HAKODATE BATTLE AND THE SPECIAL HISTORIC SITE “FORT GORYOKAKU”
The warriors of the fallen Tokugawa Shogunate led by Enomoto Takeaki escaped from Edo with a fleet of 8 warships, reached Hakodate and occupied Fort Goryokaku in October 1868. These forces were defeated by the Japanese Imperial Army and surrendered to them just seven months later. Fort Goryokaku was taken over by the Japanese Imperial Army and thus with the end of Boshin War and signified the beginning of a new era in Japan.
THE SPECIAL HISTORIC SITE “FORT GORYOKAKU” (GORYOKAKU PARK)
This fort was made by the commissioner of Hakodate as the site for a new office which governed Ezo (Hokkaido). “Goryokaku” named after its pentagonal star shape was western style fort desinged by Takeda Ayasaburo, a Japanese scholar of Dutch studies. Building started in 1857 and was completed in 1864. It was designated as a national special historic site in March 1962.
Born in Edo (Tokyo) and having studied in the Netherlands, he became the Vice Admiral of the Shogunate Navy. Leading the warriors of the fallen Tokugawa Shogunate, he escaped from off-shore of Shinagawa in Edo Bay in 1868 and occupied Fort Goryokaku.
Born in Musashi (Tokyo). He organized “Shinsengumi” with Kondo Isami and others. After joining Enomoto’s forces in Sendai, he became the vice-commander of grand unit in the forces. He was killed in battle near “Ippongikanmon” (now Wakamatsu-cho) on May 11th, 1869.
COMMISSIONER’S OFFICE OF HAKODATE (HAKODATE BUGYOSYO)
At first, the commissioner’s office was located at the foot of Mt.Hakodate. After the opening of Hakodate Port, the office was relocated to inside Fort Goryokaku, in-land Kameda (now Goryokaku-cho). This photograph was taken in the period of Keio (1865-1868).
Fort Goryokaku was built to guard Hakodate Magistrate’s Office at the end of Edo period when Hakodate port was opened to international trade. Takeda Ayasaburo, a scholar of Dutch studies and a lecturer of School of Various Arts subordinated to the magistrate’s office, modeled this fort after medieval European fortified cities, With its five bastions pentagonally located, the fort came to be known as Goryokaku. Inside Goryokaku was built the magistrate’s office in the traditional Japanese style as well as 20 other buildings and structures appertaining to it.
The construction started in 1857 and was completed in 1864, when the magistrate’s function was transterred here to serve as the administrative center of Ezo region. After the Meiji Restoration, it continued to be used as an administrative office by the new Meiji government. In 1868, Goryokaku was occupied by the forces of soldiers headed by Enomoto Takeaki who were loyal to the old shogunate regime. As a result, the fort became the stage of the Battle of Hakodate that ended in May of the following year. After the battle, however, most buildings inside the fort were dismantled by the Development Commission in 1871. It has been open to public as a recreation area since Taisho period.
Its earthworks being intact, Goryokaku is important for the study of old Japanese fort structure. It is also of high historical value as an example of early adoption of Western technologies and, therefore, Goryokaku was designated as a Special National Historic Site, the only one in Hokkaido.