In 1929, the Great Depression plunged the Japanese economy into a crisis, and in 1930, cocoons and rice prices plummeted, damaging farming communities.
In 1931, the Manchurian Incident occurred, then in 1933, Japan announced its withdrawal from the League of Nations.
In such an atmosphere, Taguchi Village organized a group to preserve Tatsuoka Castle in 1933, and restored the ruins of the castle. Then it was designated as a national historic site the following year.
The photo is hard to understand, but this signboard has the text of the designation by the Ministry of Education in 1934.
According to the chronology of Taguchi Elementary School, a new “Ho-an-den" (storage area of the photograph of the Emperor) was built in September 1934 (this was a rebuilding of the previous one).
On the next New Year’s Day, the “Ote Bridge" crossing ceremony was held. So the main bridge seems to be rebuilt in 1934.
After that, the facilities on the school grounds were…
In 1938, the east school building was demolished,
In 1939, the rainy day gymnasium was reconstructed.
In 1940, a new two-story building with six classrooms was built on the east side of the south school building.
In 1941, the school name changed to Taguchi National Elementary School, and the school children’s labor service became more active.
The World War II ended in 1945.
In 1946, “Ho-an-den" was dismantled.
As for the post-war situation, I couldn’t find any diagrams, but there are some aerial photos, so I tried to draw a diagram against the photos.
First, the castle site in 1948.
The previous year, 1947, the School Education Law was enacted and a junior high school in new system was established. Since the senior students of the old national elementary school would become junior high school students, the south school building was designated as the junior high school.
Looking at the aerial photo, it is difficult to tell, but there seems to be water in the moat on the north side. The moats to the east and south were used as rice paddies during and after the war.
The next time I could see it on an aerial photo was in 1955.
The shape of the junior high school building has changed.
According to the city documents, the construction of the “new" school building started in December 1948 and was completed in 1949.
However, according to the school documents, “the old school building was moved and expanded," so I’m not sure what actually happened. Anyway, the aerial photo shows the location of the school building as shown in the picture.
The gymnasium was completed in May 1955.
In 1956, Taguchi and Aonuma villages merged to form Taguchi-Aonuma Village. The following year, in 1957, it was further merged into Usuda Town.
The name of the school was changed to Usuda municipality Taguchi Elementary School.
The only time the moat was used as a paddy field was in the 1940’s. In 1950’s, the moat had become a wasteland, overgrown with reeds. It was almost like a garbage dump.
In 1959, the school building was severely damaged by Typhoon No. 7. The “Odaidokoro" was also damaged and renovation work began the following year.
The next image is the castle site in 1975.
The Taguchi Elementary School building was newly built in 1973, before the aerial photo was taken. This is the school building that still be using today.
With the construction of the new school building, the moat was cleaned by residents. After six months of work, the moat was filled with water in 1974.
The swimming pool was built in 1961.
During this period, Usuda Town made the “Preservation and Management Plan for the Historic Site of Tatsuoka Castle (1974).
The outline of the restoration plan made by the town were as follows.
(1) In 1975, the Ote Bridge and the East Bridge will be repaired, and the private land in those areas will be turned into public land.
(2) In 1976, the earthen mounds will be restored and the private land will be turned into public land.
(3) From 1977 to 1979, earthen mounds, moats, stone walls, and measures to prevent water leakage are scheduled to be constructed. We also want to buy back some of the buildings of the former Tanoguchi clan and restore them.
However, the Agency for Cultural Affairs responded that it was difficult to implement the project to formulate a plan for the conservation and management of the historic site. (February, 1975)
The last one is in the state of 2020.
The pool was moved outside the citadel in 1998. And the old pool was removed in 2007.
In 2005, the town of Usuda was merged into Saku City, so the current name of the school is Saku Municipal Taguchi Elementary School.
As I wrote in the old article, Taguchi Elementary School is scheduled to be closed in March, 2023.
Saku City is planning to remove the school building and turn it into Tatsuoka Castle as it was when it was built.
I am against such a plan because I think that taking out only a few years of a hundred or so years of history and cherishing them is to ignore the rest of history.
I am concerned that Saku City will again make public statements such as “Let’s buy back the buildings of the old Tatsuoka Castle that are now in the city". These relocated buildings have been standing there for more than a hundred years. If they are now thinking of buying it back, I feel it would be arrogant.
I hope that the history of using the castle site as a school will be respected, but it seems that the city only sees it as a “tourist resource," I guess it maybe impossible.
I think it’s time to stop thinking that “only the original state is great".
[Reference] (Materials in Japanese)
“Centennial Commemorative Magazine" (Published by Taguchi Elementary School Centennial Commemorative Project Promotion Committee, 1973)
“Saku City Buried Cultural Properties Survey Report: Tatsuoka Castle Ruins I, II, III, IV" (Saku City Board of Education, 2014)
(The “Chronological Table made by the students of Taguchi Elementary School" in this book is interesting.)