By Stephen Turnbull

The panorama of sixteenth- and 17th-century Japan was once ruled by means of the sleek and implementing castles developed through the robust ‘daimyo' of the interval. during this the main turbulent period in eastern historical past, those militarily refined constructions supplied strongholds for the consolidation and regulate of territory, and necessarily they grew to become the focal point for lots of of the good sieges of eastern historical past: Nagashino (1575), Kitanosho (1583), Odawara (1590), Fushimi (1600), Osaka (1615) and Hara (1638), the final of the battles that introduced an finish to a interval of severe civil conflict. This name strains their improvement from the earliest trees stockades to the enormous buildings that ruled the nice centres of Osaka and Edo.

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Extra resources for Japanese Castles 1540-1640 (Fortress, Volume 5)

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Torii Mototada committed suicide. 51 The beautiful keep of Himeji castle seen among cherry blossom. Himeji is the most visited castle in Japan. 52 Japanese history, and so dramatic was the illustration of the devastating effects of cannon-balls against a predominantly wooden fortress that it is surprising that there was so little future development in this direction. The castle of Musashi-Matsuyama enters the story again in 1563 when Takeda Shingen used miners to collapse its walls. In 1564 Inabayama fell, but only as a result of a classic infantry assault up its steep hill.

Plaster was applied to the coarse framework between the pillars to give the outer surface to the buildings in a similar way to the building of the low plaster walls already described. Alternatively, in the case of the 'black castles' of Kumamoto and Matsue, the external surface would be of painted wood. Tiling, decoration and gilding, topped off with the traditional golden shachi, were the final stages used to produce the external appearance of the mighty edifice. Such were the human and financial resources available to a daimyo that the whole process from excavation to completion could take a surprisingly short space of time.

34 At Bitchu-Matsuyama a long climb provides the reward of seeing stone walls integrated superbly with the natural rock. wood covered in lead and copper, and finally coated with pure gold. A thief had himself floated up by means of a kite to steal the gold scales from the fish! The external colour of surviving keeps is usually white; however, this was not necessarily their original colour. Both Azuchi and Osaka are known to have sported bright colours and designs of tigers and dragons on their exterior surfaces.

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