Imperial banners used during Boshin War found at shrine(霊山神社に「錦の御旗」 福島県で官軍の証し初発見)

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One of the Nishiki no Mihata banners preserved at Ryozen Shrine is shown in Date, Fukushima Prefecture.(保管されていた錦の御旗の一枚)

 FUKUSHIMA - Next year marks the 150th anniversary of the outbreak of the Boshin War, during which forces aiming to create a new government fought against forces that supported the Tokugawa shogunate across the nation, including in what is now the Aizu area in Fukushima Prefecture. Ahead of this anniversary, two Nishiki no Mihata banners (see below) said to have been used by the new government forces, have been found in a preserved state at Ryozen Shrine in Date in the prefecture, the shrine has told The Fukushima Minyu.

 会津などが戦場となった戊辰戦争から来年で150年を迎えるのを前に、戊辰戦争で新政府軍が使用したとされる「錦(にしき)の御旗(みはた)」2枚が伊達市の霊山神社に保管されていることが17日、同神社への取材で分かった。

 Nishiki no Mihata indicated the forces' affiliation to the Imperial court, their reverence for the Emperor and their acknowledgment of him as their master. It is likely the first time any such banner has been found in the prefecture.

 錦の御旗は天皇を主君とする「官軍」であることを示す旗で、県内で見つかるのは初めてとみられる。

 According to the shrine, the banners were dedicated in 1881 by Tomomi Iwakura, a central figure in the inaugural Meiji government. It is said the banners were used by his sons Tomosada and Tomotsune in the civil war. The shrine has been preserving the banners as treasures alongside a letter of devotion that accompanied their introduction to the shrine.

 霊山神社によると、この旗は明治新政府の中枢を担った岩倉具視(ともみ)が、息子の具定(ともさだ)、具経(ともつね)が戊辰戦争時に使ったものを1881年に奉納したものと伝えられているという。これまで同神社の宝物として奉納文とともに保管してきた。

 The two vertical banners are almost identical in appearance, with each measuring approximately 60 centimeters wide and 3.6 meters long. Floral patterns adorn the cloth, with a chrysanthemum emblem symbolizing the emperor near its upper end. Although the banners themselves have faded to an ocher coloration, their original color is believed to have been vermilion, judging from the less faded areas discernible at its bottom.

 2枚の旗はほぼ同じで、それぞれ大きさが縦約3.6メートル、横約60センチ。全体に草花の模様が描かれ、上部には天皇を表す「菊の御紋(ごもん)」が記されている。現在は全体的に色あせて黄土色がかっているが、色落ちが少ない下部の色から、作られた当初は朱色だったとみられる。

 On May 17, Ayako Abe, chief curator of the prefectural Fukushima Museum, along with other experts, examined the banners at the shrine. Abe has been involved in research on historical materials related to the Boshin War.
 "These can be considered Nishiki no Mihata that were initially dedicated by the Iwakura family, considering the shrine's extraordinary status and the content of the letter of devotion which accompanied their presentation to the shrine, among other factors," she said.

 17日は、戊辰戦争の関連資料を調査している県立博物館の阿部綾子主任学芸員らが同神社で旗を調査した。阿部氏は「同神社が別格であり、奉納文の由来などからみて岩倉家が奉納した錦の御旗と考えられる」などとした。

 The connection between these civil war banners and the local shrine in the prefecture is Kitabatake Akiie, a warlord of the Nanbokucho period (1336-1392). Next year marks the 700th anniversary of his birth.

 戊辰戦争で使われた錦旗と霊山神社。結び付けたのは神社にまつられ、来年で生誕700年の節目を迎える南北朝時代の武将・北畠顕家(きたばたけあきいえ)だった。

 Ryozen Shrine was established in 1881 to deify four members of the Kitabatake family, including Akiie. The shrine obtained the same status as Yasukuni and Nikko Toshogu shrines in 1885. The devotional letter was written under the name of Tomomi Iwakura and dated May 1881, the same year as the shrine's foundation. The letter makes mention of the Iwakura family's connections with the Kitabatake family.

 同神社は北畠顕家ら北畠家の4氏をまつり、1881年に創建された。85年には靖国神社や日光東照宮と同格の神社になった。奉納文は岩倉具視の名前で神社創建と同年の81年5月付で記されており、岩倉家と北畠家にゆかりがあることがしたためられている。

 Masayuki Adachi, the chief priest of Ryozen Shrine, explained, "The roots of both the Kitabatake and Iwakura families can be traced back to the Murakami Genji clan." The letter indicates that the banners were used by Iwakura's sons during the war as well as explaining that the banners were made to honor Akiie and other lords.

 同神社の足立正之宮司は「北畠家も岩倉家も元をたどると村上源氏に行きつく」と説明する。
 岩倉の2人の息子が戊辰戦争で使用した旗であることや、顕家らをたたえる意図があることも示されている。

 Among the legends associated with the shrine is that "Emperor Meiji handed Nishiki no Mihata banners to Iwakura, accompanied by the decree that 'they be kept by Ryozen Shrine,'" Adachi said.

  また、足立宮司によると、神社には「明治天皇が岩倉公に『霊山神社に保存せしめよ』と命じ錦旗を預けた」という言い伝えもあるという。

 ■ Nishiki no Mihata
 A banner, also called a Kinki, used to proclaim the affiliation of forces fighting to subdue those who opposed the Imperial court. Throughout the Boshin War, such banners were raised at Toji temple in Kyoto, with its first appearance during the Battle of Toba-Fushimi, which led off this civil war. The temple was a headquarters of the new government forces. The banner itself greatly boosted the morale of the forces, eventually leading to a major blow against the shogunate forces. Iwakura was involved in the banner's creation.

( Translated by The Japan News )

 ■ 錦の御旗
 朝敵討伐の軍(官軍)の証しとして使われた旗。錦旗(きんき)とも呼ばれる。戊辰戦争では、発端となった鳥羽・伏見の戦いで初めて新政府軍の本営であった東寺(京都市)に掲げられた。錦旗の存在は新政府軍の士気を大いに鼓舞し、旧幕府軍に大きな打撃を与えた。錦旗の製作には岩倉具視(ともみ)が深く関わっている。

 【 2017年5月18日付・福島民友新聞掲載 】