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Bugyotsuji

Map of Japan on vase, 1,2,3,4,5

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Many of the members will have nice examples of these I am sure, and I have always secretly wanted a genuine old one. (There is a huge one in a restaurant near here, too big to fit under my jacket, sadly.)

Some time ago as a stop-gap I bought a small modern version, but after examining it I have come to realize it is quite *educational. In fact I would like to post the four sides in order, starting with Kyushu in the west.

*Firstly it gives a general idea of the geography of Japan, and secondly it gives us some idea of the round rule-of-thumb map that the average Japanese probably had in their mind, as to what was important. Thirdly, it gives some blanket terms for vaguely conceptual land bodies nearby. In other words, it may serve as a time-step backwards into the fuzzy Edo-Period mind. Fourthly I have found it interesting for further study of Japanese terminology.

1. To start off gently, here is a view from the top of the four-sided vase/bottle. But out of focus, apologies.
(Our next view will go west to the overall Kyushu area.)

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2. And for those raring to go ahead, here is the western (Kyūshū) side of the vase, with the tips of Honshū and Shikoku just visible on the right (east).

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Spoiler A

Regarding No.1 above, you can see two words on the northern land, 松前 Matsumae and 蝦夷 Ezo, or Emishi.

 

Matsumae refers to the Matsumae Han who had a castle over the Tsugaru Strait there, and by extension referred not only to to their lands but also the rest of Hokkaido and all that it held, including Kobu seaweed (which is what it means to most people today).

 

Although both used the same 蝦夷 Kanji, the reading of Ezo was an old word for Hokkaido, whereas Emishi seems to refer to all northern people(s) outside the range of the central government. (I suspect Guido knows more about this.)

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Spoiler B
Photo No.2

Notice the general areas of Kyushu, especially those with 前 -zen, 中 -chu and/or 後 -go, (a feature repeated throughout Japan), and which islands in the surrounding seas were important to people way back when.
I was surprised for example to look up 日島 Hino Island, which features large on the map, but is actually tiny, and probably not of any great importance to most people today. (?)

The main island of Kyūshū from top left goes:

肥前 Hizen 筑前 Chikuzen 豊前 Buzen
   筑後 Chikugo 豊後 Bungo
   肥後 Higo  日向 Hyūga
   薩摩 Satsuma  大隅 Ōsumi

  And below,  琉球国 Ryūkyū Koku

 

Above Kyushu to the left we can see 対馬 Tsushima, a large island between Korea and Japan.

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Piers, I have a roughly related question. I didn’t want to create a thread just for that but was wondering since you live in Japan:

 

Here, in Europe, our main roads and highways still follow/were built on or close by the original Roman roads. So my question: Do the 8 roads still exist today in one way or another? If so, have they been renamed?

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Hi JP, your question is worth a separate thread, with illustrations! A lovely idea. I will try and blend them in.

 

Although much has been knocked down and built over, many of the original roads 見え隠れ (mie'-kakure' = appear and disappear) throughout Japan. Some people enjoy walking or cycling them, stopping to find shops or houses that feature in Ukiyo-e (Tokaido), and of course many of the old temples and shrines continue as they always have along these routes. Castles overlooked and commanded important river and road choke points. Walk up a flight of stone steps and any sense of time suddenly slips away. There are TV programmes and blogs on the internet dedicated to these. Locals, especially older people, will suddenly point out that the little section of road you are standing on was once part of this or that. You can walk through an old village and discover a sign giving information about where this road led and how it fitted into history. "In 1332 the Emperor Godaigo passed through along this road on his way to exile on Oki Island." It helps to have someone with you who can read Japanese, because these signs tend to be packed with difficult names and other information that are hard to absorb at the best of times. 

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Not pretending to know or understand everything on this vase, but on No.2 above, the 西海道 Saikaido Kyushu facet, I mentioned that you can see the western tip of Honshu, 門 being the second half of 長門 Nagato, in today's Yamaguchi, so connect that with 長 in this next shot. In Shikoku 豫 -yo indicates the second character in the old word 伊豫 for Iyo 伊予. Look for 伊 top left of Shikoku.

 

No.3 The west of Honshū, (山陰道 San-in-dō along the top, paralleling the 山陽道 San-yō-dō), with Shikoku below (part of the 南海道 Nankaidō) and a couple of other islands above and below.

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Spoiler for No.3 above then.

Small islands.

The islands on top in the Japan Sea look to be 竹島 Takeshima and 隠岐 Oki, (no Shima), where two Emperors were exiled.

In the Seto Inland Sea north and east of Shikoku you can see 宮島 Miyajima and 淡路 Awaji (-shima).

 

Shikoku.

Four countries, so 四国 'Shikoku'? 伊豫 (伊予)Iyo top left, 讃岐 Sanuki top right, 土佐 Tosa bottom left and 阿波 Awa bottom right.

 

West of Honshu.

(Top row)

長門 Nagato 石見 Iwami 出雲 Izumo 伯耆 Hōki 因幡 Inaba

(Bottom row)

周防 Suō, 安芸 Aki, 備後 Bingo 備中 Bitchū 備前 Bizen (and above Bizen is 美作 Mimasaka.)

 

PS Notice 朝鮮 Chō-sen above, *this appellation not pc today.

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Pic 4.
Kind of ...centered on Kansai/Kinki+ area. Wildly inaccurate, but tries to cover everything.

Quiz *questions.
*One easy, and one fiendishly difficult. (Masochists take note!)
A) Can you spot Lake Biwa?
B) What is the land down south with the 國 character?

 

(26th June: Time for a spoiler? The 'edit' button disappears after a couple of days, so where to put it?)

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The 関西 Kansai (literally, west of Kan, or Seki) is a large splodge of kingdoms surrounding the central features of Kyoto, Lake Biwa and Osaka.

 

For a detailed discussion of how the term Kanto first appeared in the 7th century to describe 'all lands to the east', i.e. Barbaria, outside the pale, (beyond the three Seki checkpoints) and how later the opposite term Kansai was born, see here, in Japanese. Kansai they say, was to all intents and purposes 'Japan' itself, Asuka/Nara, the heart of civilization, for a long time not needing any name like 'Kansai' to describe itself. 

https://quizknock.com/kanto-kansai

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Coming from the west of Japan towards Kansai we can see on this third facet (Pic No.4 above) the first two areas 但馬 Tajima and 播磨 Harima (roughly Hyogo today). Himeji Castle was/is located in Harima.

 

On the north coast, Tajima turns into 丹後 Tango and then 丹波 Tanba, before 若狭 Wakasa, 越前 Etchizen and 加賀 Kaga and the 能登半島 Noto Peninsula above.

 

Coming inwards from Harima in the west, you reach 摂津 Settsu and 大阪 Osaka, with 和泉 Izumi below, and then the famous 紀伊 Kii Peninsula. 河内 Kawachi is landlocked above Kii and behind Izumi.

 

And then we come to the cultural heart lands surrounding Lake Biwa. If 近江 Omi caps and surrounds Lake Biwa on the three sides, then 大和 Yamato and 伊賀 Iga support it. Naturally to the west of Lake Biwa stands Mt Hiei (not seen here) and the double bubble of 京Kyo/山城 Yamashiro.

 

As we move east (towards Nagoya and Edo), we first encounter the great land of 美濃 Mino on the 東山道 Tosando where the big 関Seki checkpoint stood, and where the Battle of 関ケ原 Sekigahara was fought. Below Mino are 伊勢 Ise and 志摩 Shima, (and 尾張 Owari, and 三河 Mikawa on the 東海道 Tokaido which will be round the corner on the last facet.)

 

To the north of Mino are landlocked 飛騨 Hida, and above that on the north coast 越中 Etchu which is east of Kaga and Noto.

 

N.B. No-one has answered either question above, but of these, Lake Biwa should be easy to spot now. The key to the other 'fiendish' question will be presented on the last facet. That's all for today, if nothing has been left out... :beer:

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Facet #4, (Pic.5)

"The Wild East", the lands east of the Seki/Kan barriers, i.e. Kanto and beyond.

The final chunk of the map, and up above you can just see where we started this thread, the white edge of Matsumae again, the beginning of what would be one day called Hokkaido.

If we follow the coast from west to north, 越後 Etchigo/Echigo appears and finally completes those three: Echizen, - Etchu - Etchigo in progression away from Kyoto. 出羽 Dewa comes next, and above that the northern lands of 陸奥 Mutsu on the 東山道 Tosando (奥州・陸州 O-shu or Rikushu). Oops, mustn't forget that important island of 佐渡 Sado off the coast there.

Perhaps we can then come down the Pacific coast from Mutsu, administered at some time by Sendai(?), to 常陸 Hitachi, then 下総 Shimosa, 上総 Kazusa and the tip of the peninsula 安房 Awa (Boso). The relative positioning and readings of these seem to be extremely difficult. (My J wife was surprised for example to discovered that there were two completely different 'Awa' in Japan.)

Taking a middle route through landlocked 国 Kuni kingdoms from Mino, we can start below Echigo with 信濃 Shinano and move east with the unreadable pair of 上野 Kozuke and 下野 Shimotsuke, connecting with Hitachi again.

And that allows us to attack the busy southern region along the coast with Edo at its heart. If we approach along the 東海道 Tokaido, the direction that the Edo Shogunate feared, we follow the south coast from 尾張 Owari to 三河 Mikawa as mentioned previously, and unreadable 遠江 To-to-mi (遠州 Enshu). Here on the map we get a split, with 甲斐 Kai above, and 駿河 Suruga on the bay below. Further south of Suruga is the lovely peninsula of Izu, a pleasant day-trip from Tokyo today. (And what is that land across the sea below?)

Finally crossing 相模 Sagami (相州 So-shu, & remember 鎌倉 Kamakura) we can pinpoint our goal, the 武蔵 Musashi area straddling 江戸 Edo.

*May I say thank you to anyone who has made the effort to read this far. It was much harder than I had expected, biting off almost more than I could chew. I have attempted to check everything, but would be glad if any errors could be pointed out. My wife keeps repeating what a terrible tokkuri/map concoction this is, as if blaming me for buying such an awful thing. I stick to my guns; I like it, in all its roughness. One day I shall get a 'real' old one.

And.... :drumbeat: so what is that land mass down below? The challenge is to read the characters, and then find out what they indicate! :fit:

Good luck

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The characters down below, Japanese for "Past this point be dragons".

Haha, I like it!  :thumbsup:

 

As my daughter's music teacher used to say to the students, "Close, but no bananas!"

 

I would have to add, "Very close Tom, and worth one Tanto!"

 

Answer coming.... any more takers?

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The general answer is 女護國. Nyōgo no Kuni, (aka Nyōgo no Shima, or Nyōgo ga Shima), which features in legends, Jōruri and in Kabuki, etc. 'Women's Protectorate', The Land of Women, Island of Women.

Amazon Land? It was said that no shipwrecked mariner (male) who set foot there could ever hope to return. (And his fishing tackle confiscated?)  ;-) 

And in Japanese
https://ja.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/女護島

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Fascinating. Please don't take the lack of replies to be a lack of interest. Just sometimes nice to just read and learn, instead of participating. :clap:

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Thank you Brian. Much appreciated. :beer:  :thumbsup:

 

It is not as clear as I had hoped, though. Having reread it after a good night's sleep, I can better see what needs elaboration and what needs editing. There are also some remaining islands. Of course, the administrative areas of Japan changed too over the centuries. The whole thing really needs reorganizing and rewriting, but life is short. It was a fun exercise.  :)

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Outstanding, my friend! All that information from a single vase.

Like Brian just stated, sometimes it’s nice to just have a long read about something you find fascinating :)

 

Jan

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Piers, sorry I didn’t reply and thank you earlier. The thread was moved and I’ve just found it again. This is a very interesting topic. Thank you for taking the time to write this fascinating articles. I enjoy this subject. So much information on such a simple vase. Truly amazing?

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