marky star

Posts Tagged ‘edogawa’

The Rivers of Edo-Tokyo

In Japanese History, Tokyo Rivers on May 25, 2014 at 3:39 pm

江戸東京の大河川
Edo-Tōkyō no Taikasen (Rivers of Edo-Tōkyō)

Paleolithic inlets and outlets during the Jomon Period. This is essentially Edo and its suburbs.  Understanding the topography of Tokyo is critical to understanding the history of Edo and her earlier, less famous history.

Paleolithic inlets and outlets during the Jomon Period.
This is essentially Edo and its suburbs.
Understanding the topography of Tokyo is critical to understanding the history of Edo and her earlier, less famous history.
By the way, click to enlarge.

We’ve Reached a Milestone!

This is the 200th article of JapanThis! I never thought I’d make it this far. I feel like the blog is actually “a thing” now – like it’s finally official or something. Stylistically and content-wise it’s evolved and between Twitter, Facebook, and the blog itself there are about 1,260 subscribers. Not bad considering the topics are super nerdy and I’m really just sort of fumbling my way through this.

So I’m celebrating!

How?

With a short series on the etymology of 7 famous rivers in Edo-Tōkyō. This is the inaugural post. The first river will be covered in the next article. I don’t know if rivers are as interesting as the Tokugawa Funerary Temples or 3 Execution Grounds of Edo, which I did series on before, so bear with me. Hopefully this will be a fun ride through the city. I’ll definitely try my best.

Of course this isn't Edo or Tokyo, but this does give you a close version of what many of the small rivers or channels of Edo may have looked liked.

Of course this isn’t Edo or Tokyo, but this does give you a close version of what many of the small rivers or channels of Edo may have looked liked.

Have you Ever Said “Thank You” to a River?

It sounds like something someone on acid might do. It also sounds like something someone who is really thankful that the river is there might do. Well, I did exactly that a month or two ago.

When I started writing about Tōkyō place names, I bought a few books to brush up on the general history of the city and the layout of the Edo as compared to modern Tōkyō. One book that drastically changed the way I view the city – and we’re talking red pill/blue pill shit here, people – was 東京の空間人類学 Tōkyō no Kūkan Jinruigaku Tōkyō: A Spatial Anthropology by 陣内秀信 Jin’nai Hidenobu. He often talks about how the rivers of Edo-Tōkyō united the city, fed the city, clothed the city, moved the city, and grew the city. Soon I realized some of these rivers actually breathed life into the city. Tōkyō wouldn’t be what it is today if it hadn’t been for the rivers and the bay. So after a day of intentionally getting lost in Tōkyō with a friend on eチャリ īchari electric powered bicycles, I found myself on the middle of 吾妻橋 Azumabashi Azuma Bridge looking out as the 隅田川 Sumidagawa flowed out towards the bay. I imagined wooden barges transporting goods up and down the river. I saw small ferries carrying men to Yoshiwara for a night or two of indulgence. There were pleasure boats with rich merchants and samurai just enjoying the river on cruises with their friends and in the company of beautiful, young women. I was overwhelmed with a sense of awe and respect for the river and what it represented and what its presence contributed to the life of the city. Instinctively I just blurted out, “thank you.”[i]

Azumabashi If you've been to Asakusa, you've probably crossed or at least seen this bridge.

Azumabashi If you’ve been to Asakusa, you’ve probably crossed or at least seen this bridge.

So, anyways, I grew up in St. Louis, Missouri. St. Louis is a river town, nestled between the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers. I’ve played in rivers[ii], camped in rivers, and fished on rivers. I’ve also seen the rivers flood and cause serious destruction. Since I was an elementary school kid, I’ve had a respect for the river and its strength and ferocity. I’ve also been familiar with how rivers connected people. I saw commercial barges on the Mississippi, steamboat cruises, casino boats, and hotel boats. Warehouses and factories were on the rivers. The centerpiece of downtown St. Louis is a riverside park with a monument commemorating the fact the city was once the only point at which you could cross the deep and dangerous Mississippi with her impassable currents. But once bridges were built over this bridge, St. Louis became the gateway to the west and a whole new epoch of American history began.

We call it the

We call it the “Muddy Mississippi” for a reason. It’s not polluted, that’s the natural state of the river.
This is when the river flooded (which happens a lot).

But to be honest, even having grown up around rivers and known about rivers and how important they are, it really didn’t dawn on me how important they in understanding the development of other cities. But the more I research Tōkyō place names, the more I keep seeing how rivers impacted local areas in Edo-Tōkyō. I’ve said this many times, and admittedly this is borrowed from Jin’nai Hidenobu, but you can think of Edo as the Venice of the East. Sure, it was a wooden city and sometimes a dusty city, but the “highways” within the shōgun’s capital were mainly waterways.

The natural rivers were one side of this story. But there were many manmade canals and moats and even aqueducts that weaved throughout the city affecting all aspects of life in Edo – including the shape of the city. If you love 浮世絵 ukiyo-e[iii], you may have noticed that I sometimes have ukiyo-e pictures on the blog showing how an area looked in the Edo Period. You may have also noticed that rivers and bridges are a major theme in much those works. That’s not an accident or coincidence. It was the financial/commercial lifeline to the area – its raison d’être – and often times a place where the locals could go to relax, have a stroll, and enjoy the beauty and majesty of the river.

So, I’ve chosen seven rivers to look at over the next seven posts. If your favorite river isn’t here, sorry. I don’t deal with low-grade, crap rivers[iv]. Learn to like a better river. And if you one of your favorite rivers is listed here, be sure to make a donation via the links below. We river-folk hafta stick together.

On a final note, I may get some flack for my final river as it wasn’t nearly as important as the other rivers I chose. But it’s an important river today, so give me a little slack, mkay?

The 7 Rivers I Will be Covering
(drumroll, please)

隅田川
Sumidagawa
Sumida River
利根川
Tonegawa
Tone River
荒川
Arakawa
Arakawa River
神田川
Kandagawa
Kanda River
多摩川
Tamagawa
Tama River
江戸川
Edogawa
Edo River
目黒川
Megurogawa
Meguro River

By the way, I’m not an expert on rivers so I don’t know how this is going to play out. I’ve been consistent on the etymology theme on this blog, so expect etymology to be the focus. I hope to expand on that a little bit, but since I’ve decided to choose a subject that I don’t know much about but I want to learn about, there may be some mayhem. If you see mistakes, let me know in the comments section and I will revise the main text. And of course, questions are always appreciated. Also, if you know any river stories about these rivers and want to share, I think that would be really cool! The first article will be out in about a week. See you then!

 If you like JapanThisplease donate.
Click Here to Donate
Click Here to Buy Awesome Nerdy J-History Goods


[i] And immediately afterwards felt like an idiot….
[ii] Not the Mississippi or Missouri, they’re way to fast and dangerous to swim in. But there are rivers all over the state that people use for pleasure.
[iii] A genre of Edo period art sometimes translated as “scenes from the floating world” or “pictures of the fleeting world.” The term “floating” had a nuance of “fleeting,” “coming and going,” or “momentary.” Don’t confuse it with rivers and floating, because there’s no connection.
[iv] Just kidding. But actually, there were a lot of other rivers I wanted to cover – including rivers that are no more – but I thought it best to limit the scope. If people think this is a cool topic, I’ll come back to it.

What does Kasai mean?

In Japanese History on November 5, 2013 at 1:51 am

葛西
Kasai (West Katsushika)

Kasai Rinkai is famous for its nature preserve, and in particular, its aquarium.

Kasai Rinkai is famous for its nature preserve, and in particular, its aquarium.

Kasai is a general term used to describe the southern portion in Tōkyō’s 江戸川区 Edogawa-ku Edogawa Ward, ie; the portion that lies on Tōkyō Bay.

kuzu Japanese Arrowroot,
a reed-like grass that grows in wetlands
西 sai, nishi west

Nothing in this article will make sense if you haven’t read yesterday’s article on Katsushika.
As far as I know, today there is no area named Kasai, but there are train stations, bus stations and facilities that bear the name. Here are a few examples:

北葛西 Kita-Kasai North Kasai
南葛西 Minami-Kasai South Kasai
東葛西 Higashi-Kasai East Kasai
西葛西 Nishi-Kasai West Kasai
中葛西 Naka-Kasai Middle Kasai
葛西臨海 Kasai Rinkai Kasai Oceanfront
葛西海浜 Kasai Kaihin Kasai Seaside

 

The last two names are in reference to a park and nature preserve[i].

Kasai Rinkai Park and Kasai  Kaihin Park

Kasai Rinkai Park and Kasai Kaihin Park

So why is Kasai called Kasai?

The name Katsushika is attested in a census of the area in 721[ii]. It’s listed as part of 下総国葛飾郡Shimōsa no Kuni Katsushika-gun Katsushika District, Shimōsa Province[iii]. If you look at a modern map of Tōkyō, you’ll see that Edogawa is located south of Katsushika. This caused me to wonder, why is the southern area bear the name “west” when it’s clearly south?

Above the area marked #1 down to the white area (Tokyo Bay) is the former Katsushika District.

Above the area marked #1 down to the white area (Tokyo Bay) is the former Katsushika District.

But if you remember from yesterday’s article, the whole area from present Katsushika Ward to the bay in southern Edogawa Ward was part of the ancient Katsushika District.

Well, it turns out that by the Kamakura Period, the course of the 江戸川 Edo-gawa Edo River had changed the shape of the terrain[iv]. This prompted the creation of 2 new administrative districts. The west bank was called 葛西郡 Kasai-gun Katsu(shika) West District and the east bank was called 葛東郡 Katō-gun Katsu(shika) East District[v]. So in short, Kasai is a vestige of this former sub-district which doesn’t exist today.

There's little physical evidence remaining of the Kasai clan's presence in the area.

There’s little physical evidence remaining of the Kasai clan’s presence in the area. Let’s find out why!

A Side Note on pre-Tokugawa Noble Families Operating in the Area

I don’t like getting into genealogies of Japanese noble families because it’s kinda boring and I get really fucking confused after a while. But I thought this was interesting because it ties into the place names of Toshima and Edo.

The 桓武平氏 Kammu Heishi Kammu Taira Clan was established by the Emperor Kammu in the early 800’s. He granted the clan name Taira to some of his grandsons. A new branch was established when someone of this line was granted control of the Chichibu Province (present day western Saitama). The newly established clan took the name of their fief and became the 秩父氏 Chichibu-shi Chichibu Clan. In the 12 century, a member of the family was granted a fief in Edo. This family assumed the name of their new holdings and became the 江戸氏 Edo-shi Edo Clan[vi]. Not long after that, a member of the Edo Clan was given control of the Kasai District of Shimōsa Province. And yes, you guessed it, this branch assumed the name of their new territory and became – wait for it……………… the 葛西氏 Kasai-shi Kasai Clan!

Family crest of the Taira.

Family crest of the Taira.

Now remember, the Taira Clan were descendants of the Emperor Kammu, but by the 12th century, the newly established 葛西家 Kasai-ke House of Kasai[vii] were merely low ranking vassals of another powerful clan in the area. And who might that family be? Why, it was none other than the 豊島氏 Toshima-shi Toshima Clan of 豊嶋郡 Toshima-gun Toshima District, Musashi Province.

Long time readers will know the eventual fate of the Toshima Clan[viii] and you might be tempted to assume that the Kasai met the same fate. But pre-Edo Period samurai were a wily bunch always looking for opportunities to increase their wealth, power, and influence. The Kasai raised an army and assisted 源頼朝 Minamoto no Yoritomo Minamoto Yoritomo in the final subjugation of the Taira[ix]. They were rewarded with various holdings in the Tōhoku region. To this day, family names with the kanji 葛西 are common in Aomori, Miyagi, Fukushima, and Iwate[x].

Tohoku... yeah!

Tohoku… yeah!

Back to the Kasai Area!

After the Kasai family left the region it came under the control of the 千葉氏 Chiba-shi Chiba Clan (namesake of modern Chiba Prefecture) and after that the 後北条 Gō-Hōjō the Hōjō Clan[xi]. After the destruction of the Hōjō, the area finally came under the control of Tokugawa Ieyasu and remained stable until the Meiji Restoration.

Wanna Support My Blog?
Click Here to Donate
Click Here to Buy Awesome Nerdy J-History Goods


[i] I couldn’t find good information, and I may be wrong on this, but I’ve heard that the Kasai Rinkai Park area was a lower residence of a branch of the Matsudaira family (an Edo Period landfill). Again, I’m not clear on the details, but I believe the Kasai Kaihin Park area was also an Edo Period landfill and they appear to be breakwaters, which would have protected the lord’s residence on the mainland. I could be wrong on this.

[ii] The document is the 下総国葛飾郡大嶋郷戸籍 Shimōsa no Kuni Katsushika-gun Ōshima-gō Koseki Census of Ōshima Hamlet (Katsushika District, Shimōsa Province). Here’s a description of the document in Japanese.

[iii] For those of you who haven’t been keeping up, please see my articles on Ryōgoku and Toshima and Musashi.

[iv] The Edo River, by the way, is a tributary of the 利根川 Tonegawa Tone River. The Tone River was known as this sort of uncontrollable beast. The river was notorious for flooding, then changing directions. It seems that the Edo River, being the proverbial little brother of the Tone River, had a similar reputation as a shit stirring river.

[v] The kanji are reversed, but this place name is preserved as 東葛 Tōkatsu, a region in present day Chiba.

[vi] If you remember my post on Edo, you’ll remember the Edo Clan. You’ll also remember how they were later forced to change their names to 北見氏 Kitami-shi Kitami Clan. Eventually, the Tokugawa shōgunate abolished the family line for unforgiveable transgressions.

[vii] Kasai Family to use a non-Game of Thrones term.

[viii] Please read more about the Toshima in these articles: Shakujii, Nerima, and Nerima.

[ix] Yes, folks you read that right.

[x] Apparently there are 4 variants of this kanji combination, the non-Kasai readings are said to have originated in Tōhoku: Kasai, Kassai, Katsusai, Katsunishi.

[xi] This clan, the so-called Late Hōjō, were a bunch of assholes. But they were tough assholes. Their resistance to Hideyoshi’s unification efforts eventually led to their complete annihilation. That action also led to Tokugawa Ieyasu being given the 8 Kantō Provinces… and the rest, as they say, is history.

What does Katsushika mean?

In Japanese History on November 4, 2013 at 2:50 am

葛飾
Katsushika (Adorned with Kuzu)

What does Katsushika mean?

This is kuzu, sometimes incorrectly spelled kudzu.

kuzu Japanese Arrowroot,
a reed-like grass that grows in wetlands
shika decoration, ornament, embellishment

This is a very ancient name.

The former 下総国葛飾郡 Shimōsa no kuni Katsushika-gun Katsushika District, Shimōsa Province consisted of areas that are today Tōkyō, Chiba, Ibaraki, and Saitama. This wide area comprised the modern areas of: to the north, Katsushika District, Saitama Prefecture; to the west, Sumida Ward and the eastern half of Kōtō Ward, Tōkyō Metropolis; to the east, Koga City, Ibaraki Prefecture; and to the south, Edogawa Ward, Tōkyō and Urayasu City, Chiba Prefecture.

Shimosa Province

This is Shimosa Province. The area marked #1 was the Katsushika District.


The name is attested in the 万葉集 Man’yōshū so we know this is an ancient name[i]. The probability of it not being Japanese in origin is high. As mentioned in previous articles, the kanji used in pre-Edo Period Tōkyō place names should always be taken with a grain of salt[ii].

There are various theories, but none of them are certain.

1 – Katsushika’s かつ katsu comes from an older word カテ kate or ト kato which meant cliff, hill, or knoll. しか comes from an older スカ which meant “sandbar.” The general idea being that this name referred to the lowlands on the right bank and the elevated ridge on the left bank of the 利根川 Tonegawa Tone River (present day 江戸川 Edogawa Edo River[iii]).

2 – The name was given to the area by the “people of the south sea”[iv]. According to this theory, in whatever dialect or language these people spoke it referred to a hunting ground.

3 – The kanji is literal. katsu is an on’yomi[v] and nanori[vi] of kuzu arrowroot. shika is the nanori of kazaru to decorate. Arrowroot is a kind of vine that grows near rivers. It’s an invasive plant that quickly spreads and takes over an area. It is used to make some kinds of jellies for Japanese sweets. If this etymology is accepted, the meaning is then literally “a field or area decorated (overgrown with) Japanese Arrowroot.”

Here is a lowland area overtaken by kuzu.

Here is a lowland area overtaken by kuzu.

Wanna Support My Blog?
Click Here to Donate
Click Here to Buy Awesome Nerdy J-History Goods


[i] The Man’yōshū is an ancient text written in a kind of ateji. Here is an article on the text. Here is an article on ateji.

[ii] The kanji used in the Man’yōshū – which are all ateji – are 勝鹿 win + deer and 勝牡鹿 win + male deer and 可豆思賀 nice + bean + think + auspicious. These kanji are meaningless and don’t give any indication of etymology.

[iii] This river was famous for changing course after major floods and tsunamis until the area was wealthy enough to implement proper urban planning. The present Edogawa flows through the ancient course, emptying into Edo Bay (Tōkyō Bay).

[iv] 南洋系の民族 nan’yō-kei no minzoku people from the south sea is a mysterious term that may refer to other immigrant groups coming from the south, or may be a direct reference to the spread of Yamato culture, or may refer to older Yayoi or even Ainu people who just moved into the area at some point. I find this explanation ridiculously unclear – it’s obviously over my head.

[v] The Chinese reading of the kanji.

[vi] A set of common readings of a kanji used in names.

10 Random Quickies – Japan This Lite

In Japan This Lite, Japanese History on August 20, 2013 at 12:57 am

大門  Daimon
国立競技場 Kokuritsu-Kyōgijō
新銀座 Shin-Ginza
東中野 Higashi-Nakano
江戸川 Edogawa
流山 Nagareyama
品川宿 Shinagawa-shuku
港区 Minato-ku
If there’s a 上野 is there a 下野? (Ueno, Shitano)
おめぇの母ちゃん Your mom

The Edo Castle room in which the 3rd Shogun, Tokugawa Iemitsu was born.  (supposedly)

The Edo Castle room in which the 3rd Shogun, Tokugawa Iemitsu was born.
(supposedly)

Alright, my super short O-bon vacation is over and it’s back to the grind (actually working a little more to make up for time lost). I’m gonna try to do my best to squeeze out another article in a timely manner.

Anyways, I spent one day in a 38°C (100.4°F) solar beat down in Kawagoe, the former administrative center of 川越藩 Kawagoe Han Kawagoe Domain[i]. Kawagoe was an important logistical hub for 武蔵国 Musashi no Kuni and Edo. Since it was part of Musashi no Kuni, I thought I’d mention it. You can also find the only extant buildings of the former Edo Castle that can still be entered by common folk like you and I. Kawagoe is now part of Saitama Prefecture. These days, Saitama is to Tōkyō what New Jersey is to New York[ii].  Let’s just say, the prefecture will never live down Tamori’s nickname for the area, ダ埼玉 dasaitama (a mix of ダサい dasai “lame” + 埼玉 Saitama)[iii].  So let’s move on to more pleasant conversation[iv].

So I’ve got a few e-mail messages that ask about Tōkyō place names which are pretty easy to explain – and don’t really warrant their own posts.  Some referred to previous articles but weren’t directly addressed. So today’s Japan This Lite is brought to you by the support of generous question-asking readers like yourself!

Oh, and speaking of generous readers, if anyone is interested in donating, I’ve set up a donation page on Patreon. Feel free to throw a brother a couple of bucks[v].

OK, so without any further ado, here are 10 Quick Questions from readers about Tōkyō place names that I explain away in a few minutes[vi].



What Does Daimon Mean?

Oh, look! It's a big gate! I wonder what that thing is doing here?

Oh, look! It’s a big gate! I wonder what that thing is doing here?

大門 Daimon means “Big Gate.” The gate is specifically the gate that crosses the street at an intersection between the Daimon Station, the Minato Ward Office and Zōjō-ji[vii]. There is a bigger gate in front of Zōjō-ji, but that’s not the “big gate” referred to in the name. Before Zōjō-ji was built until today, the area has been known as 芝 Shiba (see my article here). The area in front of the gate was a 門前町 monzen-chō a town built in front of a temple gate (see my article here). Because there is an intersection right in front of the gate, the area became an obvious destination for trolleys, buses, and eventually subways.  The subway name here is 大門 Daimon, but the actually postal address is 芝大門 Shiba Daimon. The name reflects the area’s heritage as part of Shiba, as monzen-chō, and of course, as the place where the big gate still stands today.

What Does Kokuritsu-Kyōgijō Mean?

The National Olympic Stadium

The National Olympic Stadium

国立競技場 is made of two words. After you hear the translation, you will understand. Kokuritsu means “National.” Kyōgijō means stadium or athletic grounds. When the word 駅 eki station is dropped this compound word is usually translated as National Olympic Stadium. When you hear this word in Japan, most people will undoubtedly think of the 1964 Tōkyō Olympic Games.  The facility pre-dates the ’64 Summer Olympics and if Tōkyō manages to land the 2020 Summer Olympics, the site will supposedly be re-developed for the that purpose in the form of a ghastly silver drop of water… or something.

What Does Shin-Ginza Mean?


WTF?

Where is Shin-Ginza?

I guess it means “New Ginza” but I’ve never heard of this place. I googled it and found a reference to a law office with the words 新銀座 Shin-Ginza in the name, but it’s not a place name. At least not in Tōkyō.

What Does Higashi-Nakano Mean?

Higashi-Nakano Station

Higashi-Nakano Station

東中野 Higashi-Nakano means East Nakano. I covered Nakano a long time ago but since my blog currently only shows the last 50 articles, there are about 100 other articles obscured from view. If anyone wants to help out with this (I can’t do design-y HTML to save my life), I’d appreciate it! Anyways, since I made the gross mistake of not including Higashi-Nakano you should probably check out the Nakano article. You might want to follow that up with the article on Musashi no Kuni. Basically, Nakano means “Field in the Middle of the Musashi Plain.” The name itself is quite ancient, but the name Higashi-Nakano was a train station/bus station name that became a postal address. And by the way, I love Nakano!

What Does Edogawa Mean?

The Edo River was never renamed "Tokyo River."

The Edo River was never renamed “Tokyo River.”
Suck on that, Meiji Restoration.

This question came right after I posted pix of the Edogawa Fireworks Display. 江戸 Edo refers to the original name of the city. While Tōkyō is the modern name, the name Edo persists in certain place names or nomenclature, for example, a 2nd or 3rd generation Tōkyōite is called an 江戸っ子 Edokko child of Edo[viii]. Anyways, 江戸川 means, of course, Edo River. What exactly is the Edo River? Well, the answer depends on what period of history you’re talking about. The river has been manipulated many times since the Edo Period.  Wikipedia has a decent technical definition.

I should probably write a longer article on this subject because it is a little complicated – and honestly I don’t know much about it at all at the moment. But the basic meaning is Edo River. And that should do for now. If you look a few blog posts before this, you’ll see my video footage of the Edogawa Fireworks.

What Does Nagareyama Mean?

sorry

That’s not Tōkyō so… sorry, not gonna cover it, as tempting as it is.
But I will say that the kanji are poetic and I like this town’s name.

What Does Shinagawa-shuku Mean?

品川宿題

Shinagawa Shuku

This is the old name of Shinjuku as a post town on the old Tōkaidō highway connecting Edo to Kyōto. The name isn’t used today except when referring to art or the old status of the town. Well, actually, I shouldn’t say that… because the area is in the midst of an urban renewal effort that I’m proud to say I contributed a minute effort back in 2009 to my friend Taka’s guest house. The area has been trying to boost local tourism in the area and uses the name Shinagawa-shuku. They even set up a Shinagawa-shuku information center with maps and pictures and English speaking docents. This was in ’09, but I’m sure they’re still doing it. They even set up scannable QR codes on light posts so you can learn about the history of the area as you walk around. Good question!
Oh, and here’s my old article on Shinagawa from waaaaaaaaaay back in the day.

Why Does Minato Mean?

North side of Tokyo Bay taken from Odaiba facing the Tokyo Bayfront.

North side of Tokyo Bay taken from Odaiba facing the Tokyo Bayfront.

This is probably the easiest, 港 minato means “habor.” You will see the same kanji in 空港 kūkō airport (literally “sky harbor”). Although Minato Ward’s eastern edge ends at Tōkyō Bay, Edo’s bay was a very different shape; today’s bay has been built up with landfill.

I’ll probably write about this in more detail later. But with even a quick glance at a modern map of Tōkyō Bay and a little guesswork, most people can probably figure out a rough approximation of the original shape of the bay.

If There’s a Ueno in Tōkyō, is There a Shitano?

Random perverted kanji image.

Random perverted kanji image.

This question refers to the kanji 上野 Ueno (upper field) and 下野 Shitano (lower field). I don’t know if there is a Shitano in Tōkyō, but in 西東京 West Tōkyō, outside of the 23 Special Wards, there is a place called 下野 Shimotuske (lower field – an unrelated place name) which could be read as Shitano (but isn’t)[ix]. Interestingly enough, near this place is a large park that is an annex of the 江戸東京博物館 Edo-Tōkyō Hakubutsukan Edo-Tōkyō Museum. The annex is called the 江戸東京たてもの園 Edo-Tōkyō Tatemono-en Edo-Tōkyō Open Air Architectural Museum. I haven’t been here yet, but it sounds pretty freaking cool. They moved a bunch of old buildings here to preserve them from the wake of urban sprawl in Tōkyō and so you can enjoy a walk in the park and walk through these historic buildings as well. Great question!

OK.

I have to be perfectly honest with you. I didn’t have 10 e-mails. I had a few more, but they’re on a different to-do list.  So this post is actually just 9 short entries. But I’m always glad to hear your questions even if I can’t always get to them right away. The difficult ones get saved in a document that I check for ideas. So it really helps keep the blog exciting for me. So thanks!  And talk to you all next week!

Wanna Support My Blog?
Click Here to Donate
Click Here to Buy Awesome Nerdy J-History Goods


[ii] I alluded to some of this anti-Saitama bias in the closing of my article on Adachi.

[iii] And all other incarnations, ウル埼玉 Urusaitama (mixed with the word for “noisy” or “annoying”) and ク埼玉 Kusaitama (mixed with the word for “stinky,” et alia.

[iv] Because no one wants to talk about Saitama or New Jersey, at least not in polite company… lol.
Sorry, Saitama is an easy target. I’ll stop now.

[v] And as I have just set this up, please let me know if there are any problems using the service. It seems straight-forward, they simply provide the connection. And if you’re worried, your donation goes directly to me, they never touch it.

[vi] OK, I lied, there are actually only 9.

[vii] If you don’t know what Zōjō-ji is, you haven’t been reading Japan This long enough. So please read my 16 part expose on the Funerary Temples of the Tokugawa Shōguns.

[viii] The 2-3 generation rule depends on who you ask. And some long standing Tōkyō families may argue that certain areas of the Tōkyō Metropolis never qualify as Edokko. It’s a complex, but fascinating issue that I should probably write about more in my Yamanote VS Shitamachi page. But I’m lazy…

[ix] 下野 can also be read as Shimono, a common family name.

Edo River Fireworks

In Japan, Japanese Holidays, Travel in Japan on August 5, 2013 at 2:38 am

江戸川花火大会
Edogawa Hanabi Taikai Edo River Fireworks

江戸川にヤンキーが多い

Edo River Fireworks 2013

First of all, long time readers of Japan This will have noticed that I haven’t had a good history article in a week or two. The main reason is that work is super busy and I just don’t have any free time. Literally. Things will change soon and I promise to continue my Edo-Tokyo place names series as soon as I can. I miss doing it. I also have other ideas for short series, like the Tokugawa Funerary Temples series or the Edo Execution Grounds Spectacular.

In the meantime, I did have a little time after work this weekend to go to the 江戸川花火大会 Edogawa Hanabi Taikai Edo River Fireworks. I’ve gone to this fireworks display almost every year for the past 6 years. It’s one of the best fireworks displays in Japan — I dare say, one of the best in the world.

江戸川花火大会・ヤンキー多いw

Edo River Fireworks. Tokugawa Ieyasu would have been impressed by the number of ヤンキー present at this event.

I took some video this year. I thought I had 10 minutes of footage, but when I started editing, I soon realized that I had over 45 minutes of video clips. That means that I watched almost half of the entire event through my iPhone and not with my own eyes. Probably shouldn’t have done that….  But it does mean I have some interesting content for you, dear reader. And without any further ado, I’d like to present a montage of video clips, in order, from start to finish, of the Edo River Fireworks 2013. I hope you enjoy.

%d bloggers like this: