Kozaburo Tamamura

A beautiful image of Nagoya Castle. You can see the donjon at the honmaru (inner citadel) and a small tower. The buildings in the foreground form part of the honmaru palace. The structures on the ends of the roof are golden shachihoko (金鯱), a mythical animal with a dolphin body and a lion head that protects the building from fire.
This image is extremely valuable because it shows what Nagoya Castle looked like during the Meiji Period (1868-1912), before many buildings were destroyed by the Mino-Owari Earthquake of 1891 (Meiji 24), or torn down.
The original Nagoya castle was built around 1525 by Imagawa Ujichika (1473–1526), but later abandoned. Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu (1543–1616) ordered the building of a new Nagoya Castle in 1610, it was completed in 1619.
A massive castle at an important strategic location, it guarded the west of Japan. Nagoyawas one of the most important castle towns in Japan and the most important stop on the Tokaido, the main road between Edo (Tokyo) and Kyoto.
Until 1868 (Meiji 1), the castle was the home of the Owari clan of the Tokugawa family. After that, the Imperial Japanese Army used the castle until 1895 (Meiji 28). Imperial soldiers, no fans of the previous shogun, damaged many of the castle’s treasures.
From 1895 it became a detached palace for Imperial Family, and it was handed over to the city of Nagoya in 1930 (Showa 5).
Although it managed to survive for more than 300 years, it was burnt down and destroyed during a WWII US air raid on May 14, 1945 (Showa 20). Between 1957 (Showa 32) and 1959 (Showa 34), a ferroconcrete reproduction was built, complete with elevator and modern conveniences.
The current reproduction shachihoko are made of copper and covered with 560 scales of 18 carat gold.

A booth selling items for the New Year celebrations. This image is part of The New Year in Japan, a book published by Kobe-based photographer Kozaburo Tamamura in 1906. Original text:
At other fairs, articles are arranged in booths, in Temple grounds, and here you may obtain, practically, anything, you require, and many, many people buy what they do not really need, but the attraction is cheapness, and that is a strong magnet with humanity in general!1

A family cleans the home in advance of the New Year celebrations. Cleaning is a major part of preparing for the New Year as Shinto beliefs place much importance on purity. This image is part of The New Year in Japan, a book published by Kobe-based photographer Kozaburo Tamamura in 1906. Original text:
A preliminary to the coming of the New Year is a general “spring cleaning,” as our friends term it. The interior and exterior of every domicile is cleaned and re-decorated. Warehouses and business houses all undergo a similar “clean out,” and we get ready for a new lease on life.1
Two men are clowning around as part of the entertainment seen during Meiji Period(1868-1912) New Year celebrations. This image is part of The New Year in Japan, a book published by Kobe-based photographer Kozaburo Tamamura in 1906. Original text:
Ping! Pong! These men are acting similar to the foreign pantomine [sic] clowns; they parade the streets, performing various antics, peculiar to custom, and they shout “Hail! Hail! ye Gods of Heaven and earth. Significant omens are in the air, and the universe is full of lucky signs.”
Eating soba, still an important part of ring out the New Year in Japan today. This image is part of The New Year in Japan, a book published by Kobe-based photographer Kozaburo Tamamura in 1906. Original text:
 
The last hours of the old year are speeding on their journey into oblivion; the disagreeable task of demanding payments of old debts is finished, and just before the year expires, the family and the domestics meet together in mutual harmony, to partake of (Japanese) macaroni.1 Ah! The clock strikes out the death knell of the old year; the assembled ones remain silent, absorbed in thought, for a moment or two, and then take a very brief rest, ere they awake in the early morn to welcome the New Year and to perform the many, many customs handed down from a period immemorial.2
New Year resolutions clearly go back a ways. The children of this household start the new year with doing their chores, sewing, practicing music and practicing calligraphy. This image is part of The New Year in Japan, a book published by Kobe-based photographer Kozaburo Tamamura in 1906. Original text:

 
The elder daughter plies her needle, in token of her good resolutions of the New Year, and the younger is likewise employed, but with a musical instrument, thesamisen, while the wee brother is occupied in making his copy of characters (our substitute for words) to show his teacher.1

No comments:

Post a Comment