Early Modern Hakata and the Twin Cities (Part 5)

Early Modern Hakata and the Twin Cities (Part 5)

Early Modern Hakata and the Twin Cities (Part 5)...The Fall of the Old Hakata Merchants

 

- The story of how Toyotomi Hideyoshi, who united the country after conquering Kyushu, rebuilt ruined Hakata in 1587 was introduced in a previous article entitled "Taiko Machiwari and Kamiya Sotan". We also mentioned that the "Taiko Machiwari" was led by wealthy Hakata merchants such as Kamiya Sotan and Shimai Soshitsu. 

- In the reconstruction of Hakata, Hideyoshi issued another important "sadame" (decree) in June of the same year (the "Rakuichi Rakuza" ordinance). These stipulated the principles of the free city of Hakata and gave the merchants of Hakata the right to self-governance. One of the rights included the privilege of making Hakata, which had been rebuilt, a merchant town where samurai did not live. 

- For these proud merchants of Hakata, the downfall of the Toyotomi regime and the sudden shift to the Edo shogunate system were truly unfortunate events. The free city of Hakata gradually came under the strict control of the Kuroda clan. Even so, the top merchants of Hakata, such as Sotan and Soshitsu, contributed enormous sums of "sunshigin"( contribution of silver) for the construction of Fukuoka Castle. 

- Sotan was also a close friend of Kuroda Josui, who often visited him when he was recuperating from illness to relieve his ennui. However, the confiscation of Sotan's treasured "Hakata Bunrin" tea caddy by the second lord of the domain, Kuroda Tadayuki (1602-1654), not only marked the end of Sotan as a tea master, but also symbolized his downfall from a "Great merchant of the country to the merchant of a castle town". It seems that all of the traditional Hakata merchants, including Sotan and Soshitsu, went through the same process. I feel a touch of loneliness. 

* The photo is of the Hakata Gion Yamakasa festival taken last summer. /

 

近世博多と双子都市(その5)…旧博多豪商の没落

 

- 九州平定の後天下統一を果たした豊臣秀吉が、1587年に廃墟となっていた博多の復興を手掛けたいきさつは、以前に「太閤町割りと神屋宗湛」というテーマでご紹介しました。その「太閤町割り」に尽力したのが神屋宗湛や嶋井宗室などの博多の豪商であったことにも触れました。

 

- 博多の復興にあたり、同年6月に秀吉はもうひとつの重要な「定」(楽市楽座令)を発布しています。これはいわば自由都市博多の原則を定めたものであり、博多商人に与えた自治の権利と言えます。そのひとつに、復興なった博多を武士の住まぬ商人の町にする特権が含まれていました。

 

- このような誇り高き博多の豪商たちにとって、豊臣政権の滅亡と江戸幕藩体制への急転換は、誠に不幸な出来事でありました。自由都市博多は次第に黒田藩の厳しい統制下に置かれるようになったのです。それでも宗湛や宗室など博多の上層商人らは福岡城の建設にあたり莫大な「寸志銀」を出しました。

 

- また、宗湛は病気療養中の黒田如水をたびたび見舞い、無聊をなぐさめる親しい仲でした。しかしニ代藩主黒田忠之(1602-1654)による宗湛秘蔵の名茶入れ「博多文琳」の召し上げは、茶人宗湛の終焉を意味するとともに、宗湛の「天下の町人から一城下町町人へ」の没落を象徴する事件であったといえます。宗湛や宗室など旧来の伝統的な博多の上層商人らは、みな同様な経緯をたどったようです。一抹の寂しさを感じますね。