Fortified Manor

From Jcastle.info

Fortified Manor / 居館

This is a subtype of Castle Type

Fortified Manors (居館, kyokan) are the fortified residences of powerful local leaders and samurai. They are typically simple rectangular fortifications with a moat and earthen embankment, or sometimes stone walls. In Japanese they are often called Yashiki or Yakata. Many of these Fortified Manors are from the Heian and Kamakura Periods, before castles enlarged and developed to include quarters for samurai and other powerful local lords. In the Sengoku Period you often see the pair of a fortified manor at the foot of the mountain for everyday use and a mountaintop castle for use in times of unrest. Kazurayama Castle is one such good example and so is the Sanada Palace / Sanadahonjo Castle pair.

Some might ask if such Fortified Manors are really castles. The definition of "castle" in Japanese is actually vague. It is simply a fortification to help protect from one's enemies. This includes everything from the earliest fortified villages (Yoshinogari) to primarily political centers (Taga Castle) to smoke signal towers (noroshidai) or even fortified towns like Kamakura which itself was called Kamakura Castle at one point. The military purpose and defensive fortifications are what separates these from ordinary homes. This distinction is also separates them from Samurai Homes of the Edo Period, which were strictly controlled by local lords and did not have castle-like defenses such as embankments or trenches.

There is a frequently used Japanese castle term 城館 (jokan), which includes the characters for both castle (城) and fortified manors (館) that clearly covers both. There are also a few yakata in the Top 100 Castles and Next 100 Castles.

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