Thursday, 5 May 2011

Kiyosu Castle, spoils of Oda Nobunaga

Oda Nobunaga was the initiator of the unification of Japan under the rule of the shogun in the late 16th century. From then on his dynasty continued the process leading to the opening up of Japan to the West in the 19th century.

After the capture of Kiyosu Castle in 1555, Oda Nobunaga made it his milliary center. Later his son began major extentions and reconstruction of the castle.

During World War II only 5 castles were spared destruction. In the sixties, a program was initiated to reconstruct these maimed iconic relics. Unfortunately, Kiyosu was forgotten until 1989, but that turned out to be an advantage as mistakes learnt from earlier projects were avoided resulting in the most authentic castle make-over.

A mere 7 minutes and 200 Yen ride from Nagoya JR Station on the Tokaido line brings you to Kiyosu. The 20 minute walk to the castle would have been fine except I realised I had forgotten to spread sunblock on my face. Ouch, I could feel the melanocytes soaking up UV rays from the cloudless sky and churning out melanin pigment like crazy.

Back to Oda, imagine the days and nights of battle creating a new dawn.

Reliving and commemorating these glorious days are what the Japanese do. Festivals and parades are their forte.

The interior, six stories high presented Nobunaga with vistas of his subjects and environs.

The visuals made imagination easy and gave prospective.

Visitors from the West included Portuguese Jesuit missionaries and the Dutch. Their impact was not great apart from being featured in paintings, evidence of perseverance of Japanese culture.

The Golden Dolphin, kinshachijo, in the form of a tiger-head dolphin, represents rain and so deems power and protection from fire. It is a prominent decorative feature of the Nagoya Castle.

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