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Quake breaches historic walls of 400-year-old Kumamoto Castle

32 Comments
By Shinichi Saoshiro

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32 Comments
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Stones and rocks differs in each area in Japan but interiors differ. The majority of Japan's castles were created before Kumamoto castle because Iyeyasu Tokugawa prohibited.

Meiji Goo t prohibited samurai perform seppuku (harakiri) after young boys whose load was shogun side came back,, looking at their lord's castle and performed seppuku. In current Fukushima Ken.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

In 100 years, these will be traditional building styles.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Chowarui:

" I think not only castles but almost all old historic buildings in Japan are replicas to some degree. Often they are just 100% replicas. "

True, but if they are re-built using the original plans and materials, I don´t think I would qualify it as "fake" in the sense of Disneyland. Also note that it is a tradition here to re-build structures (f ex every 20 years in case of the Ise Grand Shrine). It is a different culture here, we should take off the European goggles.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Did they reopen the Shinkasen to Kumamoto yet? It might not be a good idea to travel to the region at this time. Much help is needed for the locals there without adding stranded tourists to the bunch.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I am actually impressed that the structure is basically still standing. A tribute to medieval engineering!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@Sparky: Try Kumamoto shiyakusho. Write with your computer. They are trying to find relatives. If your wife write in Japanese, one letter at a time. You will be notified very soon. officials are all fluent in English.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

It can be rebuilt, it won't be the first time.

I worry about my in-laws more. I hope for a return to normalcy. I have a desire to read about happy rescues and cheerful reunions.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Kumamoto was the first place in Japan that began to use none Hunan waste as fertilizer. Also only Japanese school that taught in English only at old Kumamoto Shougyou. A long long time ago. Double sword master Masashi Miyamoto honed his skills in Kumamoto.That was very old time, too.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

A shame. It's a fascinating building

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Kato who had to move out was invited to Kumamoto and decided to c Become castle architect. Before he became, Castles were headquarters fowl attacking. He designed for defense included Castle. Meanwhile Mouri samurai who were pushed into current Yamaguchi prefecture became farmer samurai to survived and crushed shogun forces and created Meiji ISBN

Kumamoto castle has bottom floor lower than shogun sided castles. In south Ninja meant spy. They go underneath of bottom floor of castle to hear war strategy. Kato did that in consideration. Also he created lake with carps living. When ninjas walk, carps splash. I read old books and when I explained to my oldest daughter, she said Guns were in Japan. Generation gap.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

There is a good chance that they might rebuild it using original materials and methods rather than concrete. They in fact had already done that with the secondary tower which was completed a few years ago (and sadly seems to have been damaged).

Concrete reconstructions have definitely fallen out of favor. In Nagoya the mayor has expressed support for demolishing the concrete tower there and creating an authentic reconstruction.

Nit sure if they will do that in Kumamoto, but could happen.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I find it hard not to consider it fake

@Moonraker

I'm with you on this one.

I think not only castles but almost all old historic buildings in Japan are replicas to some degree.

Often they are just 100% replicas.

It seems that 'fake will do' when it comes to historic buildings here.

Look at, for example, that historic wonder, Kinkakuji... built in 1955.

It is all very different to our historic buildings in Europe.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Kiyomasa Kato designed and helped to build the Caste for Lord Hosokawa who is the ancestor of former prime minister Hosokawa. When I was a child, people only called to Osama no Shinozaki for stone fence of castle.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Kato Kiyomasa was quite the builder. You can still see the remains of his work in Korea.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

JohnDigsJapan: "Himeji castle was covered for nearly a decade or more. Seeing what has happened in Kumamoto, 5 years or more of repairs wouldn't be out of the question. It is meticulous and painstaking work. Patience will have to be the norm."

Agree 100% with your first post and the potential innocuousness of people asking about the castle, but as a point of order Himeji Castle underwent renovations and a paint job for only 5.5 years, not even close to a decade.

That said, I was reading Japanese news online last night that said parts of THIS castle could definitely take a decade or more, since, as you said, they restore things painstakingly. I think the castle can be fixed up well enough, given time, but with some of the other structures given the time and costs involved, since they are almost completely destroyed in some cases, it might just be better to keep the ruins and add this to the history of them. But if they're fixable eventually, too, then great.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

I don't consider Kumamoto Castle as fake just because part was rebuild using modern materials at a time when it's original function was obsolete.

Well, considering that "part" is the centrepiece of the castle I find it hard not to consider it fake and thus the whole place a bit cheapened. It's like finding the spire of Salisbury cathedral was remade in aluminium or plastic cos it is cheap and light, or the central building of the Taj Mahal was remade out of white-painted ferroconcrete instead of marble because building great structures to love is no longer done. Rebuilding it with original materials, like Nagoya, I think is good. Maybe I am just a bit of a purist and like my historical structures to be as authentic as possible. It comes as a shock and disappointment to realise that they are not real.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Spent a bit of time in the top room at Kumamoto Castle several years ago. It was a beautiful, old structure. But guess it'll be rebuilt in due time. Meanwhile, those quakes continue to rock the entire region there in Kumamoto and Oita prefectures. Every 10, 15 minutes there's yet another bulletin on TV saying that a quake has struck there. Not only is the castle being shaken to pieces, but also are many other structures in the earthquake zone.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I don't consider Kumamoto Castle as fake just because part was rebuild using modern materials at a time when it's original function was obsolete.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

For Your Information... Kumamoto Castle (熊本城 Kumamoto-jō) is a hilltop Japanese castle located in Chūō-ku, Kumamoto in Kumamoto Prefecture. It was a large and extremely well fortified castle. The castle keep (天守閣 tenshukaku) is a concrete reconstruction built in 1960, but several ancillary wooden buildings remain of the original castle. Kumamoto Castle is considered one of the three premier castles in Japan, along with Himeji Castle and Matsumoto Castle. Thirteen structures in the castle complex are designated Important Cultural Property...

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Seems like some people don’t like my lack of knowledge, or my surprise. Sorry about that. But anyway, it led to research. FYI The following castles are not fake, and are considered complete: Bitchū Matsuyama, Hikone, Himeji, Hirosaki, Inuyama, Kochi, Marugame, Maruoka, Matsue, Matsumoto Castle, Matsuyama (Iyo), Uwajima Castle. On the other hand, along with Kumamoto, replicas include Aizu Wakamatsu, Odawara, Kanazawa, Osaka, Okayama, Hiroshima and Hirado. Nagoya is being rebuilt.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Sad but it is fixable. I think I visited in either 2002 or 2003. One of the better castles in Japan.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

FightingViking,

I've often had the same experience, when wanting to post a correction to a typo or add a bit I'd forgotten, I have to wait for someone else to comment because I'm not allowed to post two comments in a row (which I suppose is a method the site uses to stop demented spammer types from hogging the comment section).

But the multiple posts with the same contents is the result, I think, of another situation. I've done it a few when the system seems to have frozen and the Submit button doesn't function. Thinking I maybe didn't touch it in the right way (on iPhone) I've tried a few more times only to suddenly see multiple copies of the comment flow onto the screen at once. Usually the extras will be removed by a mod fairly soon.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

While they could restore Kumamoto Castle in about 3-4 years, a bigger issue is the collapse of the wooden structures at Aso Jinja. The damage there is substantial enough they may need to rebuild everything almost from the foundation up--a process that could take as much as a decade to complete. It will be hard to do given that Aso Jinja is listed as a Tangible Cultural Property.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

They might have removed most of the rubble by than.

The reconstruction will take long as they will use traditional craftsmen and much of the construction will have to be crafted by hand from original plans and techniques.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Seriously, when will it be fixed. I might be coming over in July.

Right now and for the near future, no one will be allowed near the place. Then damage assessment will be made on the state of the structure. It will take much time to plan what needs to be done. They're not going to slap a coat of paint on it.... When they do reconstructions or repairs of national treasures, they take their time. Himeji castle was covered for nearly a decade or more. Seeing what has happened in Kumamoto, 5 years or more of repairs wouldn't be out of the question. It is meticulous and painstaking work. Patience will have to be the norm.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Its angering me whenever I see people asking whether Kumamoto Castle will be reopened again soon as its 'affecting' their travel plans,

Seriously, when will it be fixed. I might be coming over in July.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I had no idea it was fake, like Osaka castle. How many of these castles are actually concrete replicas?

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

Well for what its worth I did think about Kumamoto castle (and the amazing residence nearby, forgot the name) after the first earthquake and wondered how badly it had been impacted. Doesn't mean we don't also think about the people affected (obviously) but a city and its historical buildings also represent these people, their parents and history.

Plus Kumamoto castle has absolutely unique and wonderful rooms full of colours and life. Perhaps its something people from 'old' countries with rich history, architecture and culture feel more than ppl from the new world, dunno.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Some people may ask if the castle is open or can be accessed. That is the tourist who has plans or accomodations and is wondering what his/her options are who is talking. That DOESN'T MEAN they don't care about those affected by the disaster. They are asking a valid question. They may have traveled thousands of miles and are wondering if they should avoid the area altogether until a future date. Don't judge them as people who don't care. Just because they haven't mentioned how sorry they are for the victims it doesn't mean they're heartless.

16 ( +17 / -1 )

Its angering me whenever I see people asking whether Kumamoto Castle will be reopened again soon as its 'affecting' their travel plans, with total lack of care for the locals who have been left devastated by this disaster. I just wish that these people would have some god damn respect for the people who have been killed and those who's lives are now in need of repair.

1 ( +12 / -11 )

Walls can be fixed and replaced, not he case with family and friends.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

It is a shame, but it is only a building and can be repaired. It is not a life.

13 ( +14 / -2 )

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