Omi Province

Omi Province
Omi Province.

Omi Province

Omi Province (近江国) was an old Province of Japan, located in what is now Shiga Prefecture.12

Location

Located on the route between the four (later five) capital provinces and eastern provinces its borders came to have three important barrier stations (Seki-sho) called Arachi, Fuwa and Suzuka.

History

The province was founded in 645 during the Taika Reforms.

During the Heian Period, the temple of Enryaku-ji gained control of many estate lands (shoen) in this province and built itself on Mount Hiei.

By the Kamakura Period, territorial struggles between the Sasaki Family and Enryaku-ji ended up tearing the province apart. The Sasaki had been the hereditary provincal constables (shugo) of this area, posted by the Kamakura Shogunate.

Later, Oda Nobunaga build the castle of Azuchi east of Lake Biwa here in 1576.2 An attempt on Nobunaga’s life was made whilst travelling through Omi Province by the assassin Sugitani Zenjubo, however the attempt ended in failure.3

By the Edo Period, many areas here changed to Tenryo (shogunal lands), with several small domains such as Hikone Domain established.2

Yōkai

This Province is known to be associated with the Yōkai known as the Abura akago. A strange creature, perhaps a reincarnation of a man, who used to steal oil to sell to others as well as the Katawa guruma.4

Footnotes

1. Louis Frederic, translated by Kathe Roth (2002) “Japan Encyclopedia”. London: Harvard University Press.
2. Kodansha. (1993) ”Japan: An Illustrated Encyclopedia”. Tokyo: Kodansha Ltd.
3. Yoda, H & Alt, M. (2012) “Ninja Attack: True Tales of Assassins, Samurai and Outlaws” Tokyo: Tuttle Publishing.
4. Yoda, H. and Alt, M. (2016) “Japandemonium: Illustrated: The Yokai Encyclopaedia of Toriyama Sekien.”. New York: Dover Publications, Inc.

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