Brief History of Tokaido
Hamamatsu is the 29th of the 53 post stations built along Tokaido in the Tokugawa-era. Tokaido was made for the smooth and safe travels for officials and militaries traveling from Kyoto to Edo. Later then, the road came to be used by commoners and facilitate commercial development of stations along the road. Each station was made at every certain distance in order for officials to take rest during the trip. Another important function is for the alternate attendance, which had also a historically important rolls in the commercial development.
Hamamatsu is located middle of Edo and Kyoto, about 250 km to the former and 220 km to the later. And also Hamamatsu is 13 km to Mitsuke (28th station) and 11 km to Maisaka (30th station). Hamamatsu post station was built along the road for 2.7 km long. Hamamatsu was a castle town and settled by Tokugawa Ieyasu.
The population of Hamamatsu was 5,964 in 1843 according to Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (43). The average and median of population of the 53 stations were 3,682 and 2,692 respectively. Taking account of these facts, Hamamatsu was relatively a bigger station than average size. The current population of Hamamatsu city is 804,780 according to Hamamatsu City and is also bigger than the average Japanese city, which is not coincidence. As presented previously, Tokaido caused commercial development of related services such as transporters. The development attracts more people, which caused the further economic development. From these facts, it can be predicted that the current prosperity of Hamamatsu city is partly explained by designation of Hamamatsu as a post station along Tokaido.
Honjin and Wakihonjin
As post station was originally built to provide accommodations, the number of honjin, which is offered for high-rank officials, provides facts to grasp the scale as well as geographical importance of the station for officials.
According to Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, there were 6 honijin at Hamamatsu (43). Although there was no wakihonjin, which works as additional capacity of accommodation, there were 94 hatagoya (43), which offered accommodation for commoners. Hamamatsu kept 75 horses which is more than the required amount due to that fact that the number of horses ordered to keep at Tokaido post stations were 25 (Constantine, 29). These historical data reveal that the scale of Hamamatsu station was bigger and the highest number of honjin among 53 stations also means many officials staying there at once. Further, Hamamatsu was a castle town, and therefore this also explains the number of honjin at the station.
Current Hamamatsu City
Although current Hamamatsu City is highly developed and has few historical landmarks, some towns’ names have roots in its history of Hamamatsu post station. Hatago-machi literally means Hatago town, which come from hatago accordiong to Wikipedia, an inn accommodates commoners. Another is Renjaku-machi, which is also related to an occupational name. Renjaku is a rope weaved to shoulder some heavy goods for transporters. Rennaju-machi is located between Hamamatsu castle ruins and Hatago-machi. Tenmacho is also related to an occupation. The Tenma is a system by which a messenger reaches to a destination by riding a horse placed at a Tenma-cho. And therefore, a Tenma-cho was usually placed close to a castle according to Wikipedia. Tenma-cho is located between Renjaku and Hatago-machi. These facts reveal that each street had a specific function and was named after its function.
Another historical landmark traced back to the station are several sign posts erected where honjin were. For example, a monument of Sugiura Honjin is located just between Renjaku and Tenma-cho. Alas, most of historical objects were destroyed by the bombing during the World War 2.
Although originally Hamamatsu was developed under the castle town of Tokugawa Ieyasu, the designation as a post station caused the further development into industrialization. As presented previously, Hamamatsu was one of the biggest post stations and the current Hamamatsu City is also economically developed. One explanation of this development is industrialization of the city. For example, the city has several headquarters of multinational company such as Kawai and Yamaha. Hamamatsu City is also famous as Honda’s origin according to Wikipedia. There are several factors explaining its industrialization. One of the biggest factors is the designation as a post station along Tokaido. Because Tokaido has been a well-maintained road and worked as an infrastructure to transport goods smoothly, which is fundamental to lower the cost of transportation. This paper argues that geography had also an important role because the middle location between Tokyo and Kyoto resulted in the convenience to transport manufactured goods which were typically consumed in Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka. Another factor to explain industrialization was its early commercial development as a post station before industrialization because being relatively big, but not as big as Tokyo, means the abundance in labor force and cheaper labor than in Tokyo. These two combinations attracted companies producing manufactured goods. Unfortunately, this development was also a reason to be targeted by bombing in the war.
Although historical landmarks related to Hamamatsu post station were largely disappeared, the establishment of Tokaido along which Hamamatsu was and is located had an important role of current development. In other word, the current economic development of Hamamatsu City can be said as a historical landmark due to the fact that the current development may not have been possible without Tokaido.
Hamamatsu City, “ 浜松市の人口.” 2019, https://www.city.hamamatsu.shizuoka.jp/gyousei/library/index.html. Accessed 3 Feb. 2019.
Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism. “交通変遷と街道の整備実態.” pp. 43. http://www.mlit.go.jp/common/000055312.pdf. Accessed 3 Feb. 2019.
Vaporis, Constantine N. “Breaking Barriers: Travel and the State in Early Modern Japan.” Council on East Asian Studies, Harvard UP, 1994.
Wikipedia contributors. “Hatago.” Wikipedia, 2017, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hatago. Accessed 3 Feb. 2019.
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