Two Fridays ago, I visited the Tatebayashi Kyodo Shiryokan (local archives). It took almost all day to get there from Yokohama. In fact, it was 3:30 p.m. after I finished my very late lunch. Then, it started raining. Not a good sign. So I was in a given-up mode. I thought I would go to the local shrine, take photos, and go home.
But I had to pass the Shiryokan before I get to the shrine. To my good fortune, the Shiryokan had their special exhibition about the Tatebayashi han and its territories, and it was the last day. And it was the last hour, too!
I went in, browsed around skipping most of interesting displays like a dark blue suit of armor with gold headdress like a pair of horns, and stopped at a large ancient map. It was the han’s map around the Tatebayashi castle.
Once I’m lucky, more luck seems to come my way. The displayed map made the cover design of their pamphlet. It was 700 yen. Sure enough, I found the name I was looking for plus a few other names of relatives.
The original map belongs to an individual who lives in Tsuyama, not Tatebayashi or Hamada. The Tatebayashi han (Ochi Matsudaira) moved to Hamada in 1836, and reestablished themselves as the renewed Hamada han. Then they moved one last time to Okayama after their defeat to Choshu han. Tsuyama is in Okayama.I also spotted one of the notebooks titled “The Status of the Hamada Han Members.” It said the total of 25 books came also from Tsuyama, but how lucky I am, it came from Tsuyama Kyodo Museum. I’m grateful to the donor to the museum.
Next day, I headed to Hamada and Tsuwano instead of Tohoku and Hokkaido as I had planned previously. But once at Hamada, I was unsuccessful in getting touch with the person in charge of the original documents of Hamada han.
After I spent a day in Tsuwano, I headed to Okayama. But the map for loan hadn’t returned, and the head of the museum told me that I could take a look at it, but it would be only available after Friday morning which was the scheduled arrival time and day.
“Thank you. I will go home and come back on Friday.”
So, I ended up making two visits to Tsuyama Kyodo Museum last week. To make this story short, I found what I was looking for. How did I feel when I saw his name? Bingo! That’s how I felt. Yamada Makinosuke is the only name my mother had told me, but I’m glad she did.
With much appreciation to Tsuyama Kyodo Museum, I’m dedicating this blog to them, and I also want to introduce their special exhibition on the picture maps of the Tsuyama Han currently shown..
I read an interesting article written by Kajimura Akiyoshi at the museum. He wrote that in 1835, the feudal government sent their orders to all the hans throughout Japan to recreate new picture maps.
The government handed the receivers a copy of the old maps and known updates, but in those days, hans’ territories were complex because other hans owned some lands in other hans’ territories, and the government also owned their lands here and there throughout Japan.
What a gigantic headache to the Tsuyama han to come up with a legitimate map! As I read the article, I thought of the Hamada han, too. Their situation must have been similar. Besides, the Hamada han members then were just transferred from Tatebayashi to get away from on-going natural disasters year after year plus their financial troubles. Boy, this order of a new map must have been another headache, I’m sure.
Well, I think we can’t get away from our headaches just like that. My mother disliked moving, and I wonder because of this fact in the history. After she married to my father, she never moved. In fact, she despised any kind of moving including her traditional-arts utensils in her house. She said the people constantly moving tend to be poor. I think there is an element of truth to it. I've been moving back and forth between Japan and the U.S., and I don't want to count.
I had again late lunch, and the restaurant was, again my luck, next to the museum. Three colored lunch is my favorite. It was delicious!