10/14/2015

Rokugo Watashi

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. Famous Places and Powerspots of Edo 江戸の名所 .
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Rokugoo, Rokugō, Rokugo no watashi 六郷の渡し Rokugo river crossing  
六郷渡舟 Rokugo no watashibune - ferry boat from Rokugo

Rokugō 六郷 lit. "six villages"




川崎 六郷渡舟 Kawasaki Rokugo watashibune
Utagawa Hiroshige 歌川広重 東海道五拾三次

. The Kawasaki district 川崎  .

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- quote
Rokugo no watashi - The Rokugo Ferry Crossing
The 玉川 / 多摩川 (Tamagawa) Tama river forms the southwestern geographical boundary of Musashi -- the prefecture where Edo is located. It is not a particularly large river, flowing down into Edo Bay from the mountains just to the west of the city. But here, near the coast, where the Tokaido crosses the river, it is far too wide and deep to cross on foot or on horseback. All of the people and goods passing up and down the great highway have to cross the river by ferry boat. Just ahead of us is the ferry landing at Rokugo-no-Watashi. As usual, there are dozens of ferry boats out on the river, carrying travelers and goods back and forth on their way to and from Edo.

The Tokaido is probably the busiest highway in the world. It is certainly a more important thouroughfare than any of the roads in Europe during the 18th and 19th centuries. This is confirmed by reports from Europeans who have visited Japan. For example, here is a comment from the Dutchman Engelbert Kaempfer, who traveled along the Tokaido on his way to Edo, during an official trade visit in 1691:

"(In addition to) the great barons passing to and from Yedo, and escorted by trains of hundreds or even thousands of men . . . . the roads are always thronged by ordinary citizens on business or on pilgrimage at certain seasons to one of their numerous holy sites. . . It is scarce credible that even here (in the countryside), it is on most days more crowded than a public street in any of the most populous towns of Europe."

The Tokaido is one of three main roads that leads from Edo (the military and political capital of the country) to Kyoto (the religious and cultural center, where the Emperor lives). The other two highways -- the Kiso Kaido and the Nakasendo -- lead through the mountains, and are not as suitable for heavy traffic. Most of the traffic on the Kiso Kaido and the Nakasendo is by foot, though riders on horseback can manage to cover all but a few of the steepest mountain passes. By contrast, the traffic on the Tokaido is very heavy, with many riders on horseback, large groups of soldiers marching in columns, small groups of pilgrims on foot, and groups of wealthy samurai or merchants being carried in carriages.

Although there are not many steep mountain ranges to cross, one major barrier does interfere with traffic on the Tokaido -- the many broad rivers that flow down from the mountains and into the Pacific Ocean. Japan is a very mountainous country, and although the Tokaido runs along a flat plain near the coast, there are many rivers running down from the hills that need to be crossed. Since the rivers have their source in the steep mountain valleys, they are subject to frequent floods, especially during the rainy season (from early May to late June). Some of these rivers are shallow enough to cross on foot. At such river crossings, there are usually large settlements of porters, whose job is to transport people and goods from shore to shore. The people and their belongings are loaded onto platforms, and groups ranging from four to several dozen men carry the loads across to the opposite shore. The fare charged for transport across the river is fairly cheap -- just one or two small copper coins.
However, the porters get a great deal of business, because there are so many people and goods that need to be carried across the rivers. Although the job of a river porter can be backbreaking and exhausing work, the pay is pretty good, and the porters usually need to form local kumi-ai (unions) to prevent competition.


歌川国芳 Utagawa Kuniyoshi

While many of the rivers along the Tokaido can be forded on foot, a few, such as the Tama river, are too deep. Where the rivers are too deep or too swift to be crossed on foot, there are usually ferry boats to handle the traffic. Rokugo-no-Watashi is one of the busiest of these crossings, and the ferry boats do a brisk business carrying travelers and goods to and from the southern suburbs of Edo. There is a constant stream of travelers across the river, and the area has become a bustling center of activity. Small clusters of shops have sprung up on both river banks to serve the people waiting to cross. In addition to the large shops and inns along the road, food-sellers pass through the crowd or set up small stalls near the river, trying to sell refreshments and drinks.

On each shore is a boat landing, surrounded by a cluster of huts where the ferry workers and their families live. Most of the ferrymen are big, brawny men. Their arms and back muscles are large and tightly knotted from years of work carrying passengers to and fro across the river. They grasp the rudders in both hands and sweep them from side to side with great, powerful strokes. The ferrymen are organized into a kumi-ai. These business associations are very similar to the "Guilds" of medieval Europe. Members of the kumi-ai cooperate to maintain stable prices, preserve the market and prevent newcomers from entering the business. The association is also responsible for collecting a fixed portion of the tolls paid by passengers, which is paid as taxes to the Shogun. Similar types of business associations exist in nearly all industries, even among farmers who specialize in a certain type of produce.

Out on the river, the boat traffic is lively and continuous. There are many different types of boats in all shapes and sizes. The smaller boats which carry passengers from shore to shore are called watashi-bune -- these flat-bottomed boats are propelled by an oarsman in the stern using a broad rudder, or a long pole made of bamboo (depending on how deep the river is). These boats usually carry about a dozen people, along with their belongings.


歌川広重 Utagawa Hiroshige

There are also much larger boats that carry goods and livestock. These are known as 高瀬舟 takase-bune. Although they are quite a bit larger than the watashi-bune, they have a very shallow draft, which allows them to carry their cargo far up-river. The takase-bune also have sails, which can be used whenever the river is broad enough and the wind strong enough to make oars unnecessary. These ships can not only transport cargo from shore to shore; they can also carry the goods downriver into Edo Bay and along the coast to other ports.

Up ahead crowd of people of all ages and occupations are waiting in line for their turn to cross. There are samurai and monks, artisans and nobles, geisha and housewives, farmers and beggars. All of them except the official messengers of the shogun have to pay the same fare to ride across the river. Fortunately, the fares are not very expensive. In fact, the cost for all of the river crossings between Edo and Kyoto is only about as much money as an adult worker makes in a month. The low cost is one reason why many people, even from the lower classes, usually take a long trip to one of the important pilgrimage sites at last once or twice in their lives.

The ferry boat pilot takes a few copper coins as fare, then pushes off, and the boat moves swiftly towards the opposite shore. The river is deep and sluggish here, near the coast. In fact, at high tide the water barely moves at all. We are getting close to shore now. The opposite river bank is low and grassy, lined by willows and other large trees.There is an even bigger crowd of people waiting on this shore than there was back on the opposite shore. The town here is quite a bit larger, and the boat landing is busy and bustling with activity,
because Edo -- the largest city in the world -- is only a few hours journey away!
- source : Edomatsu


. Tokaido 53 Stations 東海道五十三次 - Introduction .

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source : rokugo monogatari photo book





- reference : edo rokugo no watashi -

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Rokugoobashi 六郷橋 Rokugobashi bridge
crossing the river Tamagawa 多摩川


CLICK for photos of the modern bridge !

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- quote -
The Rokugō clan 六郷氏 Rokugō shi
was a Japanese samurai clan that claimed descent from the Fujiwara clan and was based at Senboku County Dewa Province in the late Sengoku period. It should not be confused with a samurai clan of the same name which appears in early Muromachi period records from Musashi Province.



六郷政乗 Rokugō Masanori (1567-1634) was rewarded by Tokugawa Ieyasu for siding with the eastern armies in the Battle of Sekigahara against his nominal overlords, the Onodera clan, by an increase in his holdings from 4,500 koku to 10,000 koku and the status of daimyō of Hitachi-Fuchū Domain. He served the Tokugawa shogunate during the 1614 Siege of Osaka, and after the destruction of the Mogami clan, was transferred to Honjō Domain with an increase in revenues to 20,000 koku which were all consolidated in the form of 103 villages in Yuki County where his descendants ruled for 11 generations to the Meiji restoration.
During the Boshin War of 1868-69,
the Rokugō were signatories to the pact that formed the Ōuetsu Reppan Dōmei, but were outgunned by the imperial forces subduing the alliance, and their home base, Honjō Castle was destroyed during that conflict. As with all other daimyō families, the Rokugō clan was relieved of its title in 1871 by the new Meiji government.
The final daimyō of Honjō Domain, 六郷政鑑 Rokugō Masakane, was subsequently granted the family peerage title of "shishaku" (viscount).
- - - More in the WIKIPEDIA !

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. Japanese Legends - 伝説 民話 昔話 – ABC-List .

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熊本県 Kumamoto 六郷村 Rokugomura Village

Kappa 河童
Once upon a time
the Shinto priest had a dream about the Kappa who lived at the 龍ヶ淵 Dragon Riverside. The Kappa asked him to help get rid of a bakemono 化物 monster that kept him from using the entry to his home. The Shinto priest dived into the water and found an iron harrow in front of the entry hole at the bottom of the river. He took it away and the Kappa, to show his gratitude, protected the village children from drowning, when they wore a special amulet prepared by the priest.

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宮城県 Miyagi 仙台市 Sendai town 太白区

In Sendai, there is a district called Rokugo:



Rokugooseki 六郷堰 Rokugo weir
Around the year 1665 the head priest of a Zen temple had a dream:
"I felt I was the rooster of a family in my parish. There was also an old black cat in this family, which had wanted to poison the family members. So I, the rooster, called out every night to warn them. But the head of the family thought this noisy rooster was a bad omen, killed me and threw the body in the river. The body was caught in the piles of the Rokugo weir. Please tell this story to the family."
When the priest went to the Rokugo weir he found the bones of a dead rooster. So he took them and hurried to the home of the family in question. He saw a black cat jump over the large soup pot and spit some poison into it. The priest followed the cat and saw it running to a bamboo grove, where it rubbed its back on some poisonous mushrooms and weeds. The poisonous soup was soon discarded.
The head of the family realized his mistake, had a stone memorial built for the rooster and prayed to it in gratitude.

Rokugo, Wakabayashi Ward, Sendai, Miyagi
Part of the 七郷堀 Shichigobori moat and weir system to drain the inner city, along the river 広瀬側 Hirosegawa
Wakabayashi ward:
The Rokugo and Shichigo areas, located in the southeastern part of the ward, are largely used for farming and agriculture. The shoreline area is a beautiful, natural landscape with black pine trees and untouched sandy beaches.



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山梨県 Yamanashi 六郷町 Rokugomachi Town
- 西八代郡六郷町 鴨狩津向 Kamogaritsumukai village

竜宮皿 Plates from the Dragon Palace
Below the Main Hall of the temple 高前寺 Kozen-Ji there is a special hole, ubaana ウボ穴 / ウバアナ. People say it is a direct access to the 竜宮 Ryugu Dragon Palace. Villagers come here to borrow pots and plates for large meetings. They have to bring them back well cleaned and washed the next morning.
If they are not clean or some are missing, they will never get anything again from the Dragon Palace.

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富士川にもろこしの渡しというのがあった。昔、1人の旅ざむらいが急ぎで頼むと飛び込んできて、対岸へ渡った。その侍は自分が渡船したことを口外しないように口留めしたが、結局その渡し守を切り捨てる。その渡し守新蔵爺さんの以外は村人が鄭重に葬ったが、その後、この渡しでは思わぬ事故が繰り返された。それは新蔵爺さんの亡霊が浮かばれないとうことで、村人は、それを慰めるために、毎年新蔵天神として祀っている。この塚は、富士川河岸の小山にある。
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woman with white hair
高前寺の梵鐘は一名横取りの梵鐘といい、日蓮宗に信仰のある富豪が奉納したものであるが、完成した後富士川の鰍沢から身延山を目指しての下りの船で天神ヶ滝の難所を過ぎて鴨狩に近付いたときに奇石に座礁した。この巌に竜波穴と称する謎の巌谷があり、難破の彼方に白髪の女人が現れて申すには、梵鐘は近くの寺に納めて、身延山奉納は改めてみてはどうかという意味だった。それにより、高前寺に納めたため、横取りの梵鐘という。
or
承応の頃、鴨狩寺、高前寺の亀外和尚の夜の説教に多くの人が集まった。すると、ご本尊の脇に白髪の老女が現れ、読経が終わると、自分は今畜生道へ髄在して大蛇となり、昼夜三熱に苦しんでいる、今宵は観世音のお告げにより、師が道徳無辺なのを知った。どうか、自分の苦悩を救ってくれ、それがかなえば、永く当山で火難を除き、世の衆生の産難を遁れさせようといって消えた。それに因んで子安観音を祀ったという。

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- reference : Nichibun Yokai Database -
六郷 08 to explore

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. Japanese Architecture - Interior Design - The Japanese Home .

. Famous Places and Powerspots of Edo 江戸の名所 .

. Doing Business in Edo - 商売 - Introduction .

. shokunin 職人 craftsman, craftsmen, artisan, Handwerker .

. senryu, senryū 川柳 Senryu poems in Edo .

. densetsu 伝説 Japanese Legends - Introduction .


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1 comment:

Gabi Greve said...

Legends about
niwatori 鶏と伝説 Legends about the rooster, cock, chicken
tori 酉 rooster (chicken, cock)
kake かけ(鶏) rooster, niwatori 鶏 chicken

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https://heianperiodjapan.blogspot.jp/2017/09/niwatori-rooster-cook-chicken-legends.html
.