Ichijodani Asakura Clan Historical Ruins

Guest blog by Ray Shortridge

During the Fifteenth and Sixteenth centuries, the authority of the emperor waned. Land holding warlords exercised political power in the provinces at the expense of imperial officials. In the area near Fukui, the Asakura Clan held sway over thousands of farmers from their stronghold at
Ichijodani Castle.

Goldfish are a common sight in drainage ditches
Drainage ditches were well designed

The ruins of the castle stretch about two hundred yards along the east bank of a small rapidstream that flows into the Asuwan River a few miles downstream to the north. The fortress extended from the stream to the steep slope of a wooded ridge. Across the stream, the samurai serving the Clan dwelled inside a walled village that protected their houses and gardens. In addition to the samurai, artisans and merchants lived in the village that totalled perhaps ten
thousand residents.

T

Reconstructed village
When the curtain is out, the merchant is open, even today.

The five or six generation rule of the Asakura Clan ended violently. An ambitious Shogun who sought to unite the empire, Oda Nobunaga, attacked their stronghold and destroyed both the castle and the village. Over the past several decades, archeological work has revealed the foundations of the buildings, and several houses in the samurai village have been reconstructed. Today, a few re-enactors, curators, and groundskeepers roam an otherwise deserted ruin, along with a black cat and great blue heron that we spotted.

Matsumoto Towers

Guest blog by Ray Shortridge

The famous Black Crow Castle has loomed over Matsumoto, Japan, since 1504. Over the centuries, several successive warrior clans ruled the region from the eponymous black wooden fortress until 1868.

Black color was used to intimidate enemies

Swan in moat by Matsumoto castle

Another equally tall structural steel tower now looms over the city, facilitating voice, data, and video digital communications.

During dusk, a flock of black crows cawed their way from the sixteenth century to twenty first century one, and back, circling from the past to the present.