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Wakamatsu Castle also known as Tsuruga Castle was a fierce battlefield of the Boshin War.

This castle originated from a small castle built in Aizu Wakamatsu, Fukushima Prefecture, by the Ashina clan in 1384. From then on, the castle was taken over by the Date and Gamo clans, and the development of the castle town was promoted by them. The Gamo clan rebuilt this castle to almost the same size as it is now and named it Wakamatsu Castle in 1593. After subsequent twists and turns, Hoshina Masayuki, a younger brother of the third shogun Tokugawa Iemitsu, became the castle owner and this castle was the residence of his clan for about 230 years till 1868, when Japan's modernization started. During the years of the Meiji Restoration, a series of battles between the new government army and the former Tokugawa shogunate army took place here and there in Japan. This is called the Boshin War, Japan's largest civil war. Particularly in the Tohoku Region, the battles were fierce as many feudal lords stood for Tokugawa side. The fiercest battle of them is what is called the Aizu War. All the samurais of the Aizu domain fought against the new government army, however this castle, the headquarter of the Aizu domain, was repeatedly fired by their opponents and they finally surrendered. At this time, 20 of 343 boy warriors, known as Byakkotai (White Tiger Corps), who had lost a battle outside the castle, reached nearby Iimoriyama Hill on the way running back to the castle. However, they only saw the castle being heavily bombarded. Out of desperation, they decided to prepare themselves for committing seppuku at the top of this hill. This tragedy of these boys is still talked about among Japanese people.

Licensed tour guide, travel consultant,

Masahisa Takaki.

全国通訳案内士 高木聖久。


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