Cover Graphics

Computer Graphic Restoration of Azuchi Castle
(Created by the National Museum of Japanese History)

Azuchi Castle, built on the shores of Lake Biwa beginning in 1576 on the orders of Oda Nobunaga, consisted of a "tenshu" (castle keep) in the center and an enclosed area (protected land) completely surrounded by a stone wall. Like castles in other parts of the world, Azuchi Castle was equipped with specially designed gates, which are known in Japan as "soto masugata". It was also the first site in Japan where the castle and castle town were built as an integrated whole. The castle town of Azuchi Castle became, therefore, a forerunner to modern castles and castle towns. The main part of the castle was destroyed by fire, just after the Honnoji Incident in 1582, and since then the castle has only existed in people's dreams and visions. Based on the results of excavations and various materials, the National Museum of Japanese History has recreated the castle as it was before being destroyed by the fire. The "tenshu" (castle keep) was restored by Akira Naito.

Yoshihiro Senda
Archeological Research Department, National Museum of Japanese History


Opening Essay

Special Edition History's First Steps - Castles (Yoshihiro Senda)

A Witness to History

A photographic introduction to items from the collection
The mystery behind teppo (gun) production technology
(Takehisa Udagawa)

Special Edition:History's First Steps - Castles

Castles of the world, castles of Japan (Yoshihiro Senda)
The tower houses of Ouu and the Toyotomi regime (Susumu Matsuoka)
Reflections on the "Jin" (battle formation) - The actual conditions of temporary fortresses under the samurai regime (Masato Miyatake)
Once again on the subject of the restoration of the "Ochiai Saheiji Sebata (War Banner)" (Michihiro Kojima)


Matsushiro Castle restored (Takashi Shukuno)
"Bungo Funai" - a Kyoto-style city (Mitsuhiro Tamanaga)

The 11th Rekihaku Research Update

Investigating the actual state of relations between Japan and Korea in ancient times: Observations of the Fifth Rekihaku International Symposium (Taichiro Shiraishi)

Introducing our Researchers - Part 3

Verifying the time period of various documents - Carbon 14 dating method (Minoru Sakamoto)

Book Review

Basic research - Research on city life in Japan, Team A, Period 1, edited by Eiji Sakurai National Museum of Japanese History Research Report No. 92 "Distribution and Consumption in Ancient and Medieval Urban Life"
Reviewed by Tomoko Watanuki
"The political situation and the Imperial Court in Kyoto in the last days of the Tokugawa shogunate - As seen from the letters and diaries of Kyoto rusuiyaku (house manager) of the Higo Clan" Edited, and with a commentary by Masato Miyachi
Reviewed by Takehiro Kobayashi

Exhibition Review

Special Exhibition in the Botanical Garden of Everyday Life - "The Traditional Primrose" A sweet tradition
Reviewed by Eiji Nitasaka

Rekihaku Chat (readers' page) Sept. 20, 2002

Rekihaku News