僕が姫路城を選んだ理由は単純ですが二つあります。一つは姫路城が地元に近くとても親しみ深いものであり、唯一訪れたことがある世界遺産であったことです。もう一つの理由は世界に誇れる世界遺産が、身近な日本国内にあることをみなさんに認識して欲しかったからです。この二つの理由から僕は姫路城を取り上げてみました。またせっかくプレゼンをやるのならということで久々に姫路城を見てきました。１５年ぶりの訪問でしたが、その存在感や美しさは変わらず日本一の城！いや世界一の城！と言わんばかりの堂々たる姿でした。みなさん身近にある世界遺産、姫路城ぜひ訪ねてみてくださいね。<青山学院大学 経済学部 経済学科 坂口 慶宜>
Pre-reading Questions:1. What prefecture is Himeji jo in?
2.What is the nickname for Himeji jo?
Date of Inscription: 1993 Criteria: (i)(iv)
Himeji-jo is the finest surviving example of early 17th-century Japanese castle architecture, comprising 83 buildings with highly developed systems of defence and ingenious protection devices dating from the beginning of the Shogun period. It is a masterpiece of construction in wood, combining function with aesthetic appeal, both in its elegant appearance unified by the white plastered earthen walls and in the subtlety of the relationships between the building masses and the multiple roof layers.
Official UNESCO page for Himeji castle
Reading PassageHimeji Castle (Japanese: 姫路城; -jo) is a Japanese castle located in Himeji in Hyogo Prefecture. It is one of the oldest surviving structures from medieval Japan, and was registered as the first Japanese National Cultural Treasure by UNESCO World Heritage Site and a Japanese National Cultural Treasure in December, 1993. Along with Matsumoto Castle and Kumamoto Castle, it is one of Japan's "Three Famous Castles", and is the most visited castle in Japan. It is occasionally knownasHakurojo or Shirasagijo("White Heron Castle") because of its brilliant white exterior.
Himeji Castle frequently appears on Japanese television. Edo Castle (the present Kokyo) does not have a keep, so when a fictional show such as Abarenbo Shogun needs a magnificent substitute, the producers turn to Himeji. Himeji serves as an excellent example of the prototypical Japanese castle, containing many of the defensive and architectural features most associated with Japanese castles. The tall stone foundations, whitewash walls, and organization of the buildings within the complex are standard elements of any Japanese castle, and the site also features many other examples of typical castle design, including gun emplacements and stone-dropping holes. The current keep dates from 1601. One of Himeji's most important defensive elements, and perhaps its most famous, is the confusing maze of paths leading to the main keep. The gates, baileys, and outer walls of the complex are organized so as to force an approaching force to travel in a spiral pattern around the castle on their way into the keep, facing many dead ends. This allowed the intruders to be watched and fired upon from the keep during their entire approach. However, Himeji was never attacked in this manner, and so the system remains untested.
The castle was conceived and constructed during the Nanboku-cho era of the Muromachi period. At this time, it was called Himeyama Castle. In 1346, Akamatsu Sadanori planned a castle at the base of Mount Himeji, where Akamatsu Norimura had constructed the temple of Shomyoji. After Akamatsu fell during the Kakitsu War, Yamana clan briefly took over planning of the castle; the Akamatsu family took over again following the Onin War. In 1580, Toyotomi Hideyoshi took control of the castle, and Kuroda Yoshitaka built a three-story tower. Following the Battle of Sekigahara in 1601, Tokugawa Ieyasu granted Himeji Castle to Ikeda Terumasa. Ikeda embarked on an eight-year expansion project that brought the castle roughly to its current form. The last major addition, the Western Circle, was completed in 1618. Himeji was one of the last holdouts of the tozama daimyo at the end of the Edo period. It was held by the descendants of Sakai Tadasumi until the Meiji Restoration. In 1868, the new Japanese government sent the Okayama army, under the command of a descendant of Ikeda Terumasa, to shell the castle with blank cartridges and drive its occupiers out. When the han system was abolished in 1871, Himeji Castle was sold at auction. Its final price was 23 yen and 50 sen. However, the cost of dismantling the castle proved to be prohibitive, and as a result it was abandoned. The Tenth Infantry Regiment occupied Himeji Castle in 1874, and the War Ministry took control of the castle in 1879. The main tower was renovated in 1910 using 90,000 yen in public funds. Himeji was bombed in 1945, at the end of World War II. Although most of the surrounding area was burned to the ground, the castle survived almost entirely unscathed.
gun emplacements 銃の据え付け場所
stone-dropping holes (軍事戦略的に)石を落とす穴
the confusing maze of paths 混乱させるような迷路の小道
dismantling the castle
The Tenth Infantry Regiment
Himeji castle website
Official UNESCO page for Himeji castle
by Sakaguchi Yoshinari, Aoyama Gakuin College of Economics
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