The government which he established lasted until 1683 when
the Manchu attacked Taiwan. He is remembered in Taiwan and the mainland China as a national
heroe. There are a temple and shrine dedicated to him in Tainan, Taiwan where Koxinga had his
base for the anti-Dutch and anti-Manchu rebellions.
In Hirado city, Japan, there is also a shrine dedicated to Zheng Cheng Gong. In July, the anniversary
of his birth in Hirado will be held with his Japanese descendants and some 100 chinese descen
-dants from Taiwan. Hirado city has sistership with the city of Nan-an, province of Fujian, the
The first shogun Ieyasu wanted to have commercial relations with Asia, Mexico and Europe as the
equal partners for mutual benefits. But, commerce with China of the Great Ming Dynasty could be
only possible as a tributary kingdom of China within the Chinese Empire.
The third Ashikaga shogun Yoshimitsu had profitable trading with China, being nominated as the
King of Japan. But, that was the only exception in the long Chinese-Japanese relations. Ieyasu
did no want to have such humiliating relations with China.
In 608, the Japanese ambassador Ono-no-Imoko established formal diplomatic
relations with China of Sui Dynasty. He handed a letter from the Japanese emperor saying " The
emperor of the Sun Rising Country would like to know whether the emperor of the sun setting country
is in good health. " The chinese emperor became very indignant at the letler but the diplomatic
relations were not ruptured, because Sui dynasty intended to subjugate the powerful country Koguryo
in the Korean Peninsula and wanted to have good relations with Japan.
Ono-no-imoko is said to have lost the reply letter of the chinese emperor on his way back to Japan.
Some historians say that he did not lost it but he did not want to show it to the ruling empress Suiko
in order to evade diplomatic complications. He went to China once more heading the Japanese
Ieyasu didn't want to have humiliating traderelations with any countries. Ieyasu decided that
it would be a good idea to open indirect trade relations with China, using Ryûkyû as a puppet
intermediary. The Kingdom of Ryukyu was a tributary country of China of the Ming dynasty.
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"Shurei-no-mon " -
Gate of Courtesy
The symbol of the
The bills of 2000
yen are not much in
He ordered the Satsuma clan in Kyusyu to invade the
Ryukyu Islands and subjugate the Kingdom of Ryukyu
to the Shogunate government, and to do trading with
China through the Kingdom of Ryukyu. People of Ryukyu
Islands are Japanese. They inherited the ancient Japanese
culture of Jyomon and speak a dialect of Japanese language.
But, the Kingdom of Ryukyu had been always far-away from
the political center of Japan.
The Kingdom had been politicaly independent from Japan.
She had diplomatic relations with China as one of her
In 1609, the troops of 3,000 men of Satsuma attacked the
islands. The Castle of f Shuri-jô was occupied very easily.
Ryukyu had not almost any military forces. She had survived
only by diplomacy and trading.
She now belonged to Japan practically. But, she pretended
to be indenpendent from Japan towards China. The Royal
Court of Ryukyu continued sending formal envoyes to China
to celebrate the enthronement of a new chinese emperor.
The Chinese emperors continued to send envoys to Ryûkyû to authorize an enthronement of a new king in the kingdom of Ryûkyû.
Ryukyu also must send envoys to lord Shimazu of Satsuma to celebrate the New Year. She must send envoys to the Edo Castle to pay homage to a new shogun upon the accession of a new shogun. When they had a key king, the kingdom must send envoy to express gratitude for the authorization of a new king by the shogunate.
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The main palace building "Seiden"
was bombed and destroyed during
the Second World War. In 1992, to commemorate twentieth anniversary
of the return of Okinawa Islands to
Japan from the United States, the main
palace was constructed.
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The wall of the Shuri-jô Castle
The Chinese dynasties thought traditionally that China had everything they needed. They thought that
they didn't need to have commercial relations with any uncivilized countries surrounding China for
But, they wanted kelp badly. A large quantity of kelp from the northernmost sea of Hokkaido was
transported to Osaka at first and then to the southernmost island of Japan to be re-exported to
China. Nowadays, The Okinawans eat more kelp per person than people of any other prefecture.
It made the Okinawans to have the longest span of life expectancy in the world.
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The Market Office of the Dried
Kitahama 2-chome, Chuo-ku,
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The Copper Guild Office
existed at the site where
later the oldest existing
kindergarten was built.
The site of the Copper Guild Office
Osakans eat more processed food of kelp "Tsukudani "
than any other people in other prefectures. The Chinese
also wanted marine products such as dried shark fins,
dried bearded clam, dried sea cucumbers and copper.
They were also gathered to Osaka at first and were
transported to Okinawan Islands to be re-exported to China.
The copper ore from all mines of Japan was gathered to
Osaka to be refined. There were seventeen refiners of
copper and one of the the most important refiners
of copper was Izumiya ( Sumitomo ) which would
become a big business group later in the Meiji era. Osaka
was the only copper distributing and refining city in Japan.
The Sumitomo started to excavate the Besshi copper mine
in 1691. Its copper mine was situated in Besshi Yamamura
in the Ehime prefecture in the Akaishi Sankei mountains
with an average height of 1,500 meters above the sea level.
Between the mountains and the Seto Inland Sea, there is
a narrow strip of land for agriculture where the parents of
the author who is writing this article were born.
Sumitomo excavated the mine during 283 years and closed
it in 1973 after digging out 2,800 tons of copper ore.. The
Besshi Copper Mining Memorial Museum was built in
1975 in Niihama City whch is heavily dependent on the
companies of the Sumitomo group.
Izumiya( Sumitomo ) became a giant group of industries
and commerce during the Meiji era. The Sumitomo group and
other big business groups "Zaibatsu" like "Mitsubishi",
"Mitsui" were ordered to devide themselves into many
smaller companies without the capital holding companies
to control all companies of the group by the U.S. General
Headquaters ( GHQ).
The GHQ believed that the "Zaibatsu" had supported the military to continue the war and had monopololized the Japanese economy hindering Japan from having a free competition economy. When Japan became independent from the United States, small companies of the former "Zaibatsu" groups began to get together out of nostalgia for the glorious names of the "Zaibatsu" and also for their benefits merely corporate. The companies of the former "Sumitomo" group cooperated with each other but they never formed again, however, a well tied up "Zaibatsu". The Sumitomo Bank gave only a small priority to financing the companies of the former Sumitomo group and they had not any sentimental loyalty to the group.
The Japanese companies must compete with other Japanese companies and also with foreign
companies. Sometimes, they will be owned by foreign companies to survive and there is no
paternal organization called "Zaibatsu" now. The Sumitomo Bank continued merging with small
banks and the Mitsui Bank went on merging with many banks to become finally Sakura Bank.
The huge two banks after many mergings merged in April 2001. The new bank, the Sumitomo
Mitsui Banking Corporation, became independent from any big business group.
In 1997, the anti-monopoly law was revised and it bacame possible to establish holding
companies which hold and control affiliate companies completely. In abril 2001, the Commercial
Code was revised further to enable companies to divide themselves into smaller companies
which can be held by "Parent Company - Oyagaisha". The revisions of the Commercial; Law were
in keeping with the globalization stated in the guidelines on corporate governance written in
1998 and 1999.
The "Besshi-yamamura" village, situated in a valley on the Akaishi Mountains, was
flourshing but now it has only a population of 270 people after the mine was closed.
Japan has become the third importer of copper following China and the United States. In 2,000,
Japan consumed 1,400,000 tons of copper and more than 90 % of copper was imported. China
imports more than 80 % of its consumption of copper.
The dried marine products were called "Tawara-mono - bale articles" as they were transported in
bales. The Japanese were good divers and good fishers. In Osaka, the market office for the dried
marine products was built in 1771. It was placed later under the shogunate control and monopoly
in 1784., as they were very important export products to China.
In 1868, English people discovered pearl shells near the Thursday Island. They wanted to have
shells to make buttons, and were not much interested in pearls which could be found only very
rarely. At those times, Mikimoto Kokichi ( 1858 - 1954 ) had not discovered yet the methods to
cultivate pearls. He started cultivation of pearl shells and research to cultivate pearls in 1890.
He discovered the methods to cultivate quality pearls in a large quantity only in 1918, realizing
his dream to " strangle all the women in the world with pearl necklesses ".
Mikimoto Kokichi was born in 1858 in the Edo Period at Toba in the Ise-Shima peninsula as the
eldest son of a noodle maker. He had no formal school education. Two persons who had been
samurai during the Edo period taught him language and mathematics.
In 1927, Mikimoto Kokichi went to America. He visited Thomas Edison in his house at East Orange ,
New York and presented some nice pearls to Edison, who said : " I've not invented two things. One
is diamond, and another is pearl ",
Some years after the discovery of pearl shells near the Thursday Island, British people brought
from Wakayama, Japan, some Japanese divers. Chinese, malayans,and the aborigines didn' t
like to dive deep in the sea. The work was very hard and dangerous, and the white people paid
a lot of money to Japanese divers for diving to get shells.There were no good diving equipments
and diving suits and diving deep was very dangerous. The aborigines used to dive only a few
meters to get fish and shells.
Those Japanese divers were the first Japanese immigrants to Australia. Japan had had a long
tradition of diving fisherwomen. But, to the Australian islands, only men went. In old times, In the
sea of ise-Shima, it was prohibited for men to dive, because male divers were reckless and not
cautious enough. They had more accidents than female divers. Nowdays, in Ise-Shima peninsula,
there are many male divers. In some other regions, there are more male fishing divers than female
Around the year 1950, there were 6,000 female fishing divers in the Ise-Shima peninsula.In 2002,
there were about 1,600 diving fisherwomen. They dive about 100 times during five hours to a
depth of 13 - 22 meters.
They dived almost naked until the end of the Meiji era. They began wearing a white clothing.
Now, they wear more modern diving suits and equipments.
The Japanese divers in the Thursday Island were highly
( 18 )
The diving fisherwomen
of the Ise-Shima peninsula
( 19 )
19 years old pretty diving
" Keina chan "
needed, bacause only the japanese did dangerous
diving. In 1897. there were about 900 Japanese divers
in the Thursday Island. They had owned 30 boats for
shell taking. The Japanese population rose to 2,000
The diving into the deep sea bed was very dangeous
and many Japanese divers died. But, they could earn
10 times more than working in Japan as farmers or
In 1901, Australia became independant from Great Britain.
In the same year, the restrictive Immigration Law was
promulgated. It was against the Asian and non-Anglosaxon
European immigrants who could not speak English well. But,
many Japanese immigrated to Australia illegally.
They were badly needed because other peoples didn't want
to be engaged in such a dangerous diving for any money.
In 1928, the Japan Australia Society was founded. In 1941,
Japan entered the Second World War. The Japanese were
confined in 4 internment camps. The war ended in 1945.
The Asian immigrants became capable of obtaining the
Australian citizenship according to the new law established
China needed also copper badly from the Kamakura period.
The Chinese admiral Li Hung-Chang （ Ri Kôshô
in Japanese ) asked to the Japanese chief negotiator Okubo
Toshimichi in a negotiation after the Sino-Japanese War whether Japan produces enough copper and Okubo answered to the Chinese admiral that Japan had enough copper and could provide China with it, if China wanted to import it.
China of Qing dynasty was defeated by Japan in 1895 in the Sino-Japanese War, and in the same year, by the Treaty of Shimonoseki, Japan acquired Taiwan. In 1911, the revolution broke out in China. In February 1912, the last emperor Pu Yi, only 6 years old, was deposed from the throne. The new nation by chinese people, the Republic of China was established in the same year of 1912.
After 1925, the deposed emperor lived in the Japanese concession in Tianjin. In 1934,
he became the emperor of the Japanese puppet state of Machukuo or Manchuria. In 1945,
Japan was defeated by the allied nations and the Second World War ended. He was
captured by the Russians. In 1950, he was handed over to the Chinese Communists, and
he was in prison until 1959. He was persecuted when the Cultural Revolution broke
out in China, After being set at liberty, he worked as an ordinary chinese citizen working
as a gardener.
Lord Kikkawa Hiroyoshi learned the chinese medicine, literature and ontained other
information from the Chinese Priest Tu li, who showed to Lord Hiroshige a book titled
" Excursion through the West Lake ", which is in the native place of the Chinese Buddhist
priest. Lord Kikkawa Hiroyoshi found in the book the pitcture of the arched stone bridge in
the West Lake, and decided to build the arched bridge.
But, the Nishiki-gawa river was not like the West Lake, and it was impossible to build the
the bridge similar to the chinese stone bridge on the Nishiki River. In 1661, he sent the
chief carpenter Kodama Kuroemon to the Kôshü ( now Yamanashi prefecture ) to inspect
the Sarubashi Bridge which had no piers. The Saru Bashi was 31 meters, 5.5 meters wide,
and 30 meters tall. He learned about the structure of the bridge which didn't have any piers,
but it was only 31 meters wide, and the Nishiki river was more than 200 meters wide.
( 20 )
The Saru-bashi Bridge
( The Monkey Bridge)
One of the 3 rarest
bridges in Japan
In Ôtsuki city, Yamanashi
He decided, therefore, to build the islands with the bridge
footing to make shorter the spans of the bridge. On October
3rd, 1673, the bridge was completed, but the two of the three
footings were washed away on 28th May, 1674. The footing
foundations were improved with stones laid around the stone
footings and the bridge was completed..
The Bridge had not been washed away during 276 years until
it was destroyed by the Kijia Typhoon in 1950, although the
arches of the bridges were replaced and the river bed
foundations and the footings were constantly repaired.
It is very probable that the bridge was named by the chinese
buddhist priest Tu Li (Dokuryû in Japanese ) or Lord
Hiroyoshi named it after the bridge of the same name which exists even now from the time of birth of the Chinese priest in the White Dike of the West Lake, based on the information given to Lord Hiroyoshi by the buddhist priest.
The two bridges with the same name in Japan and China symbolizes the close and the long
friendship between the two countries.
In China, the Kintai-kyo bridge was used in the packing of the foods, on the walls of the
restaurants,and other places for its uniqueness. But, most of them are not aware that
the Bridge is in Japan. I hope that most of chinese people will know more about the bridge.
In the background of the picture, you can see the Iwakuni Castle.
( 21 )
The Kintai-kyo Bridge
and the Iwakuni Castle
in the background
It is on top of the Shiroyama mountain. It was surrounded by the
Nishiki-gawa River and virgin forests.
Blessed with the mild climate of the Seto Island Sea, the forest
abounds in 2,000 different species of the trees, 350 different
species of grasses and 100 different species of ferns.
It was designated as " the rest forest in nature ".
After the Battle of Sekigahara, the first lord of Iwakuni, Kikkawa
Hiroie came from Izumo to Iwakuni and built the splendid 4 story castle in 1608. Regrettably, the Tokugawa Shogunate issued the law of " 1 castle per province "in 1615, and the castle was destroyed. The castle which took 8 years to be built existed only 7 years.
In 1962, at the strong wishes of the Iwakuni citizens, the castle was reconstructed, but not at the
original location but at a good location so that the castle can be seen from the Kintai-kyo Bridge.
The first lord of Iwakuni-han, Kikkawa Hiroie was born as the third son of Kikkawa Motoharu, son of
( 22 )
The original location of the donjon
( 24 )
From the 4th floor of the donjon, the
Kintai-kyo Bridge can be seen.
( 23 )
The Iwakuni Castle was reconstructed
at a location so that the castle can be seen
from the Kintai-kyo Bridge.
( 25 )
At both ends of the river, the water current
will be less rapid even flooded and
therefore, the sections at both ends have
piers in the river.
Môri Motonari. His eldest brother Motonaga died in a battlefield in Kyushu and Hiroie inherited the
house of Kikkawa.
In 1587, at the ordef of Hideyoshi, he suppressed rebellions in the provinces of Buzen and Higo. In
1591, he became warlord of Tomita in the province of Izumo with a production of 120,000 koku rice.
Hiroie fought bravely in the battles in Korea.
Hiroie firmly believed that the three houses of Môri clan would be ruined if they would fight against
the East Army led by Ieyasu. He advised his cousin Môri Terumoto of the main house of the Môri
clan not to side with the East Army led by Ieyasu. Môri Terumoto, however, was asked to become
commander in chief of the West Army by Ishida Mitsunari and Ôtani Yoshitsugu as an important
figurehead of the West Army as he was a warlord with 1,200,000 koku of rice production. The
organizer of the West Army, Ishida Mitsunari, was only a warlord with 194,000 koku and the
organizer of the East Army Ieyasu was the most important warlord with 2,510,000 koku rice
Hiroie contacted Kuroda Nagamasa, one of the warlords of Ieyasu and sent him a letter to the effect
that they would not fight against the West Army asking Ieyasu to promise him to let them hold their
domains of the Môri clan. His wishes were accepted by Ieyasu.
Toyotomi Hideyori remained in the Osaka Castle to evade the difficult involvement and and also
Môri Terumoto to defend him. In the battle of Sekigahara, Kikkawa Hiroie deployed his troops
on Mt.Nangû-san and did not move. As the troops of Hiroie did not advance, the troops of Môri Hidemoto,
Ekei, Cyôsokabe Morichika, Natsuka Masaie, preventing thus the trrops of 30,000 men from entering combats.
( 26 )
In spite of the teaching of their grandfather Môri Motonari that
the tree arrows bounded are diffuclt to break, Terumoto sided
with the West Camp, and Kohayakawa Hideaki detrayed the
Wesr Army and Kikkawa Hiroei remained neutral. This was a
beggining of the fall of the Toyotomi clan and the Môri clan ceased to be dominant in the Sanin and Sanyo regions.
Ieyasu became indignant to know that Terumoto was commander in chief of the West Army, decided to confiscate all the domains of Môri Terumoto and ordered Terumoto to commit seppuku,in spite of his promise.
Ieyasu decided to awarded Kikkawa Hiroie with the domains of 369,000 koku
Hiroie was surprised to know about this desicion of Ieyasu and asked Ieyasu to save his cousin
and to give Terumoto the domains in the provinces of Suhô and Nagato with 299,000 koku rice
production in stead of giving them to Hiroie. Ieyasu accepted his request, and Kikkawa Hiroie
possessed Iwakuni with a production of 60,000 koku rice, a reduction from 120,000 koku fief in
the province of Izumo. The main house of the Môri clan of Môri Terumoto had fiefs in only two
provinces of Suhô and Nagato. This was a big reduction from the fie3lfs in eleven provinces with
1,200,000 koku rice production.
Kikkawa Hiroie sided with Ieyasu wanting to save the main house of the Môri clans. Môri Terumoto,
however, treated Kikkawa Hiroie as a traitor and a simple retainer and not a daimyo. The fief
of Iwakuni was considered as that of a daimyo by the shogunate. After the fall of the shogunate,
the main house of Môri treated finally the Iwakuni-han as a fielf of a warlord. But, the feudal regime
ended soon and the han ( feudal fiefs ) were changed to the prefectures under the new Meiji
©copyrights reserved. Revised on Februay 16th 2005 - Hiroaki Sasaki
I am greatly indebted to Mr. Nobukado Matsuzuka, of Iwakuni West Rotary Club,
who calls himself " salesman of the Kintai-kyo Bridge ", but we could call him doctor
on it, for his kindest assistance to me, answering to my questions and sending me
several pictures permitting me to copy the pctures on his web.pages.
Hiroaki Sasaki -
How to go to the Kintai-kyo Bridge : ( Only examples )
From Hiroshima Station of " Shinkan-sen ( bullet line ) 9.00 AM on JR City Liner to
to Iwakuni Station to change to the JR Gantoku line to :
Nishi-Iwakuni Station 9.48 ＡＭ
Neighboring airports : Hiroshima Airport - Yamaguchi-Ube Airport
From Tokyo by Shinkan-sen 『 HIKARI 』 4H58M to Hiroshima
From Hiroashima to Shin-Iwakuni by Shinkansen
『 KODAMA 』 18 M
From SHIN-OSAKA" by JR " NOZOMI 3 " 9.29 AM to Hiroshima 10.51 AM
From Hiroshima by " KODAMA 637 " 11.03 AM to SHIN IWAKUNI 11.19 AM
( Total : 1 H 50 minutes. )
( Map ) Chugoku Region
⇒ Yamaguchi Prefecture ( Prefectura de Yamaguchi )
⇒ Iwakuni City ( Ciudad de Yamaguchi )」
Map Location of the Kintai-kyo bridge( Puente de Kintai-kyo )
en Iwakuni city.
| Iwakuni City ( In Japanese and English )
Champter 1 : The Dawn of the Iyo Naval Forces "Iyo Suigun"
Champter 2-1 : The misterious Naval forces "Murakami Suigun"
once dominant in the Seto Island Sea
Chapter 2-2 : The glory of dominance at sea and
its sunset of the Marine warriors.
Chapter 3 : The Naval Battles of the Môri
- The conquerors of the Chugoku region
in the Seto Inland Sea.
|Official web.site of
Hangzhou city people's
|Foresty and Forest Products
|Toothpick Bridge contests :
Force and Shape - Arch.
Japan Aviation Technical College
|The Kintai-kyo Bridge
and the Iwakuni Castle
The Kintai-kyo Bridge in
Small Museum of the Bridges ; Although modestly named " Small Museum of the Brdiges ",
this site actually, however, provide us with much information about many bridges. althonot a small
museum, and the information about the bridges is growing.
Regreattably, the information is too much concentrated on the bridges in the Okayama Prefecture,
because Mr. Tadao Watanabe, the web,master live in the Okayama prefecture.
Japan has more unique bridges besides of the high technology bridges. The web.master loves the
many unique Nagare-Bashi bridges in his native area, paying less attention to the near-by
astonishing high technology Seto Great Bridge.
His devotion to the Nagare-Bashi bridges has driven him to thoroughly study many Nagare-bashi
bridges in Okayama prefecture and to write a book titled " The Nagare -Bashi Bridges in Okayama ".
The Nagare-bashi bridges reflect the wisdom of Japanese people living in harmony with the forces
of nature. They tell us creativeness and wisdom of people in Okayama and in other parts of Japan
who learned how to coexist with the disastrous forces of nature.
The longest wooden bridge
recognized by the Guiness Book.
|Kôzuya-bashi Bridge in
Yawata city, Kyoto Prefecture
( Monkey Bridge )
|The Besshi Copper Mine and
the history of Sumitomo
|History of lords Kinoshita
in Ashimori - birthplace
of medical scientist Ogata Kôan
|Copper Guild Office
The oldest existing
kindergarten in Japan