Questions and Answers about History of Shimabara

4. All about the 'Castle Town'

1. What did the castle town look like?
The castle town was divided into the 3-cho. The population of the town was 7,971 people (men 4033, women 3938):
(1) Hori-machi'Sakura-machi, Shirachi-machi, Shiratsu Funatsu etc.(415 houses)
(2) Shin-machi'Arima-cho, Yorozu-cho, Shimmachi, Furoyacho, Urata Funatsu(449 houses)
(3) Mie-machi' Mie-Hon-cho, Naka-machi, Kata-machi, Miyano-cho (349 houses)

There was a town official called 'Betto', and he managed the town. Furu-machi' Nakamura Magozaemon, Shin-machi' Kumabe Mokuzaemon, Mie-machi' Anegawa Ibe
The castle town was damaged seriously after the Shimabara catastrophe in 1792, and changed greatly. Furu-machi and Shin-machi were reborn. Minato-machi was newly made at the southern part and it prospered very much as the center of the Ariake sea traffic.
2. What kind of festivals were there?
There was an annual festival at Takeshima Shrine from August 13 to 15, there was also a Dance (A Big Dance and A Small Dance). The sumo wrestling of Matsushima was held on September 13. The annual festival of Hyoutan-inari Shrine was held on February first Horse Day. There was also an annual festival in each village. O-ichi (the first marked festival) from February 3. There was also floating lanterns for the spirits of the dead of the Bon Festival.
3. What kind of shop was there in 3, the castle town?
wine shops 15, malt shops 15 , blacksmith's 14, dyehouse 30, craftsman of Japanese cypress 5, pail maker 13, tatami mat makers 3,
japanner 3, metal fittings 2, oilman 5. In addition to these shops and people, there were many notion stores, side-dish shops and peddlers and etc.
4. What kind of living did they live in the castle town?
(1) They worked hard in their business. Stocking, processing, sales to farmer and samurais. Some broadened the market to the outside of the territory.
(2) In a shop, there were a master, a clerk, an assistant manager and an apprentice. There were also a proprietress and a maid.
(3) The contrast between good times and bad times were very big.
(4) Meanwhile, the wealthy merchant was also born under such circumstances. Some of the shop names still remain.
5. Do such old buildings still remain?
Yamazaki family (a liquor store called 'Komatsu-ya') in Shirachi-machi. Honda family (a former liquor store called 'Shio-ya') in Shirachi-machi. Horikawa family (an inn called 'Hirado-ya'). Horibe family (a cotton shop called 'Wataya') in Yorozu-machi. More than 10 stores of these kinds still remain.
6. Are there any difference from now?
Clothes' A kimono (a Japanese traditional clothes), sandals and clogs, a married
woman's coiffure and a topknot.
Food' Mainly natural things such as rice, wheat, fish, vegetables; all were pure
domestic products. Mostly things produced in the domain.
Shelter' Houses made of wood, straw and paper. No energy such as electricity or oil. No machines, either.
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