03.07.2019

The Goldfish of Yamatokōriyama

Yamatokōriyama is a castle town in the prefecture of Nara, known nationwide for the cultivation of goldfish

  • The Goldfish of Yamatokōriyama
  • The Goldfish of Yamatokōriyama
  • The Goldfish of Yamatokōriyama
  • The Goldfish of Yamatokōriyama
  • The Goldfish of Yamatokōriyama

Goldfish cultivation originated in Southern China about two thousand years ago, when a red-coloured type of carp was singled out among other species and began to be raised as ornamental fish in garden ponds. It is generally believed that goldfish made their first appearance in Japan in 1502, during the Muromachi era. In those days, they were found exclusively in the homes of the nobility and well-to-do families who kept them as rare pets. However, in the Meiji pediod (1868-1912) they became popular amongst the commoners as well.
 
In Yamatokōriyama stands the largest castletown of Yamato, starting with the fortress of Tsutsui Junkei, which was completed in 1580 and subsequently became the residence of Toyotomi Hideyoshi and the MizunoMatsudaira, Honda and Yanagisawa families. Although the castle keep was destroyed, visitors can still admire turrets, walls and the moat, located at the centre of one of the historic sites of Nara prefecture.
 
The cultivation of goldfish (kingyo) in Yamatokōriyamais believed to have begun in 1724, when Lord Yanagisawa Yoshisato entered the Yamatokōriyama domain from the province of Kai (present-timeYamanashi prefecture).Goldfish cultivation became a side job for clansmenin the late Edo period (aka Bakumatsu,1853-1867), and gradually developed into a thriving business for samurai and farmers who had lost their jobs after the Meiji Restoration(1866-1869). This is thought to have been made possible by the generous contribution of Yanagisawa Yasunobu, the last lord of Yamatokōriyama domain.In the wake of the great economic development and advancement of aquaculture technologies, in 1907, not only did Yamatokōriyama’s goldfish begin to be exported to other prefectures, but also overseas, namely to Southeast Asia and Europe and the United States.
 
Since 1995, the National Goldfish Scooping Championship has been held in Yamatokōriyama, in August every year, along with the “Kingyo Meister” course on goldfish keeping and the Goldfish Bowl Design Contest. And you can find the kingyo motif everywhere in Yamatokōriyama city, from street lights and manholes to carpark buffer stops.
 
 

Author : Slowear Journal

SlowearTags.

Goldfish  | Yamatokōriyama  | Nara  |

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