Osaka’s Symbolic Monument: Osaka Castle’s Donjon was the First Restored Donjon in Japan.

A Osaka’s symbolic monument, Osaka castle has a unique history. Osaka was a city which was the political capital during the Azuchi-Momoyama period (1573-1603). The original builder of Osaka castle was Hideyoshi Toyotomi.

大阪城

Osaka was Hideyoshi Toyotomi’s City

大阪城内堀

大阪城巨石After Hideyoshi Toyotomi’s death, Ieyasu Tokugawa became the new ruler. After the defeat of the Toyotomi family, Ieyasu order the destruction of Osaka castle.

But Still Osaka People Love Hideyoshi

大阪城徳川時代Osaka people were known for their vital energy and and not obedient to the powerful authority. As tactful leader Hideyoshi was successful in winning the hearts and minds of Osaka people. The new leader Tokugawa must had been very careful to manage Osaka. Hideyoshi’s Osaka castle was about 4㎢, Tokugawa destroyed it completely and rebuilt a whole new castle with a new bigger donjon, a symbol of authority, on top of it.

There are Only 12 Authentic Donjons in Japan

豊臣ー徳川 大阪城In the 400 years since the defeat of Toyotomi, Osaka people have always thought that Osaka castle was Hideyoshi Toyotomi’s. Tokugawa could never successfully override the legend of Hideyoshi.(left is Toyotomi’s donjon and right is Tokugawa’s)

大阪城屏風絵In Japan, there are only 12 surviving castle donjons. Most donjons what we see today are restored. Osaka castle was the first restored donjon in Japan which was about 85 years ago. In those days, study of castle was immature, so no one realized that Osaka castle was had been completely restored from the foundation by Tokugawa. The lower part of the new restored donjon is Tokugawa design, and the top part is Toyotomi design. There are no record of the reasons behind this decision.

The Restored Donjon is Now

大阪城天守閣ライトアップThe restored Osaka Donjon has been criticized because it has an elevator and the design is not historically correct. However, this Toyotomi and Tokugawa hybrid donjon is now a registered tangible cultural property of Japan. This was the first concrete made restored donjon in Japan and the first to use the building for a history museum.

Excavation of Toyotomi’s Ishigaki (Stone Wall)

大阪城遠景

Toyotomi’s Osaka castle is now under excavation. The Toyotomi Ishigaki Project is asking for donation. http://japangiving.jp/p/1383

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