Questions and Answers about History of Shimabara

3. All About 'Shimabara Castle'

1. Who made the castle? And when and for what purpose?
It took seven years with a total of 1,000,000 people and was completed by Matsukura Shigemasa in 1624. As a center of the politics of Lord Matsukura, he made a large-scaled castle
2. When did it become an abandoned castle?
The Shogunate and the feudal clan was destroyed, and the castle was abandoned in
1871, and the building was dismantled, and the land was sold off. The castle tower was finally demolished five years later, too
3. Please let us know the size of Shimabara Castle. ?
(1) The height of a castle tower is about 33m. It's 5-storied, the first floor is 432 ‡u (288 tatamis' covering) and the fifth floor is 48 ‡u. There are three third-storied towers and they are about 13m in height.
(2) The size of the main enclosure is 28,000‡u. The secondary enclosure 13,400 ‡u. The third enclosure 42,000‡u
(3) The whole castle size is 379,962 ‡u.
4. About the moat
About 15 meters in depth ( maximum). 30-50 meters in width.
The circumference of the main enclosure and the outworks of the castle are 1,300 meters. A big moat was built deeply to protect the castle. Projections called the convex angles are prepared in the main enclosure and the secondary enclosure so that the dead angles on defense may not come out.
5. How did they get the material to build the castle?
(1) stone; dug up and carried from the neighborhood, but not from Hara Castle or Hinoe Castle.
(2) Lumber: buildings, such as Hara castle, were also utilized from every place in the domain.
(3) Many tools' purchased from Nagasaki and the various cities along the Ariake Sea, such as Kumamoto and Yanagawa. They were carried to the castle by ship. The waterfront was a good port; it's more than 5 meters in depth. More than 300 ships were able to anchor there.
6. What were devised in the construction of the castle?
(1) Because the moat was big and deep, it is impossible to enter the castle directly. In
addition, convex angles were made, and there were not blind spots.
(2) A corridor bridge were made between the main enclosure and the outworks of the castle so it was impossible to invade the main enclosure when the bridge was cut off.
(3) Because the whole view of Ote-mon Gate and the major open space could be commanded from the castle tower, it's advantageous to defend the castle.
(4) The scale was big for a daimyo of four Mangoku
7. How did the feudal lord live in the castle?
The feudal lord lived in the third enclosure. In addition, there was an office to carry out politics there. The main enclosure and the castle tower were supposed to be the place for barricading and shutting themselves up at the time of war.
The lord went up to Edo annually (daimyo's alternate-year residence in Edo), and lived in the Edo mansion and the Shimabara palace by turns. He might have had a very luxurious life.
8. How many samurais lived? And what kind of life did they lead?
200 senior samurais and about 800 low-class samurais (common soldiers) lived. There were about 4,000 people including their families. Senior samurais had their residences around the castle or in Jyounai (what is called 'Jyonai 2-3 chome' now). Low-class samurais lived in Teppo-machi (what is called 'Samurai-house zone').
9. Was there any well in the samurai residence?
There was a well in the mansion of the senior samurai, but the mansion of the low-class samurai did not have one. So the low-class samurai used the water of a waterway which still remains. This waterway was made when Lord Matsukura constructed the castle, and the water comes from Sugitani Gongen in the north.
  pege top