Soshu Hojutsu Chorenjo (gunnery practice field of Sagami Province in the Edo period) (相州炮術調練場)

Soshu Hojutsu Chorenjo refers to a gunnery practice field in the Edo period located on the seashore in Fujisawa City and Chigasaki City, an area that is now within the boundary of Kanagawa Prefecture.

History

In 1590, the seashore in what is now Fujisawa City and Chigasaki City became a shogunal demesne, and Fujisawa-shuku Station was administered by a local governor.

In 1728, as part of the Kyoho reforms, Sadayu Sadataka INOUE (the government official of Teppo Kata of the Tokugawa shogunate) established Soshu Hojutsu Chorenjo, a shooting practice field for government officers of Bakufu teppo kata (the gun division of the Tokugawa shogunate) in the seashore from Yanajima Village (the mouth of the Sagami-gawa River) to Katase Village.

On October 18, 1738, the bakufu established the ozutsu yaku (office of artillery) as a managing post.

On November 18, 1766, the village official of Katase Village, bordered on the west by Koshigoe Village, submitted a petition opposing the extension of the shooting practice field.

As a result, although the shooting practice field was extended, the bakufu and residents agreed that it wouldn't be used for shooting for the time being.

In 1824, the Unosuke SASAKI became a bakufu ozutsu yaku in charge of the shooting practice field.

In December 1835, Unosuke SASAKI, who was in charge of the shooting practice field, was sentenced to be exiled to Aogashima Island by the Hyojosho (conference chamber).

In 1838, the Edo bakufu ordered that farmland in the shooting practice field be left fallow.

In 1850, the shooting practice field was extended to the Katase, Kugenuma and Tsujido villages.

In 1868 (the first year of Meiji Period), the shooting practice field was abolished.

Subsequently, the field served as the Tsujido maneuvering range of the Yokosuka naval gunnery school.

After the abolition

The Chikamichi clan of the Ogyu Matsudaira family (later the Viscount Ogyu family) possessed the southeastern area (about 826,400 square meters) of Kugenuma Village, located between the mouth of the Sakai-gawa River (Tokyo and Kanagawa Prefecture) and the Hikiji-gawa River. Upon the opening of railroad, the land was developed as the first cottage subdivision lots for sale in Japan (Kugenuma-Kaigan Villas).

The western part of Tsujido Village became the Tsujido maneuvering range of the Yokosuka naval gunnery school of the Imperial Japanese Navy.

The Tsujido maneuvering range of the Yokosuka naval gunnery school was requisitioned as the Tsujido maneuvering range of the US Navy in Japan after the Pacific War. Opposed landing maneuvers were held there during the Korean War. It is said that those maneuvers led to the success of General Douglas MacArthur's Incheon landing operation.

In 1959, the maneuver range was returned to Japan. The Tsujido housing development of the Japan Housing Corporation, Shonan Institute of Technology, Matsushita Institute of Government and Management, Kanagawa Prefectural Tsujido Seaside Park, etc., had been located at the site. National Route 134 passes the seashore area (it was detoured through the north side in the days of the maneuvering range).

Management
It was managed by Sadayu Sadataka INOUE (the government official of Teppo Kata), Tarozaemon EGAWA (family head) and the patrolmen of the firing range (local residents). The patrolmen of the firing range were assigned by the head of the local village, etc. Because of the importance of their role, they were allowed to adopt surnames and wear pairs of swords.

Villages in Miura-gun County, Kamakura-gun County and Koza-gun County were ordered into compulsory service by them. When the period for maneuvers came, these villages were made to pay compulsory service, such as by providing accommodations for government officials or serving in manual labor, guard and horse-related posts.

The surrounding villages were already ordered into sukego (labor that was imposed upon the neighboring village to help the primarily imposed village) for Totsuka-juku Station, Fujisawa-shuku Station and Hiratsuka-juku Station. Thus they were destitute, and fueki (slave labor) for the shooting practice field was a huge burden.

The frequency of maneuvers
From 1728 to 1748, the maneuvers were held each year.

From 1750 to 1774, the maneuvers were held every other year.

After 1775, the maneuvers were held at least every other year.

The period of maneuvers
They were divided into about seven groups, and each group maneuvered intermittently from the beginning of April to mid-July for 16 to 25 days.

The government official participant from Edo needed from 20 days to one month, including two days each for the arrival and departure stages of the trip.

Because the maneuvers were postponed when it was windy or rainy, the period for maneuvers might be held until the beginning of autumn.

The details of the maneuvers
There were chouchi (long-distance shooting practice), short-range shooting practice, shooting practice on board, shimogaya (downward shooting practice from a high place), etc. The launch site and the target were settled, respectively.

Chouchi
Long-distance shooting practice

A launch site and shooting cabin were placed on the Tsujido seashore.

The target was set as the seashore in Yanajima-mura Village. Eboshi-iwa Rock was also the target at ozutsu (Japanese artillery) practice.

Short-range shooting practice
Short-range shooting practice

It was held at the Kugenuma-Kaigan seashore. Stakes were placed at intervals of 109 meters from the shooting site. An impact area was pinpointed at every launch, and the shooting distance was measured.

Shooting practice on board
Shooting practice on board

Three small local fishing boats and one ship, which could carry 300 koku (about 83.4 cubic meters), was chartered, and onboard range practice was held.

Shimogaya
Downward shooting practice from a high place

Downward shooting practice sessions were held from Komatate-yama Hill, in Katase-mura Village.