Site of Tagajō

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Ruins of Taga-jō

Taga-jō (多賀城?) was a fort in Tōhoku established during the campaigns against the Emishi in the eighth century. It served as the administrative centre of Mutsu Province. Bashō tells of his visit to the site in Oku no Hosomichi. The ruins of Taga-jō and its former temple have been designated a Special Historic Site (特別史跡?).[1][2]

History[edit]

During the wars against the Emishi (蝦夷?) in northeastern Honshū, the Japanese built a series of forts and stockades to provide strongholds and administrative centres as part of their conquest and colonization of the area.[3] An inscription gives a foundation date of 724 for Tagajō. It became the administrative capital of Mutsu Province and one of the main bases for operations, alongside Akita Fort and Okachi Fort in Dewa Province. The military jurisdiction was termed Chinjufu Shogun (鎮守府?), the northeastern equivalent to Dazaifu (太宰府?) in the southwest.[4] Tagajō was rebuilt after being sacked and burned by the Emishi in 780, before being badly damaged by the Jōgan tsunami of 869.[5][6] The rise of Hiraizumi in the twelfth century saw its final demise.[7]

Monuments[edit]

Tagajō Temple Ruins

Tagajō Fort[edit]

The fort at Tagajō was nearly three thousand foot square and was surrounded by an earthen wall more than two miles long. A number of administrative buildings on an elevation in the centre were enclosed within an inner earthen wall. Elsewhere at the site were storehouses and quarters for soldiers and craftsmen.[3]

Tagajō Temple Ruins[edit]

Excavations to the southeast of the fort have uncovered the ruins of a temple, now known as Tagajō Haiji. Five buildings have been identified inside a large rectangular compound enclosed by an earthen wall.[8]

Inscription[edit]

The Tsubo no Ishibumi (壺の碑?) or Tagajōhi (多賀城碑?) is a Nara period inscription that gives distances to Nara, the province of the Emishi, and a number of other regions.[9] Matsuo Bashō (松尾 芭蕉?) creatively recounts his viewing of the stele in Oku no Hosomichi (奥の細道?), concluding 'there are seldom any certain vestiges of what has been, yet in this place there are wholly trustworthy memorials of events a millennium ago', and is moved to tears. In his account the monument functions as a poetic place or utamakura.[10] In 1998 it was designated an Important Cultural Property.[11]

Museum[edit]

The Tōhoku History Museum (東北歴史博物館?) houses finds from the excavations as well as from other sites in Tōhoku.[12]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Database of Registered National Cultural Properties". Agency for Cultural Affairs. Retrieved 16 March 2011. 
  2. ^ "Tagajō". Miyagi Prefecture. Retrieved 16 March 2011. 
  3. ^ a b Shively, Donald H.; McCullough, William H. (1999). Cambridge History of Japan vol. II (p.31f.). Cambridge University Press. 
  4. ^ Yiengpruksawan, Mimi Hall (1998). Hiraizumi: Buddhist Art and Regional Politics in Twelfth-Century Japan. Harvard University Press. pp. 19–22. 
  5. ^ Yiengpruksawan, Mimi Hall (1998). Hiraizumi: Buddhist Art and Regional Politics in Twelfth-Century Japan. Harvard University Press. p. 26. 
  6. ^ Minoura, K. (et al.) (2001). "The 869 Jōgan tsunami deposit and recurrence interval of large-scale tsunami on the Pacific coast of northeast Japan". Journal of Natural Disaster Science. 23 (2): 83–88. 
  7. ^ Yiengpruksawan, Mimi Hall (1998). Hiraizumi: Buddhist Art and Regional Politics in Twelfth-Century Japan. Harvard University Press. 
  8. ^ Yiengpruksawan, Mimi Hall (1998). Hiraizumi: Buddhist Art and Regional Politics in Twelfth-Century Japan. Harvard University Press. pp. 23f. 
  9. ^ "Tagajō - Inscription (in Japanese)". Miyagi Prefecture. Retrieved 16 March 2011. 
  10. ^ Miner, Earl (1996). Naming Properties: Nominal Reference in Travel Writings by Basho and Sora, Johnson and Boswell. University of Michigan Press. pp. 127–135. 
  11. ^ "Database of Registered National Cultural Properties". Agency for Cultural Affairs. Retrieved 16 March 2011. 
  12. ^ "Special Historic Site - Tagajo Ruins (in Japanese)". Miyagi Prefecture. Retrieved 16 March 2011. 

External links[edit]

(Japanese) Tagajō Tourist Association

Coordinates: 38°18′24″N 140°59′18″E / 38.30667°N 140.98833°E / 38.30667; 140.98833