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Goryōkaku today
19th-century map of Goryōkaku

Goryōkaku (五稜郭) is a star fort in the Japanese city of Hakodate on the island of Hokkaidō.[1] It was the main fortress of the short-lived Republic of Ezo.

History[change | change source]

Goryōkaku was designed in 1855 by Takeda Hisaburō. His plan was based on the work of the French architect Vauban.[1] The fort is shaped like a five-pointed star. This allowed for greater numbers of gun emplacements on its walls than a traditional Japanese fortress, and reduced the number of blind spots where a cannon could not fire.

The fort was built by the Tokugawa shogunate to protect the Tsugaru Strait against a possible invasion by the Russian fleet.[1]

Goryōkaku is famous as the site of the last battle of the Boshin War (Goryōkaku no Tatakai). The fighting lasted for a week (June 20-27 1869).[2]

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric. (2005). "Goryōkaku" in Japan Encyclopedia, p. 259.
  2. Nussbaum, "Goryōkaku no Tatakai" at p. 259.

Other websites[change | change source]

Media related to Goryokaku at Wikimedia Commons

Coordinates: 41°47′49″N 140°45′25″E / 41.79694°N 140.75694°E / 41.79694; 140.75694