Hello, and welcome to the Fukuoka City Museum.
Positioned at the western end of the Japanese archipelago, Fukuoka City is located in northern Kyushu and faces the Japan Genkainada Sea. If concentric circles are drawn with Fukuoka City as the centre point, Osaka and Seoul, Korea are equidistant at five hundred kilometres, while Tokyo and Shanghai are both 1,000 kilometres away. Fukuoka is surprisingly close to foreign countries.
The permanent exhibition reflects Fukuoka’s historical exchange with foreign countries as an entrance to Japan. It also introduces the lives of the people residing here, and truly is a portrait of this region.
The people living in this region have long been the first to be exposed to other cultures, and thus developed new means of production and economic activities. In overcoming newly encountered threats, they were able to create and preserve a rich and vibrant city.
Let us begin our journey that introduces Fukuoka’s 2,000-year history and its formative role in the creation of Japanese culture.
Chapter 1 "The World of the Gold Seal"
2. Gold Seal
This golden seal inevitably appears in Japanese history textbooks and is a National Treasure. In 1784, the late Edo period, a farmer discovered this seal as he was working on Shikanoshima, an island located in Hakata Bay. The square base is approximately 2.3 square centimetres, and it weighs about 109 grams. The grip is a coiled serpent.
The five characters on the seal’s base read kan no wa no na no kokuō, which indicates the Chinese emperor presented this seal to the king of Na, a kingdom formerly located in Japan. The Book of the Later Han, a Chinese history chronicling the Eastern Han dynasty, states that in 57 CE, Emperor Guangwu presented a seal to an envoy from Na. Scholars believe that this seal is indeed the same seal mentioned in this chronicle, which in turn attests to the Chinese court’s recognition of the kingdom of Na.
2,000 years ago, in what is known as Japan’s Yayoi period, the Na kingdom flourished in the Fukuoka region, and was a representative state of the Japanese archipelago.
3. Impression Taken from the Gold Seal
Many people assume that seals such as this are used to stamp paper after an application of red ink paste. This gold seal, however, was used to stamp clay rather than paper.
During the early third century BCE, or Han-dynasty China, a time when administrative records were highly developed, these seals were used to identify the originator of the documents as well as ensure their secrecy as highly classified information.. Plaques of wood or bamboo inscribed with official records were placed in boxes, which were then bound with cords. A wooden plaque was placed atop above the knot and then coated with clay, which was finally stamped with a seal. These seals were known as fūdei, which in English is translated as ‘luting’ or ‘clay seal’. After having been impressed, the grooves in the seal would leave raised characters in the clay.
4. Kamei Nanmei’s Research on the Gold Seal
At the time of the gold seal’s discovery in 1784, nobody understood the significance of the find. It was even suggested that the seal should be melted and used for decorative fittings for either arms or armour. Kamei Nanmei, a Confucian scholar of Chinese classics for the Fukuoka domain and the head of the domain’s Kantōkan Academy, however, explicated the importance of the seal in his Kin’in-ben, ‘The Gold Seal’. His treatise was the first to cite the mention of an identical seal in the Book of the Later Han and Emperor Guangwu’s presentation to the King of Na.
This work is the summation of Nanmei’s theory, and contains a map showing where the seal was discovered on Shikanoshima as well as an impression taken from the seal in red ink. He argued strongly that the seal was indeed from the Later Han dynasty, which resulted in a heightened awareness of its value. The Kuroda clan, the daimyo of Fukuoka, was then responsible for the preservation of the seal, and it has survived to the present day.
Chapter 2 "The Dawn of Fukuoka"
5. The Dawn of Fukuoka
Humans first settled in the Fukuoka region approximately 30,000 years ago during the Paleolithic period. In the then cold climate, they were nomadic hunter-gatherers and pursued Palaeoloxodon naumanni, mammoth-like animals, and other game. Archaeological sites have yielded spearheads, blades, and other stone tools used by the hunters of this time.
Approximately 15,000 years ago, the climate warmed and the environment changed. Humans began to use clay tools and bows, and lived in pit-dwellings, which marks the beginning of what is known as the Jōmon period. Many of the clay vessels they made were used to extract the astringency from acorns, and for cooking food. The shape and patterns of these vessels change according to location and period.
Fukuoka has long been a doorway to East Asia. Exchange with the continent substantially predates the era of the gold seal, as seen during the Paleolithic and the Jōmon periods. We would like to explain the excavated items displayed in this section that attest to this early exchange.
7. Stemmed Point on Blade
The object displayed here is found throughout Kyushu, and is a chipped spear point. These points are believed to have been made by chipping obsidian or andesite into a long shape, which was then further splintered into spear points. These spears were most likely used in hunting large animals.
Objects identical with this have been discovered on the Korean Peninsula. Scholars believe that humans crossed the Tsushima Strait 20,000 years ago, when the sea was at its lowest level and the distance between the two negligible, bringing these spears to Japan, which illustrates the exchange between Japan and the mainland during the Paleolithic Era.
8. Shell Mask
This shell with holes resembles a human face, and is therefore known as a ‘shell mask’. These objects are indeed masks, and have been discovered in Jōmon Period shell mounds in Fukuoka and Kumamoto.
Similar shell masks have been discovered in shell mounds located in Pusan on the Korean Peninsula with Jōmon earthenware and obsidian tools that were brought from Kyushu. During the Jōmon Period, the climate warmed and the sea levels rose to near the present level. The fishing gear used in Kyushu and the Korean Peninsula is similar, which suggests that cultural exchange via the ocean existed between the two during the Jōmon Period.
Chapter 3 "The Age of Nakoku"
9. The Age of Nakoku
The Na Kingdom sent emissaries to the emperor of China who were entrusted with the gold seal. This kingdom existed during what is known as the Yayoi Period, approximately 600 BCE to 300 CE.
Over 2,500 years ago, rice-paddy cultivation was transmitted from the Korean Peninsula to the Genkainada Coast in Northern Kyushu. Fukuoka was among the earliest to accept rice cultivation culture, and the beginning of the Yayoi Period is marked by the appearance of agricultural communities. Fukuoka was also the first region in Japan to be influenced by continental culture with bronze and ironware. The ensuing organization of these communities into larger entities created ‘countries’, and the beginning of exchange with East Asian societies.
The kingdom of Na in Fukuoka led the social transformation from local communities into larger entities. The beginnings of Japanese farming, industry, and diplomacy are therefore reflected in its history.
10. Miniature of a Restoration of Itazuke Site: Earliest Agricultural Village
Reproduced here is a miniature reconstruction of the Itazuke site in Hakata Ward, one of the earliest farming communities in Japan. Constructed on a plateau roughly eleven metres above sea level, the land surrounding the village was at a lower elevation and was developed into paddies with irrigation canals and sluices. From north to south, the village measured approximately 110 metres, and from east to west, eighty metres. The village was surrounded by a deep moat, and accordingly, communities such as this are often referred to as ‘moated settlements’. You may have noticed that there is a cemetery as well.
The Itazuke site, with its irrigated rice paddies, represents the origins of the Japanese farming community, which in Japan, is an image replete with nostalgia, and represents a fundamental aspect of Japanese culture. This site also marks the onset of the Yayoi Period, and agriculture spread from here to the rest of Japan.
11. Miniature of Yoshitake-Takagi Site: Compound Cemetery of Leaders
The Yoshitake-Takagi site is located on the Sawara Heiya Plain, which is centrally positioned on the coast of Hakata Bay. Graves with a variety of bronze burial accessories dating to the third century BCE were discovered here. At this time, the mid-Yayoi Period, bronze implements had come to be commonly used throughout the Japanese archipelago. Bronze weapons and mirrors arrived from the Korean Peninsula, and came to be produced in northern Kyushu.
A similar grave, the Kanenokuma site in Hakata, has little in the way of burial accessories, and was most likely a communal site for villagers. The graves in the Yoshitake-Takagi site, however, contained a variety of valuable objects, and scholars believe that the leaders of a small kingdom were buried here. A grave known as the Number Three Wooden Coffin contained a mirror, three different weapons, a jade magatama or comma-shaped jewel, a necklace of tube-shaped beads made from jasper, and more. These items most likely formed what would have been the most luxurious burial accessory set at this time. It is therefore referred to as the oldest royal grave.
12. Mold: Production of Bronze Implement
After the introduction of bronze implements from the Korean Peninsula to northern Kyushu, production began in Japan. Bronze implements are created by carving the shape of the desired object into moulds made from stone or other materials, which are then filled with a molten bronze alloy. Many of these moulds have been discovered in the region of the former kingdom of Na, the representative area for the production of bronze, and called the technopolis of the Yayoi Period by scholars.
Five stone moulds were discovered during a land reclamation project in Hatta, Higashi Ward, Fukuoka City. Many moulds are for the production of weapons known as ka, while others are for sword blades and pikes. These bronze weapons were produced during a period when they were gradually evolving from practical objects to religious implements used in festivals or rituals. The blade edges were dull, and they were larger than the original weapon.
13. Burial Jar-coffin
During the Yayoi Period, large earthenware containers known as jar coffins were used in the burial practices of one part of northern Kyushu. Burial in jar coffins was even popular in the kingdom of Na.
Before being placed in deep pits, they could be sealed in several ways: with wood or stone, the mouths of two could be placed facing each other, and there are other examples. The size of the jar coffin changed according to age and physique. People of higher social standing also tended to be interred in larger urns.
Some with depictions have also been discovered. One from the Yoshitake-Takagi site has been decorated with an engraving of two deer, and is the oldest illustration from the Yayoi period. Scholars believe that deer were a motif from myths relating to agriculture.
Chapter 4 "The Age of Korokan"
14. The Age of Korokan
In China and the Korean Peninsula, the fourth century was a period of continuous strife and collapsing kingdoms. In Japan, this corresponds with the Tumulus Period. Deeply influenced by the state of affairs on the mainland, Japan gradually became a nation.
The coming and going of overseas peoples and their cultures influenced and promoted changes in East Asian societies. The proximity of the Hakata Bay coast to the mainland meant that it was the forerunner of diplomacy, military affairs, and trade. In the second half of the seventh century, a national administrative system was established with the implementation of the Ritsuryō Codes. The Dazaifu, a regional government office, was created to oversee a region known as Saikaidō that included Kyushu and the surrounding islands. At this time, the Kyushu administrative facility, the Tsukushi no murotsumi, and later known as the Kōrokan, was also built to serve as the diplomatic centre.
15. Nanotsu no Miyake
In the 6th century, the Yamato military forces, came to Kyushu on their way to the Korean Peninsula. The Iwai family, an extremely powerful clan that controlled northern Kyushu, obstructed the Yamato forces and fought with them only to lose in a battle known as the Iwai Rebellion. Later, in order to strengthen their political authority, the Yamato established the miyake, a governmental property under their direct control. The miyake was located in Nanotsu on the Hakata Bay coast. At this time, there was increasing tension with the three kingdoms of Goguryeo, Silla, and Paekche on the Korean Peninsula, and Nanotsu functioned as the front line for military affairs.
One section of the miyake in Nanotsu was lined with warehouses storing goods. Traces of these buildings have been found at the Hie site in Hakata Ward and the Arita site in Sawara Ward. Traces of large-scale buildings and facilities from the first half of the 7th century were discovered at the Naka site in Hakata Ward with, as you can see here, the oldest roof tiles in Kyushu. There seems little question that Dazaifu’s origins lie in this region.
16. Grave Goods from Stone Chamber of Sukizaki Burial Mound
The Sukizaki Burial Mound was constructed in approximately 400 CE. It is a keyhole-shaped tumulus, and its overall a length is 62 metres. Located on the Imajuku Heiya Plain in Nishi Ward, Fukuoka City, the local ruling family of the period was buried in a stone chamber in the circular section of the tomb. Grave robbers never discovered the stone chamber, and a large collection of comma-shaped jewels known as magatama, tube-shaped beads, iron weapons, farming tools and more were discovered. From the funerary items contained within this chamber, it appears the first prominent figure to have been buried was a female chieftain.
The chamber contained three coffins, and there is a door located to the side, which would have been opened with each burial and then resealed. Tombs constructed in this fashion are known as ‘horizontal stone chambers’. In Japan, these stone chambers first appeared on the Genkainada Coast from Karatsu, and were then soon after incorporated into the construction of the Sukizaki Burial Mound’s horizontal stone chamber. Scholars believe, however, that these chambers originated on the Korean Peninsula. Vertical style stone chambers had been widely seen in both Japan and Korea, but this region was amongst the first to incorporate the culturally advanced horizontal stone chambers. This reflects a bilateral exchange between Kyushu and the continent that continued during the Tumulus Period.
17. Artifacts Excavated from Korokan Ruins
Construction of the Dazaifu, the government office that administrated Kyushu, and the Tsukushi no murotsumi, the diplomatic base later known as the Kōrokan, began in the late 7th century. In the 8th century, or Nara Period, this transformed into an imposing facility of buildings with tile roofs. The tiles covering the roofs of the Dazaifu office and the Tsukushi no murotsumi were referred to as Kōrokan tiles, and were modelled after the tiles of the Heijō capital. The decorative ridge-end tiles, however, were markedly different, and a design unique to the Dazaifu.
The Tsukushi no murotsumi was distinguished with what would have been an unusual facility for the time: a toilet. A hole, approximately four metres deep, was housed in a separate building with a tile roof. A large number of long narrow pieces of wood, known as chūgi, were discovered in the pit, these pieces of wood having been an ancient form of toilet paper.
During the Nara period, ambassadors from Tang China and the Silla Kingdom on the Korean Peninsula entered Japan at the Tsukushi no murotsumi, which functioned as a temporary residence for these figures. The Japanese envoys for these two kingdoms also departed from here.
18. Artifacts Excavated from Korokan Ruins
With the 9th century and the Heian period, Japan’s diplomatic centre, the Tsukushi no murotsumi, came to be known as the Kōrokan. During this period, however, diplomatic missions ceased, and in their stead, many merchants from Tang China and the Silla Kingdom travelled to Japan where they first entered the country via the Kōrokan. After receiving imperial permission, they were allowed to commence trade. The Kōrokan thus transformed from a diplomatic space to one in which foreign merchants conducted trade while residing there temporarily.
Chinese celadon porcelains produced in the kilns of Yuezhou and elsewhere were discovered in the ruins of the Kōrokan, most likely brought by merchants. Islamic pottery, Persian glassware, and other Middle Eastern products have been discovered as well. At this time, China collected items from the Middle East via the Silk Road’s sea route. These items from the Middle East discovered in the Kōrokan assuredly passed through Tang China and the Silla Kingdom before arriving in Japan.
Chapter 5 "The Age of Hakata Koushu"
19. The Age of Hakata Koushu
This section presents the flowering of foreign exchange in Hakata 700 to 1,000 years ago.
Foreign trade at the Kōrokan came to an end in the middle of the 11th century, or mid-Heian period, from which point it shifted to Hakata. This shift brought an end to ancient Hakata and opened the new historical era of medieval Hakata. Those who undertook trade were Chinese merchants residing in Hakata known as koushu. Kō, or ‘rope’, indicates the organization of a fleet of boats, while shu, which means ‘neck’ or ‘head’, means ‘leader’. This group created the first Chinatown, known then as the tōbō, in Hakata. They married Japanese and were parishioners of local shrines and temples thereby acquiring their protection. They travelled between Hakata and China transporting merchandise, but also functioned in the exchange of culture.
20. High-fired and Glazed Ware with Ink Inscriptions
With archaeological excavation in Hakata, large amounts of imported Chinese porcelain are invariably uncovered. This includes, bowls, plates, the bases and backs of which have been inscribed in ink with Chinese family names: Wang, Ding, Li, and others. These names indicated proprietorship of the trading vessel’s cargo. This practice is rarely seen in other regions and it appears to have been unique to Hakata.
In Hakata, these porcelain vessels were discarded en masse, the remains of which have been discovered, as have large containers used to store import goods, which truly attest to Hakata’s position as the gateway of trade. It was a centre that connected international trade with domestic distribution.
21. Karmic Origins of Seigan-ji Urabon
For centuries, Hakata Bay was the point of contact for negotiation with foreign countries as well as other cultures. A number of ports are found within the Bay, such as Hakata and Hakozaki, to which foreign ships would sail. One port, Imazu, is located to the West.
Approximately 800 years ago, a Buddhist priest in Imazu devoted himself to the study and research of Esoteric Buddhist writings and Buddhist sutras. Named Yōsai, he later established and promoted Rinzai Zen Buddhism in Japan, but is also widely known for having promoted tea culture.
In 1168, Yōsai travelled to Southern Song-dynasty China, and in 1173, he returned to Hakata where he remained for approximately fourteen years. From 1176 to 1178, Yōsai was at the Seigan-ji Temple in Imazu where he awaited the arrival of Buddhist sutras from China. This temple conducted a ritual known as the Urabon-e in which the twenty-eight chapters comprising the Lotus Sutra were apportioned to different individuals for copying. Yōsai extolled the merits of this practice in the Seigan-ji urabon-e ippon-gyō engi, which, written in his own hand, is now a National Treasure.
22. Directive by SHŌNI Tsunesuke
The Mongol army built an empire that stretched from Asia to Europe, and also attempted to subjugate Japan.
The Battle of Bun’ei occurred in 1274, and was followed in 1281 with the Battle of Kōan. In both instances, the Mongol army attacked Hakata. The Japanese forces faced a serious challenge in the Battle of Bun’ei, as the Mongol forces practiced group warfare rather than individual engagement, and also had new weapons that included guns.
After the Battle of Bun'ei and in preparation for the next invasion, the Kamakura bakufu made two plans. The first, the invasion of Goryeo, the point of departure on the Korean Peninsula for the Mongol army, was never realised. The second was to build a long stone wall on the Hakata Bay coast to prevent the enemy from landing.
The document displayed here, known as the Shōni Tsunesuke Directive, is a directive ordering some retainers from throughout the country to construct this wall. Other retainers were to be dispatched to Korea, and were therefore exempt from this service. They managed to construct a twenty-kilometre wall within a mere six months.
These efforts were rewarded: with the invasion in the Battle of Kōan, the Mongol forces were unable to land. An illustrated scroll of the Mongol invasion depicts a section of the wall constructed in Iki-no-matsubara by the samurai of Higo.
23. Letter by TAKATSUJI Nagahira
Displayed here is a letter of acknowledgement from Takatsuji Nagahira, a member of the Kyoto aristocracy, to Kotorii Hōgen at the Dazaifu Tenmangū Shrine. Nagahira expresses his happiness at having been able to procure an extremely fine tenmoku teabowl from China through Kotorii Hōgen’s intermediation. He also states his interest in acquiring more Chinese imports ‘having heard that Hakata is overflowing with Chinese wares.’
At the time, rare and expensive Chinese imports were popular in Kyoto. As Nagahira mentions in his letter, ‘Hakata is overflowing with Chinese wares’, and indeed, Hakata and its environs had a profusion of ‘brand items’ imported from China. At this time, Hakata flourished as a centre of international trade and a port of entry for the culture of other countries.
Chapter 6 "The Age of Hakata's Wealthy Merchants"
24. The Age of Hakata’s Wealthy Merchants
This corner introduces Hakata’s history between the fourteenth and sixteenth centuries. As seen in the earlier period, Hakata continued to flourish as a conduit between foreign counties and Japan.
After the Mongol invasions during the Kamakura period, foreign trade in Hakata had been conducted by a group of Chinese merchants known as the kōshu. This, however, gradually changed, and foreign trade came to be conducted by Japanese. The third Muromachi-period shogun, Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, for example, initiated trade with Ming-dynasty China. One of the first envoys he sent on a diplomatic mission was the Hakata merchant, Koizumi. Trade with Ming China and Korea was conducted by Okunodō, Okinohama, Tsunaba, and Kamiya, all Hakata merchant clans and all extremely capable. These wealthy merchants travelled to and fro between Ryūkyū, Korea, and Japan, with the East China Sea as their stage of activities.
25. Calligraphy by Xuegu Zongjie (Sekkoku Sōkai)
The long held desire of a Zen Buddhist priest at the Myōraku-ji Temple in Hakata was to have an example of Zen calligraphy from China. At the time, the Myōraku-ji Temple was known as the ‘Chinese envoys’ station’ and functioned as a diplomatic lodging facility. It thus filled the role of being a diplomatic branch office of the Muromachi bakufu, the military government of the time.
Xutang Zhiyu was a Chinese Zen Buddhist priest from the Southern Song Dynasty, and the author of Huqiu Shiyong a classically metred poem on Huquishan, a mountain in Suzhou, China. Thirteen postscripts were attached to this poem; however, these were detached from the original and are now scattered throughout Japan. The calligraphy displayed here is the last postscript, and had been preserved by the Minagi Kuroda family, who had formerly been senior advisors to the daimyo of the Fukuoka domain. This example has illustrated the process of Chinese imports for centuries.
Both Kōchū Sōryū, the seventh head of the Myōraku-ji Temple and Seki-in Sōyo, the eighth head, adhered to Xutang Zhiyu’s teachings. They obtained Xutang Zhiyu’s poem and attempted to bring it back to Japan, but were unable to do so due to their advanced ages. They then hoped that a Japanese monk studying in China would deliver it to the Myōraku-ji Temple. The poem nevertheless remained in China in no one place for approximately a century after which Xuegu Zongjie in Yunnan, China, arranged for it to be sent to Japan, and it finally arrived at the Myōraku-ji Temple. This is an invaluable document that illustrates cultural exchange between Japan and China.
26. Report on Eastern Sea Countries
This report, the Kaitȏ shokoku-ki, or ‘Report on the Countries of the Eastern Sea’, was written by Sin Sugju, the prime minister of the Korean Kingdom. The ‘Eastern Sea’ refers to the seas east of the Korean Peninsula, and therefore Kyushu, Honshu, Iki, Tsushima, and Ryūkyū. Information concerning each of the regions and the history of the relations between these islands and Korea has been included in this report.
At the time this report was written, Japan was in the midst of the Ōnin no ran and the Bunmei no ran, both civil wars that had divided the country in two. At this time, the Shōni clan reclaimed Chikuzen, which corresponds to the northwest region of present day Fukuoka Prefecture, from the Ōuchi clan. According to this report, at the beginning of the Warring States period, the Ōdomo controlled the seaward side of Hakata, while the Shōni ran the inland region, the combined regions having over 10,000 families. The report also notes that Hakata was, ‘a place where trade ships from Ryūkyū and Southeast Asia gathered and the occupation of the people living there was peddling. It had the largest population of people travelling between the Korean Peninsula and Japan.’
27. Map of China
In the 15th century, Portugal and Spain competed in sea travel, and by the beginning of the 16th century, they had arrived in Asia. During this Age of Discovery, the creation of world maps became very common in Europe.
This map was made in 1584, and shows East Asia with China centrally placed. To the east of the Chinese continent, it is possible to see Ryūkyū and Japan. The representation of Japan, however, only includes Kyushu, Shikoku, and Honshu. Hakata in northern Kyushu has been indicated on the map as ‘F-A-C-A-T-A’. In the 16th century, Hakata saw the construction of Catholic churches from whence missionaries propagated western religious beliefs. Hakata also became the centre of Nanban trade, or ‘trade with Spain and Portugal’, and in doing so, became an important city within Japan for the Europeans.
28. Copy of Directive by TOYOTOMI Hideyoshi
The Warring States period continued in Kyushu for many years, but in 1587, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, brought the war to an end with the subjugation of the island including the Shimazu clan of the Satsuma domain in southern Kyushu. On his triumphal return, Hideyoshi spent approximately twenty days in Hakozaki where he met with the various daimyo to whom he presented the various domains of Kyushu as part of his post-war measures. He also issued a directive expelling the Christian missionaries from Japan.
The previous day, Hideyoshi had boarded a Portuguese boat with the Christian missionaries, having just surveyed Hakata, which had fallen into ruins during the war. The missionaries were shocked at the sudden directive. During the Warring States period, when Hakata was under the control of the Christian Ōdomo clan, churches and monasteries had been constructed in the city with resident priests and monks who were actively promoting Catholicism.
After 1613, anti-Christian directives were increasingly strict, this Hakozaki example being the first.
Chapter 7 "The Age of the Fukuoka Clan"
29. The Age of the Fukuoka Clan
The beginning of the Edo period in 1603 marks the beginning of Fukuoka as a city.
Kuroda Nagamasa was responsible for this change. In the Battle of Sekigahara of 1600, he distinguished himself in having been able to lead Tokugawa Ieyasu’s Eastern Armies to victory, and was accordingly awarded most of the Chikuzen domain.
This is the establishment of the Fukuoka domain with the Kuroda clan as daimyō. From the 17th century through the mid-19th century, they controlled the area that now comprises the northwest of Fukuoka Prefecture.
Nagamasa constructed Fukuoka Castle and the surrounding castle town, Fukuoka. Hakata had been a commercial city from the medieval period, and these two cities developed into the economic and industrial centres of the Fukuoka domain.
At this time, the bakufu’s policy restricted travel to and trade with foreign countries. Fukuoka was responsible for the security of Nagasaki, a port city outside the domain. As the centre of trade with China and the Netherlands, Nagasaki provided a wide variety of people in Fukuoka with the opportunity to encounter foreign culture and learning.
30. Map of Fukuoka Castle Town
Displayed here is a map of Fukuoka Castle, the residence of the Kuroda clan, who had been the daimyo of the Fukuoka domain, as well as the castle town of Fukuoka. The map was made in 1646 for submission to the Edo bakufu. The Fukuoka domain kept the map here as a reserve copy.
Please examine the bottom part of the map. The castle is built on the edge of a range of gentle mountains connected from north to south. A moat surrounds the castle. To the west, an inlet was used in the construction of a large moat, and to the east, there are two further moats.
The Nakagawa River flows from the bottom right towards the ocean, and served as a border between the two castle towns of Hakata, a commercial area from the medieval period to the east, and Fukuoka, which was created during the construction of the castle and lies to the west. Many of the streets depicted in the map still exist today, these vestiges allowing for a glimpse of what an Edo-period town may have been.
31. Suit of Armour Formerly Belonging to the Kuroda Clan
Displayed here is one of several suits of armour that once belonged to the Kuroda clan. This display is periodically changed.
Kuroda Nagamasa was the son of Kuroda Josui, the founder of the Kuroda clan. Their armour was referred to as tōsei gusoku, tōsei meaning ‘contemporary’, and gusoku ‘armour’. This in turn means that their armour reflected the latest fashions of the late 16th century or Azuchi-Momoyama period. Please look at the guide screen as well.
All of the helmets are unique in their design. Josui was fond of a red helmet resembling an upside-down bowl, while Nagamasa preferred two unusual helmets, one that was adorned with distinctive large horns, and the second, large and square shaped. These unusual helmets became symbols of the Kuroda clan in battle, and their descendants who assumed the position of domain head or daimyō all created similar helmets to represent their following in the successes of their ancestors.
From the mid-Edo period, some members of the Kuroda clan preferred traditional helmets from the Muromachi period. The family crest of three blossoming wisteria racemes in a twisted pattern was emblazoned on these helmets. Compared to those favoured by Josui and his son, Nagamasa, they were heavier, but what opportunities there would have been to wear them were limited.
32. Portrait of KURODA Josui / Nagamasa
Kuroda Josui and his son, Nagamasa were instrumental when working under Toyotomi Hideyoshi and Tokugawa Ieyasu, the latter two figures having been military men who attempted to unify the country during the second half of the 16th century or Azuchi-Momoyama period. Displayed here are portraits of Josui and Nagamasa.
The figure to your right in a relaxed pose with his elbow on a rest is Kuroda Josui. This portrait was executed in 1607, three years after his death. While well known as Hideyoshi’s staff officer, by the time the Kuroda family entered Chikuzen, or present-day Fukuoka Prefecture, he had already retired.
At this time, his son, Nagamasa, depicted clad in armour astride a horse in the portrait to the left, had already assumed his position as head of the family. Nagamasa participated in the battle of Sekigahara of 1600, and was rewarded with nearly the entire domain of Chikuzen. The following year, Nagamasa and his father began construction of the new castle and the town, which they called Fukuoka, the origin of this name being another Fukuoka located in Osafune-chō, Setouchi City, Okayama Prefecture, a locale with which the Kuroda family had had deep associations.
33. Portrait of KAIBARA Ekiken
In the 19th century, a German doctor by the name of Siebold visited Japan where he heard of Kaibara Ekiken, whom he came to refer to as the 'Aristotle of the East'. Ekiken, was born to a Fukuoka-domain military family in 1630.
In his youth, Ekiken studied neo-Confucianism in Kyoto, after which he became an official scholar of the domain. In this portrait, he appears to be working at his writing. Ekiken remained a prolific author until his death at the age of eighty-five. Representative works include a history of the Kuroda clan and the Chikuzen no kuni zoku-fudoki, a geography of Fukuoka.
Ekiken also studied the medicinal herbs and animals used in Chinese medicines, and edited the first volume of this research to be produced in Japan, entitled Yamato honzō. In the publishing boom of this period, he also produced works that provided readily understood explanations of the basic tenets of Confucianism, as well as guides to the famous sites of Western Japan. Late in life, he produced a medical work, the Yōjōkun, which was based on his own system of health maintenance. Even today, this work is widely read.
34. Flag of Hakata-Nengyōji, the top of Hakata Autonomy in Edo Period
Displayed here is a flag from the Edo period that once belonged to the Okumura clan, a Hakata merchant family. The flag symbolizes their service to and social position in the community.
The two castle towns of Fukuoka and Hakata were populated with people engaged in commerce, industry, distribution, and transportation. In Fukuoka, there were approximately thirty city districts, and in Hakata one hundred. Each district had a person who participated in the management of the communities. They were called 'toshiyori',which meant the group of elders.
The Okumura belonged to a class of administrators known as nengyōji, who were of higher social standing than the elders. The nengyōji oversaw the management of several districts, and could have been considered district representatives as their role was to act as go-betweens with the official government town magistrates.
At the beginning of the Edo period, many of the nengyōji belonged to long-established important mercantile families in Fukuoka or Hakata. From the mid-Edo period onwards, however, many nengyōji were emergent wholesale merchants who had appeared with developments in the economy and distribution. Weaving and other manufacturing industries as well as processing industries developed allowing for the participation of a wide variety of craftsmen.
35. Honzō-sei-gafu, Books of Illustrated Plants
In the second half of the Edo period, an herbal pharmacist by the name of Utsumi Rankei lived in the town of Gofuku where he prepared and sold medicines. Rankei grew thousands of medicinal herbs for both medicinal use and for appreciation in an area close to his residence. To correctly identify the various plants, he made illustrations of the various herbs raised here, which he then sent to Ono Ranzan, an herbalist famed throughout the country, asking for his assistance in doing so.
The 10th Fukuoka daimyo, Kuroda Narikiyo, was devoted to herbalism, and became aware of Rankei’s illustrations. Turning to his own research, Narikiyo contributed to the identification of the illustrated plants with corrections of his own.
The book displayed here, the Honzō-sei-gafu, represents scholastic exchange between a domain lord, a scholar, and a townsman.
Chapter 8 "Early Modern Fukuoka"
36. Early Modern Fukuoka
In 1871, the pre-modern system of domains was abolished and replaced with the present-day organisation of prefectures, giving birth to contemporary Fukuoka Prefecture. In April 1889, municipal organisation was enacted, and the two towns of Fukuoka and Hakata were merged to create the city of Fukuoka.
The Kyushu Okinawa Prefectural Alliance Exhibition, an event modelled after the western World Exhibitions, was held twice, and another exhibition was held at the beginning of the Shōwa period. Each time, the streets and traffic network were outfitted, which further developed the city.
With the merging of the outlying towns and villages from the 1910s, both the land area and population continued to increase in size, and by the late 1920s or beginning of the Shōwa period, Fukuoka City had the largest population in Kyushu.
In June 1945, however, with the Great Fukuoka Air Raid, the city centre was severely damaged. After the conclusion of World War II, however, events such as the Fukkōsai, or ‘Restoration Festival’, and the National Sports Festival contributed to the vigour of the revitalization movement.
37. Sound of Cannon
This sound was once heard every day at noon.
In Japanese, the sound of this cannon used to indicate the noon hour is heard as don, and the citizens of Fukuoka City have come to be referred affectionately to as don.
In July 1886, the government determined that in two years from 1st January, Japan time would be standardized on the 135 degree east longitude according to the Greenwich Observatory in the United Kingdom. Following the law, Fukuoka City constructed a company that announced the time by cannon. First used in July 1887, shortly thereafter, the city of Fukuoka assumed direct management of the noon cannon.
At first, the cannon was installed at the Suzaki Fort; however, because of complaints about the noise, it was moved to the top of a hill in Nishi Park. It was moved once again to a quay in the port. The cannon was replaced twice, and the practice of sounding the noon hour continued until 1931.
38. The 5th Kyushu Okinawa Prefectural Alliance Exhibition
The Kyushu Okinawa Prefectural Alliance Exhibition had submissions from Okinawa and the seven prefectures of Kyushu. Each prefecture would take turns sponsoring the exhibition, and in 1887, the 5th exhibition was held in Fukuoka. This represents the exhibition hall at the time, which was located in Higashi Nakasu, Fukuoka City. At the end of the Edo period, a smelting works and other modern scientific facilities were located here.
The two-level white-walled Western building in the middle of the picture was the exhibition centre. The brick building next to it was the Fukuoka Club, a social meeting place for the personages of Fukuoka Prefecture. The many small people in the illustration convey a sense of prosperity. The white building in the lower left was the Fukuoka Prefectural Medical School Hospital, which later became the Kyushu University School of Medicine.
With the conclusion of the exhibition, the exhibition centre was transformed into the Fukuoka City Diet, which was in use until 1891. The Fukuoka Club became the Hakata Rice Association.
Displayed here is an Arrow, which is the oldest working example of a domestically produced automobile. In 2009, it was designated a Mechanical Engineering Heritage by the Japan Society of Mechanical Engineers.
Yano Kōichi, a graduate of the Fukuoka Technical School, designed and built this automobile. Originally, he was interested in aeroplanes, but when asked to repair the engine of the industrialist Murakami Yoshitarō’s car, his interest shifted to the building of automobiles.
The name ‘Arrow’ comes from the first character of his family name, ‘ya’, which means ‘arrow’ in Japanese. As many parts as possible were made by hand, and only a few were made overseas.
In 1915, the first test run ended in failure, the problem having been the carburettor. Yano very quickly obtained and installed an English-made carburettor, which led to the creation of the first Arrow in August of the following year. Yano was then twenty-four.
Even though this automobile was built over one hundred years ago, the Arrow engine still works perfectly.
40. Window Frame from an Aircraft Hangar of the Gannosu Airport
This large metal object is a window frame from an aircraft hangar that had been in Wajiro Village in Kasuya County, which corresponds to contemporary Nata in Higashi Ward, Fukuoka City.
In 1936, the Fukuoka First Airport was opened and included a facility for hydroplanes. One of the few international airports in Japan, it was also commonly referred to as the Gannosu Airport, Gannosu being the name of the area in which the airport was located.
At the time, aeroplanes were incapable of flying lengthy distances, and flights from Tokyo and Osaka to the Korean Peninsula or the Chinese mainland invariably refuelled at the Gannosu Airport. During World War Two, the airport was also used for military purposes, and during the post-war period, the American forces temporarily confiscated it.
As the hangar was unused, it was deteriorating. In 2002, it was razed and a small memorial commemorating the airport’s history erected in its place.
41. Round Rice Cake Offered to the Gods at New Year's, Made from Pottery
Displayed here is a New Years’ decoration made from pottery during the Second World War. These decorations offered to the gods and buddhas during the New Years’ season are cakes normally made from sticky rice; however, during the war period, certain resources, such as foods, were prioritised for the military. For example, the metals necessary for the fabrication of weapons—steel, copper, and more—were obtained by requisitioning household objects such as pots, bronze statues from parks, and even temple bells.
Those citizens on the homefront who did not directly participate in warfare received rations of food and clothing, but were unable to use valuable foodstuffs as decoration, and therefore made do with objects such as the ceramic rice cake seen here.
During the war, to conserve goods and resources, the populace would use different materials in making substitutes. Food was the same, and potatoes or beans were used to make foods that normally would have been made from rice.
42. The 3rd National Sports Festival
Japan was devastated in the war, and for the dispirited populace, sporting events were initiated to instil a sense of hope and purpose, the first of these having been the 1946 National Sports Festival. Both Fukuoka Prefecture and Fukuoka City held a variety of promotional activities to attract people, and as a result, in 1948, the third National Sports Festival was held in Fukuoka City. This is a poster from the festival.
A sports stadium, a soccer field, and rugby grounds were constructed on the site of Fukuoka Castle, these facilities collectively named the Fukuoka Heiwadai Sportsgrounds.
Numerous sporting events, and the opening and closing ceremonies were held there. The soccer field was remade into the Heiwadai Baseball Stadium and used by the citizens until its closing in 1997.
Chapter 9 "Contemporary Fukuoka"
43. Contemporary Fukuoka
The people of Fukuoka City experienced an immense change in their lives after World War Two.
The long period of rapid economic growth from the mid-1950s was accompanied by a population growth, and a shortage of housing. The Japan Housing Corporation built housing with two bedrooms a kitchen-cum-dining room fitted with a stainless steel sink, and a water flush toilet all functionally positioned. The first public housing in Kyushu was the Akebono Danchi built in Fukuoka City.
Televisions were placed in public spots, notably the Shinten-chō shopping district in Tenjin, which still serves the populace today. People would stand watching broadcasts of baseball games. This was at the time when the Nishitetsu Lions, a professional baseball team based at the Heiwadai Baseball Stadium, won the Japan Series three times in a row.
In 1989, the Asia-Pacific Exposition, celebrating the centenary of municipal ordinance, was opened. The Momochi Coast was reclaimed for this event, becoming the Seaside Momochi District and the site of the present Fukuoka City Museum.
44. Uniforms for Nishitetsu Lions
Before World War Two, there was a professional baseball team, the Nishitetsu-gun, owned by Nishi-Nihon Railroad based in Fukuoka; however, it was dissolved in 1943.
In 1950, after World War Two, two teams, the Nishitetsu Clippers and the Nishi-nihon Pirates were established in Fukuoka, but they merged the following year to become the Nishitetsu Lions.
The star players of the Lions, then under the direction of Mihara Osamu, were Nakanishi Futoshi and Toyoda Yasumitsu. Inao Kazuhisa, known as the ‘Iron Armed Pitcher’, became the team’s symbol and was incorporated into the catchphrase, ‘kamisama, hotokesama, Inao-sama’, which more or less translates as, ‘There are the gods, there is the Buddha, and there is Inao!’ The team won the Japan Series three years in a row from 1956 to 1958. The uniforms displayed here are replications of those used at the time.
At this time, Fukuoka had largely recovered from the war, even though it was impossible to fully escape the poverty of this period. The Nishitetsu Lions provided the populace with a sense of wellbeing.
45. The Illustration of Fukuoka City's Future, Made with Tiles
The Fukuoka Nichi-nichi Newspaper, the forerunner of the Nishi-nihon News, made the screen here in 1938, the year Fukuoka celebrated its 50th anniversary as a city. At this time, a ceremony was held to celebrate this event.
The screen was presented to the city after the ceremony. The back depicts Toyotomi Hideyoshi as he worked on the urban improvement of the city, this part of the screen having been executed by Kojima Yoichi, a famous Hakata-doll-maker.
The front of the screen represents the city’s future as imagined in the dreams of the people at the time. Skyscrapers line the streets as automobiles travel to and fro on wide avenues. The buildings reflect a wide variety of architectural styles, but one characteristic is that many have an atrium courtyard.
Above the town, the wide port is filled with large boats, and a runway for planes has also been depicted. The screen reflects the hopes of a positive future for the city with Hakata Harbour at its centre.
Chapter 10 "Life in Fukuhaku (Fukuoka and Hakata)"
46. Life in Fukuoka and Hakata
Each region in Japan is characterised with a distinct culture and lifestyle. Fukuoka and Hakata are no exception to this.
This corner introduces the unique manners and customs of the people living in Fukuoka as well as what they experience at each juncture during their lives.
This is the tale of a family living in Fukuoka. The protagonist of this story is a thirteen-year old boy who lives with his parents, his grandparents, and his great grandparents.
The four themes of this corner are adulthood, marriage and children, old age, and death, each of which is represented by one generation of the family depicted here.
So, how do they live? Let us pursue an understanding of what it means to live in Fukuoka.
47. Yamakasa Wooden Bar and Comparing Heights
When thinking of Fukuoka and summer, one thing that comes to mind is Hakata Gion Yamakasa, Hakata’s representative summer festival held every year from the 1st through the 15th of July. The festival’s highlight is the Oiyama. This display is a yamakasa, a float decorated with a large doll that men carry on their shoulders as they run through different sections of the city during the festival. In the local language of Hakata, this is known as yamakasa o kaku, and the float poles that sit on the shoulders of the men are thus known as kakibō, or ‘shouldering poles’.
The shouting you just heard is from the festival. Should you wonder what this is about, an adolescent boy is attempting to place his shoulders under the pole, and has his brows knit with the effort of standing on his toes. In the world of yamakasa, you can only participate once you are tall enough, and your shoulders actually reach the poles. The children of Hakata see being able to join the group of men carrying the float as a sign of adulthood, and therefore something to which all aspire. In the local language, to say, ‘your shoulders reach the carrying poles’ is a standard measurement that means you have reached adulthood.
48. A Surprise Gift of a Yellowtail
One New Years, the parents of a young woman who had married into a family from Fukuoka and moved there, suddenly received a large package from their new son-in-law. Wondering what it could be, they opened the package, and to their great surprise, they discovered a large yellowtail fish contained within.
Marriage can be an opportunity to discover a new sense of what constitutes ‘common sense’: for example, as we see here, sending a yellowtail to the parents of the new bride after the first year of marriage. In Fukuoka, this custom is ‘common sense’, but a source of surprise in other parts of the country.
In Fukuoka, tradition holds that with the newlyweds’ first New Years, the bride's parents are presented with a yellowtail, which in Japanese is yomego buri. Buri in Japanese means yellowtail, but is also a homonym with 'behavior' or 'conduct', and thus the presentation of the yellowtail signifies both that the new wife is excelling in her role and the new husband's gratitude.
49. Hakata Matsubayashi
Elderly couples participating in the Hakata dontaku, one of Hakata’s representative festivals, appear animated when they encounter acquaintances in town and stop to chat.
These two belong to Japan’s oldest senior club, the Hakata Takasago-ren, which was established in 1893. They participate in the Hakata dontaku festival with their contemporaries in performances of songs and dance that have long been transmitted in Hakata. They dress in kimono or happi jackets, and perform the shamisen, a three-stringed lute, as they walk to further enliven the festival atmosphere.
Another ceremony known as the enmahiki celebrates those who have reached the age of forty, which in pre-modern Japan was seen as the onset of old age. There are some districts in which the enmahiki celebrates those who have reached the age of sixty, which was once seen as a sign of long life. The participants tow a wheeled platform carrying a placard, or ema, that has been carved with their names, and resembles those used in sumō matches, one such ema is displayed to the back right.
Ordered from oldest to youngest, they proceed with great fanfare through different parts of town to a shrine where the placard is then presented as an offering.
The older generation is responsible for the maintenance of the local traditions, and plays an important role in transmitting them to the next generation.
50. Memorial Service with Yamakasa Float
Represented here is one day from the Hakata Gion yamakasa, Fukuoka’s representative summer festival. Altars decorated with portraits of the deceased and happi, a type of jacket, are placed before the houses of those who have died that year. Yamakasa approach these houses quietly. They solemnly sing Hakata iwai uta, this serving both as an expression of gratitude towards those who have rendered service to the festival that have died and as a prayer for their happiness in the next world. This ceremony is called a tsuizenyama. It is at this time that the family is first aware of the public’s respect and trust with which the deceased was held.
In the Hakata language, to be fully engrossed with something is noboseru, and those people completely engaged in carrying the floats are called yamanobose. For those born in Hakata, the yamanobose who love this festival believe there could be no greater honour than to have a tsuizenyama. It is indeed a symbol of true happiness.
51. Hakata Gion Yamakasa Festival
This is a festival float known as kaki-yamakasa from the Hakata Gion yamakasa, a distinctive Hakata summer festival. It is approximately 4.5 metres tall and weighs about one ton. Men shoulder this float and run through different parts of the city. The float decorations are all distinctive and elaborate. Hakata doll-makers create large dolls for these floats, which are surrounded by decorations of waves or rocks made from paper or bamboo. The float here has been decorated with an image of Kuroda Kanbē, the ancestor of the Fukuoka domain.
The climax of the Hakata Gion yamakasa is the oiyama, which occurs on 15 th July. At 4:59 in the morning, a drum sounds, and at five-minute intervals, seven floats are run into the grounds of the Kushida Shrine. Once the floats have made their ritual entrance to the shrine, they run after the float ahead of them to the finish point five kilometres away.
In the past, there were floats over ten metres in height that were run through the streets, but with the Meiji period and modernisation, electric lines for telephones and street cars have made it impossible to have floats this tall to pass through the streets. There are now two types of floats, one of which, the kazariyama is correctly speaking not a float, but a fixed object with gorgeous decorations. The second type of float, or kakiyama, however, are still run through the city, and a source of great excitement.
52. Yamakasa Float running about in Hakata
The screen displayed here depicts the Hakata Gion Yamakasa festival during the Edo period, and is the oldest surviving representation of this festival. Portrayed here is the overflowing excitement surrounding the festival from its preparation to the actual day the floats were run through the town in approximately 1686.
On the right is an illustration of people wielding wooden mallets and shouldering planks as they build the skeletal structure of a float known as suyama.
In the centre, men are shown parading through a large street in Hakata. The float is lavishly decorated with dolls and flags, and considerably taller than today’s floats. Progressing to the left, the floats are depicted as offerings to the Kushida Shrine, in which the god Gion is enshrined.
In Japanese, the standard expression to describe the carrying of festival floats is mikoshi o katsugu. In Hakata, however, yamakasa o kaku is used instead. Only those people who live in a city ward belonging to one of seven groups known as nagare are allowed to carry these floats. There are approximately one hundred wards in Hakata. Each year, one ward from each group will be designated as responsible for the construction of that year’s float. Normally, the funds for these floats are raised from the wards, and there is a sense of competitiveness between the wards in seeing which can create the most distinctive, luxurious, and resplendent float.