Sunday, September 1, 2019
Mongolian Wall Fortifications: Imazu, Fukuoka Prefecture
Imazu lies on the east coast of the Itoshima Peninsula. Blessed with oceans, mountains and unspoiled landscapes, it is also an important historical area. From ancient times until the Kamakura period, Imazu flourished as a trading port and a hub of multicultural exchange. This prosperous era was followed by the Mongol Invasions (Genko in Japanese) which ravaged the area. The historic sites of Imazu are important cultural properties that cast a light on this period in time.
Starting in the 13th century, the tribes of Mongolia succeeded in creating the largest empire in human history, which stretched from the Sea of Japan to Europe. In 1271, Kublai Khan renamed his empire the Yuan, and he sent an expeditionary force to invade Japan in 1274. Unfortunately for him, the invasion was unsuccessful. After this, the Kamakura Shogunate ordered its retainers in Kyushu to build a stone barricade (Genko Borui in Japanese) in case of another Mongolian invasion.
The Genko Borui stretched 20km along Hakata Bay from Kashii to Imazu, but it was built in an amazingly short six months. Given the different methods of construction used along the wall, it is believed that different provinces worked on different sections concurrently. The Genko Borui in Imazu is a 3km section of the structure. Excavations were made in 1913 and it has since been partially restored. It is now preserved and maintained as a National Historic Site.