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更新日:2020年5月21日

HOW DID TAKAOKA SUCCEED IN MAKING MIRACULOUS CHANGES?

THE STORY OF THE LORD AND HIS CITIZENS WHO TURNED A CRISIS INTO A GREAT OPPORTUNITY

The story:

The Maeda clan of the Kaga Domain created a unique culture that has fully flourished. - People, Techniques, and Spirits -

Takaoka was established when the second lord Maeda Toshinaga built the Takaoka castle about 400 years ago. Unfortunately, he passed away five years after it was established. In addition, the new Ikkoku Ichijo Rei (One Castle Per Province) law was enacted, and the castle was forced to close.

Following his brother’s will, third lord Maeda Toshitsune pursued strategic political policies to revitalize the city and succeeded in turning Takaoka into a city of commerce and industry. This is the story of the great lords and their citizens.douage

Story 1: 150 days to construct, abandoned six years later

The new law and Toshinaga’s death put the city in danger of closing.

The city of Takaoka is surrounded by the Tonami and Imizu plains,Hokuriku’s well-known rice-farming regions. The northern side faces Toyama Bay, and the beautiful Tateyama mountain range can be seen from the Amaharashi coast. Rich in nature with a variety of food cultures, people have lived here since the Paleolithic age.
The foundations of the city were made in the beginning of the Edo period. When the young lord Toshinaga observed the province from the mountain, he recognized that the area of Takaoka was the perfect location for a stronghold and as a hub for land and water transportation. In 1609, he began building the Takaoka castle to live in after his retirement. Construction was completed in only 150 days.
He established a base (named Kimachi) to collect and store materials in the downtown area.He also invited seven founders from the Western Kanaya Town (Tonami County) to the current Kanayamachi (Takaoka City) to establish a new blacksmithing town as the center of the metal casting industry. The founders received great patronage, including tax exemption, from the Kaga clan, and Takaoka flourished as a castle-town thanks to its metalworking industry.
After moving into the Takaoka Castle, lord Toshinaga’s life came to an end just five years later, and his vassals relocated to Kanazawa.. The following year, the new Ikkoku Ichijo Rei (One Castle Per Province) law was enacted. The castle was forced to close, and the citizens grew anxious about the future prosperity of the town.

takaokajyo   toshinaga

Story 2: The castle town is transformed into a town of commerce and industry

Following Toshinaga’s will, Toshitsune came up with new strategic policies to save the city.

When Takaoka fell into crisis, third lord Toshitsune established new policies in order to save the city. First, he banned citizens from moving out of the city. He then established lodgings, a distribution center for linen, and a wholesaler of fish and salt. Storehouses for storage of rice and salt were located inside the castle grounds. This resulted in the start of Takaoka’s role as a city of commerce.
Toshitsune made use of the district plan that Toshinaga had developed. He respected and felt indebted to Toshinaga for handing the reign of the family over to him, despite only being his half-brother. He built a luxurious temple (Zuiryu-ji) and an extraordinary-sized graveyard to mourn the death of Toshinaga, and also as the symbol of the city’s prosperity. 
In order for Takaoka to preserve its function as a stronghold, Toshitsune intentionally placed storehouses of rice and salt inside the castle grounds.Therefore, he was able to keep the walls and the moat of the castle under the strict surveillance of the shogunate, preparing the town for the worst, in case a war breaks out.  Thanks to Toshitsune’s excellent governing skills, many important cultural properties were left and can still be seen in Takaoka today.

yamachosuji    zuiryuji

Story 3: Becoming the “Central Market of Kaga”: the most prosperous period

Gorgeous Mikurumayama reflect merchant wealth and compete in lavishness.

The citizens responded to Toshitsune’s expectations by becoming a city of commerce and industry. At the time, cast products such as pots, rice cookers, and agricultural equipment were made with iron sand. They then began making cultural wares such as Buddhist implements, incense burners, vases, and Japanese braziers with decorations. Eventually, they started producing cast copperware as well and started using the *Kitamaebune trade route to promote their products, not only in domestic markets but also to export them abroad. The Fushiki port gradually became the trade center of Kaga Domain, and  Takaoka’s prosperity was such that it was famously known as the “Kitchen of Kaga.”
Since then, wealthy merchants have donated their wealth to the revival of the city, leading to the creation of lavish festivals. Seven Mikurumayama floats were decorated with chasing, lacquering, dyeing, weaving, among Takaoka’s finest traditional crafting techniques. It was the long-lasting competitions between boroughs that brought about the luxurious Mikurumayama floats we see today. They also symbolize the ardent spirit of the townspeople who made great contributions to the city.
mikurumayama    kitamaeirasuto

Story 4: Takaoka continues to thrive as a town of commerce and industry.

To this day, the city continues to possess a great variety of craft skills and leads the latest product design scene.

The city was developed and thrived through great effort and contribution by the citizens. Takaoka continued to exert its trading power over the centuries, in particular through the civilization and enlightenment of the Meiji period. In fact, despite the disadvantages of ceasing to be the prefectural capital, Takaoka thrives as one of the leading commercial and industrial cities along the coasts of the Japan Sea.  In recent years, the city attracts interest from all over the country with both the refined techniques and modern product designs of its traditional crafting industries. Takaoka, with rows of historic houses, historical districts, industries, and festivals, boasts a unique folk culture. The city and its spirit are alive and well, creating a new era with future generations.

takaokacraft 

 

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