Topics of Japanese history-Shimanami Kaido

(by S. Miyauchi, Professional Engineer, Doctor of Engineering, JSME Fellow)

<松山市と島並み海道 Matsuyama city and Shimanami Kaido>

Matsuyama and Shimanami Kaido islands crossing Setouchi Inland Sea (瀬戸内海) are the base of the first sea power in Japan (Iyo sea power), from Baekgang to Hideyoshi (秀吉) era. They participated in above defensive war against Mongolia from the castle near my hometown house in Matsuyama.

In the Edo era after Hideyoshi, big castle was built as a base for Midwest Setouchi Inland Sea, but they were spoiled by cultures and easy life of the castle town blessed by Far East Peace. This big castle strategy was surely hit in Choshu War of 1866 because they first attacked to Choshu, crossing the sea. But they were only defeated at first.

Shimanami Kaido is globally popular as a cycling road crossing Setouchi Inland Sea from Imabari City (今治市) to Onomichi City (尾道市) in the east of Hiroshima through six islands. (Spans about 70 kilometers). (

Oyamazumi Shrine (大山祇神社) in Omishima island (大三島) is the ancestor god of Iyo sea power. As a center of their unity and culture, the Renga (連歌, Waka ceremony by many people) was often held. The Court in Kyoto and the Kamakura Shogunate (from 1185 to 1333) regarded Iyo sea power as very important. This power dominated Setouchi Inland Sea which was the largest traffic route and the trade route with China. The court gave a high divinity (Not only the Highest Guardian God but also elder brother of the Goddess Amaterasu who is the Supreme God of Gods and the God of sun and agriculture), and the Shogunate dedicated a number of swords and armors (about 40% of National Treasures and Important Cultural Properties in Japan). Many old and big camphor trees (estimated age 3000 years) in the grounds and the calm sea in front of the shrine make me feel the original landscape of the Setouchi Inland Sea.

Shimanami Kaido has a lot of big bridges across Setouchi Inland Sea, and I have strong memories about these bridges.My father made basic examination of these in 1938 under so famous Chujirou Haraguchi, chief in Kobe civil

engineering office of Japanese department of the Interior. Also, my mother 's uncle Shinozaki (the bridge director of my prefecture Ehime) worked hard to make these.

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