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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Kosatsuba Edo Period Noticeboards


Kosatsuba were Edo period message boards erected at the entrances to post towns (-juku) on Japan's main highways such as the Nakasendo and Tokaido linking Kyoto and Edo (Tokyo).

Kosatsuba Edo Period Noticeboard, Ena

These wooden structures set out in clear fashion the laws and regulations of the ruling Tokugawa regime and the use of kosatsuba became widespread in Japan after 1711.

Regulations broadcast on the message boards included strictures against Christianity, which was proscribed at this time in Japan, a ban on forming associations not agreed with the authorities and announcements on the set fee for employing porters between towns.

Kosatsuba Edo Period Noticeboard, Ena

Punishments for disobeying the official Tokugawa laws were strict and included beheading and crucifixion. Severed heads were often displayed to deter others.

Nearly all of the kosatsuba on Japan's historic highways, including the Nakasendo and Tokaido, are modern restorations. Kosatsuba can be seen on the Nakasendo in Ena, Nakatsugawa, Ochiai, Magome, Tsumago, Kiso-Fukushima and Narai.

Kosatsuba Edo Period Noticeboard, Nakatsugawa

Walk Japan runs highly recommended walks along Japan's Nakasendo Way where participants can learn about the history of the highway in the Edo Period.

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