A sad story about flood control in Horeki

statues of the Satsuma Heroes ( in the Chisui Shrine )

holding hoes instead of their swords

    In December of the 3rd year of the Horeki era ( 1753 ) Satsuma Hanshi received a notice   
from the shogunate that told them to go to Mino at once to do embankment works and to         
prepare 10 billion yen ( about 100 million dollars )  as construction costs.                  
     It was a purpose of the shogunate to make the Satsuma Clan spend a huge sum of money     
on g sankin-koutai ( it's a system that daimyo ( feudal lords ) from various clans come to   
Edo  ( the present Tokyo ) and work for the shogunate every other year as a rule ) hand a    
large sum of wedding expenses and their housing expenses because of the last shogun's         
( Yoshimune TOKUGAWA ) forced marriage with his daughter Princess Take, then to               
weaken the Satsuma's 770,000 goku  power ( Clans' power were shown by the rice crop           
instead of money. A koku of rice is 180 liters. ) .                                           
     Especialy the Satsuma Clan took the part of the west side in a battle of Sekigahara. When
the west side lost the battle, they daringly retreated through the middle of the enemy. So the
shogunate thought the Satsuma Clan was dangerous. In the reign of the 9th shogun ( Ieshige    
TOKUGAWA ), one of TOKUGAWA big three dainagons ( one of high posts ) , Munekatsu             
TOKUGAWA prepared an offer of marriage for his two daughters, but one died in youth, the      
other was declined it by Mr. SHIMAZU ( a lord of the Satsuma Clan ). He started to  have a    
grudge against the Satsuma Clan after Yoshimune's death. So he made it do embankment          
works and spend its whole fortune. He wanted to get it to be fallen by themselves.            
     The Satsuma Hanshi found his plot. Down with TOKUGAWA 8 million goku by their            
770 thousand goku! Yukie HIRATA restrained excited Satsuma Hanshi and persuaded them          
saying g if you were to fight against TOKUGAWA , this place would be a battle field and      
even innocent children and peasants might lose their lives. So if we undertake this           
construction we can save people's lives in Mino and that meets the way of humanity and        
justice, also brings us the peace and security h. Then  a feudal lord, Shigetoshi SHIMAZU    
decided to do that . And then Yukie HIRATA and his 947 Satsuma hanshi's party left for        
Mino about 1200 kilometers away with their pathetic moods in January of the 4th year of       
the Horeki.                                                                                   
     In Feburary of the 4th year of Horeki ( a leap year ), they arrived at Mino. The Kiso    
river had its origin in Mt. Harimori in Kiso County and its length was 227 kilometers. The    
Nagara river had its origin in Mt. Dainichi in Takasu Village and its length was 166          
kilometers. The Ibi river had its origin in Mt. kammuri in Tokuyama Village and its length is 
121 kilometers. They did a record-breaking three rivers construction |extending a bank       
120 kilometers long  from Sunomata Ampachi County to Kuwana City EYatomi Town Aichi          
Prefecture,  restoring a bank, constructing a bank and so on for about one and a half years   
wearing working clothes ( instead of kimono ).                                                
     But they spent hard and humiliating days. For instance there were severe rules among     
people who lived in Mino like that g Don't sell goods cheap to Hanshi. h, people who had    
Hanshi were told to give themg Only one soup and one side dish. No sake. No fish. h as      
their meals, when Hanshi got sick people didn't need to give them more treatment than they    
needed and so on.                                                                             
     Also when they finished to pile stones up and offered a yakunin ( an official who worked 
under a daikan ) about that, he answered g O. K. h. But  a daikan ( an official who         
dominated places under the direct control of the shogunate ) said g Don't pile stones like   
this. h. Even a yakunin who said g O. K. hevaded his responsibility saying g You didn't   
do it as my indication. h. But Hanshi couldn't talk anything back to them.                   
     And when the construction of the Saku river ( Hashima City ) was almost finished, it was 
wrecked by a secret mission. They received cruel treatment like that, too. So they had to     
spend a great deal of money more than they needed. Some couldn't stand the humiliation then   
commited suicide withoutg looking at that Sakura island ( in Satsuma ) trailing smoke ( of   
volcano) hagain, others died of sickness without enough treatment as they thought of their   
families and their children. We think that different climate and accent, their vain efforts,  
their senses of responsibility and disappointment are maybe included in the reasons of their  
death, too. Yukie HIRATA applied the reason of suicides' death into g dying of sickness h.  
Because harakiri in a feudal society meant the extinction of his family. We can think of      
Yukie HIRATA's distress who decided to do that, can't we?                                     
     At last they finished all their construction in May of the 5th year of Horeki. The       
inspections by the shogunate were also finished. The shogunate and people who hooted and      
jeered at them as well applauded the construction indeed and said g This is the greatest     
work in Japan h.                                                                             
     Then Yukie HIRATA sent a letter about the completion of their works to Mr.Shigetoshi     
SHIMAZU. He worshipped the rising sun in the eastern sky at the office. And facing the        
west,                                                                                         

u Sumi nareshi  Sato mo imasara  Nagori nite  Tachizo wazurau  Mino no Omaki v

( Thouth I've still felt sad to leave my hometown, I'm also sorry to part from Omaki in Mino )
he left g jisei no ku has mentioned above and kill himself  on May 25th to take all his     
responsibility for young Hanshi who died of suicide and sickness for the construction. He     
died at 52.                                                                                   
     A feudal lord of the Satsuma, Mr. Shigetoshi SHIMAZU heard his death, then his illness   
became worse rapidly after that. He died at the early age of 27 on June 16th.                 

suicides 52Edying of sickness 33                                                             
the total costs about 30 billion yen ( about 300 million dollars )                            

     The rest Hanshi got huga-pines from Satsuma and planted them at Aburashima with their    
mixed feelings that they wanted to celebrate the completion of embankment works standing      
those trials and to mourn Hanshi who died.                                                    
     The Sembon-matsubara ( means a thousand pines field ) that we call now, these pines are  
the very articles of their sweat , blood and tears left by them.                              



q A digression r

It is said that Satsuma Hanshi had paid back their total debts about 200 billion yen ( about 2 billion dollars ) for 20 years or so by making sugar, awamori ( a sort of sake ) and earthenware, and exporting them to China and Korea.



Ogaki Seinen Club e-mail address scogaki@mb.gi.net.or.jp