2DPeople of Matsue, still haunted by Gensuke
Matsue, the Principal City in Shimane
Prefecture, is a
beautiful castle town.
Ship riding along the moat
Some 400 years ago, the City of Matsue was being constructed by
feudal lord. The central part, with a castle, was on the peninsula separated
from the main land by a few rivers which flow into Shinji-ko Lake. Building
bridges between the mainland and the peninsula was vitally important from
strategic as well as commercial points of view. But it had been awfully difficult
to build one of them. Failure after failure. One day, a young town man by the
name of Gensuke happened to come near the construction site. They caught
and buried him alive into the river as a sacrifice (called ehitobashiraf) to please
the God. The construction of the bridge went successfully. People of Matsue
owe him prosperity of the City today. But it seems to me, they paid a price.
They are still haunted by the spirit of the poor man, in that their disposition is
somewhat notoriously queer: they are afraid of accepting anything new, they
are always reluctant to make a change until really forced to, they never trust
anyone unless the person has been around for quite a long time, all in fear of
being caught by powerful strangers. It is generally hard for new-comers to get
along with the old inhabitants here.
Gensuke Matsuri Service--- People of Matsue stll
hold a service for Gensuke once a year.
Please forgive me if you are a resident of
Matsue. I am not saying all the
Matsue residents have such peculiar disposition. But what I said is generally true,
everybody admits that. Actually, the true story is: Matsue residents are tradi-
tionally somewhat overcautious against outside world. A typical old residence looks
more a castle than a house. Inside is secluded from outside by a stone fence just
like a castle defending itself from invaders.
A typical Matsue residence for rich people