Monday, May 23, 2011

Kagoshima Walk - History Road

I try to be careful, especially when I'm working with several blog entries at the same time and switching between them for copying title text or formatting code, but apparently I still managed to overwrite the History Road file. So, I have to write it all over again from memory several weeks later. Sigh. Forgive me, this one's going to be less informative than I'd planned.

(History Road entrance at the Napoli Douri end.)

The Kotsuki River is the only real river in Kagoshima City (ignoring the street run-offs that are more like artificial creeks). It goes from the northeast, cuts 4 blocks in front of the Kagoshima-chou train station on the east side, and continues southwest to come out at the bay near Sakura-jima and Dolphin Port. Along the east side of the river there's a narrow park that runs from Tram Street down towards Napoli Douri. This is History Road, essentially just a series of historical markers describing various events from the Meiji period, and local leaders, plus some sculptures and mosaics in the ground.

Technically, the Lion park statue, dedicated by the Lions Club, is not actually part of History Road, being on the wrong side of Tram Street, but it can be considered an anchor point, and it's certainly a well-recognized rendezvous point.

There's just too much text to type up, so I'll include the photos of the history markers here. If you want to read them, click on the photo to go to the mediafire page.

(Japanese calendar, as described by the preceding historical marker.)

(Right next to this marker was a tiered-bench seating area that was actually fairly boring, so I didn't shoot it. But, basically the bench seating was based on the layout of the amphitheater in the old Tokyo legislative building.)

(Marker at the far end of the Road.)

Which brings us to the end of History Road. As a sidenote, the river turns south when it reaches Napoli Dori, and at this point is the Meiji Restoration Museum. It continues south close to a kilometer and then snakes west again to cross Napoli/Perth Douri just before route 20.


I'll take this opportunity to also mention Toshimichi Okubo. A childhood friend of Takamori Saigo, he also grew up in the Kagoshima area and contributed heavily to the Meiji revolution and restoration. Initially, he was the "home lord" of the new Meiji government, allocating land to the new generation of regional leaders. He also acted as the finance minister, implementing the Land Tax Reform, which among other things prohibited samurai from wearing swords in public. He went on a world tour from 1871 to 1873 (the "Iwakura Mission"), returning just in time to oppose sending envoys to Korea, which is what ultimately set him against Saigo and led to the Satsuma Rebellion and Saigo's suicide in 1877. In the end, he was considered a traitor by many of the surviving Satsuma samurai and was assassinated in 1878.

Currently, he is one of the "three great nobles", along with Saigo and Kido Takayoshi. Kido was from Choshu, in northern Kyushu, and isn't represented much at the tourist sites in Kagoshima. However, he was one of the members of the Iwakura Mission touring the world from 1871 to 1873, with Okubo.

("Childhood" marker at the far end of the History Road.)

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