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Kawaharada Castle Site

How to get

Get off #1 bus (Hon-sen) at Kajimachi Nakahara bus stop. Turn to the mountain side at the nearest cross section with traffic light. A narrow road of upslope leads you to the place. But as shown in Photo 21.1, you cannot get in the castle site because the place is now a high school. This is not a place for tourism but for education.

Photo.21.1 You cannot get inside of Kawaharada Castle Site

Although you cannot get inside, you will easily know that the place is good to make a castle when you look at the small peak from the town of Sawata. The castle was fallen in June 1589 by the warlord Uesugi Kagekatsu who came from Echigo of the mainland of Honshu. After that, the area had long been just a farmland. When Meiji restoration happened in 1867, the place was shortly used for an office. And then a junior high school was approved to be built there on Octorber 21, 1896 and it opened on June 23, 1897. It was the fifth junior high school in Niigata prefecture under the old education system of Japan1). It became Sado high school after the World War II.

One book “Niigataken no Rekishi Sampo” mentions three alumni in the early days of Sado junior high school; Kita Ikki, Aono Suekichi, and Homma Masaharu2). But that mention is too simple to be what was written by a group of high school teachers. This website thinks a more explanation is needed when it comes to those people;

Kita Ikki (1883-1937) was a nationalist/socialist who was born in Sado. His house was making alcoholic beverages in Ryotsu. He enrolled Sado Junior High in the school’s opening year of 1897. He was so excellent that could skip grade. But he became interested in literature and social issues, then dropped out of the school. His deterioration of eye sight might have influenced. Having posted a controversial essay on local new paper, he was halted from writing by accusation of disrespect in 1903. He went to Tokyo and became an auditor of Waseda University in 1905. Although he wrote and published a book in 1906 on his family’s expense, the book was banned. He got a membership of Chinese Revolutionary Alliance whose head was Sun Yat-sen (1866-1925). The Alliance was organized in Tokyo in 1905. When Chinese Revolution of 1911 happened, he went to China. He came back Japan in 1913 and wrote a book about Chinese revolution. He went to China in 1916 again and wrote another book there in 1919. He came back Japan and participated rightist’s movement. He gave much influence to younger army officers. He himself did not directly participate in the failed attempt of coup d'etat that was caused by those young officers in February 26th in 1936. But he was accused of being a mastermind in the back. He was executed by shooting in 1937. Whatever his intention might have been, as a result, these incidents strengthened militarism in Imperial Japan3). His grave is in Shoukou Temple near the port terminal in Ryotsu. The tomb stone is on slightly high ground of the deepest part of the Temple4).
Note that this website never supports any rightist ideas and movements whatsoever.

Aono Suekichi (1890 - 1961) was a literary critic. His father Aono Hangorou and mother Hisa were doing sake brewery and ship trading. In the year when Suekichi was born, a riot happened. His house was destroyed by people who got angry with high prices of rice. Holding baby Suekichi his mother ran away from the scene to the mountain on back side. This incident made Aono family's business decline5). He graduated Sado Junior high, Takada Teachers School, and Waseda University in 1915. He joined J.C.P. in 1922 and quit in 19246). Marxism was one of foreign ideas that gave much influence on Japanese society in the past. Since Japan opened country to other world by Meiji Restoration in 1867, several foreign ideas were introduced to Japan. They were Taisho-democracy, Christianity, and Marxism7).

In 1938, he was jailed in Sugamo. He was suspected of violation of the Peace Preservation Law8). The law was infamous, but was a useful tool for the government to suppress people. He recanted from communism9). After the WWII, he won a literary prize in 1950, became the head of The Japan Writer's Association in 1951, and became a member of The Japan Art Academy in 1956. He died in 1961 at age of 71. Actually he does not seem so famous today, however, he was famous in 1950s because his name is frequently appears in Maruyama Masao's book "Nihon no Shisou" [Japanese Thoughts] 10).

There is a stone monument "Pen no Hi" which means "Monument of a Pen". The monument is not on the Kawaharada Castle Site, but on a hill "Ikari no Shiro ga Oka Koen" that is one minute walk from "Ikarijo no shita" bus stop between Sawata and Aikawa. Under the stone monument, the pen which Aono Suekichi had used for 50 years is buried. Bronze cast of his own writing reads "In those my younger days, I was standing vacantly by the shore of this beautiful inlet, I didn't know what I was waiting for"11).
Note that this website does not support any communists' ideas and movements whatsoever.

Photo.21.2 'Monument of a Pen' of Aono Suekichi (Not in the Site)

Homma Masaharu (1887-1946) was a lieutenant general in the Imperial Army of Japan. After the Pacific War, he was executed in Philippine as a war criminal. He was accused of his responsibility for the Bataan Death March in 1942. It is disastrous if an individual person should sacrifice his/her life for what a country did. Many books, like "Niigataken no Rekishi Sampo", use the word "The General of Tragedy" to express L.G. Homma12). However, it is unfair to look at just one thing only and to ignore other part of the issue. In Bataan Death March, thousands of Philippine and U.S. soldiers died13). Therefore there should have been thousands of tragedies also on Philippine and U.S. sides. Japan occupied Philippine for three years and eight months during World War II. The damages onto Philippine land and people were so huge and disastrous. Philippine government estimated the damage after the war. Death toll was 1 million 110 thousand and damage on properties costed six billion dollars at the price level of 195014).
Note that this website does not support any militarism or imperialism whatsoever. Instead, this website supports the spirits of democracy and pacifism of Japanese Constitution.

Photo.21.3 Stone Stairway to Sado High School