The Story of Takesue Shinbe

ページ番号1004746  更新日 令和元年11月29日

(武末新兵衛物語 英語版)

The Story of Takesue Shinbe


At the beginning of the Edo period the head of Sugu village, Takesue Shinbe, increased the size of Shirozu pond in order to help villagers who were having trouble due to the lack of water. Sugu village was then able to grow rice even in years of drought. Shirozu pond can be counted as one of the three great ponds of the Chikuzen area.


In Sugu village the river had dried up because of continuing drought and rice couldn’t be grown very easily. Shinbe wanted to help the villagers who were having trouble because they couldn’t grow rice.


Shinbe went to Kamishirozu village and Shimoshirozu village in order to ask for water from Shirozu pond, but because there wasn’t enough water he was turned down. That’s when he got the idea to make the pond’s dam wall higher and collect the extra water for his village.


Shinbe talked with the two village heads about his plan, but they said “If the dam breaks it will flood our villages.”


Shinbe thought about how to make the dam higher without breaking it for many days and nights without sleeping and went back to the villages many times to receive permission for construction.


It seems that the villagers felt the same as Shinbe. The heads of both Kamishirozu and Shimoshirozu village promised to cooperate with Shinbe and begin construction.


However, they couldn’t begin construction right away. They had to get permission from the feudal clan. Shinbe went to get permission from the feudal clan but he was turned down.


Shinbe redid the plans and went back to the feudal clan many times. Finally he was able to get permission to start construction. The clan official was impressed by Shinbe’s persistence.


Soon after that Shinbe brought soil and clay to raise the height of Shirozu pond’s dam. The amount of soil and clay used could fill up 3500 elementary school classrooms.


The construction was done during the season which rice wasn’t grown. The reason was because the villagers couldn’t live without growing rice as everyone had to pay an annual land tax to the clan leaders.


Because it was too difficult for only the Sugu villagers to construct it on their own both Kamishirozu and Shimoshirozu village helped. It took over nine years to complete the project.


In 1664 they were finally able to draw water from Shirozu pond to Sugu village. Finally,the water that was on everyone’s mind was lead to the rice fields for growing rice.


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