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Hachibei Nishijima


Statue of Hachibei Nishijima (part),
Private collection,
Photo courtesy of The Kagawa Museum

Hachihei Nishijima (1596 - 1680) was a man who made great contributions to water utilization and flood control in Sanuki (Kagawa Prefecture). Born in Hamamatsu, Enshu (present-day Shizuoka Prefecture), he was excellent in water utilization, civil engineering, economics, and calligraphy, and served Todo Takatora, lord of the Tsu domain in Ise (present-day Mie Prefecture). At that time, the Ikoma family and the Todo family, who ruled Sanuki, were in a relative relationship. Since ancient times Sanuki had suffered from little rainfall and was often hit by droughts, Hachibei was dispatched to Sanuki by order of Takatora.
In this section, we will introduce two representative projects among the numerous water utilization and flood control works carried out by Hachibei.

Yu the Great

“Yu the Great” monument

The first was the replacement of flood control work of the Koto River. Originally, the Koto River flowed east and west through Mt. Iwaseoyama. In its eastern stream, every time it rained, the riverbed became shallow near the present Takamatsu city, and the water level rapidly increased and flooded, troubling the residents under Takamatsu Castle. In response to this, Hachibei carried out large-scale flood control work to make the Koto River a single westward flow to form the current course of the river, thereby preventing it from flooding the area under Takamatsu Castle. It is said that the stone monument "Yu the Great" written by Hachibei himself, referring to the flood control work on the Yellow River by Yu the Great of ancient China, was erected on the riverside in Nakatsu, Ono Township to pray for the safety of the Koto River basin.
The monument was discovered during the restoration of the Koto River embankment in 1913 and is now enshrined in Ritsurin Park, which is closely associated with Hachibei.

Manno Pond

Manno Pond

The second was the renovation of Manno Pond. Hundreds of years had passed since Kukai renovated Mannoike Pond, the water reservoir of Kagawa, and it had become almost useless due to repeated collapses and dilapidated embankments.
It is said that Hachibei took the lead in renovating Manno Pond from 1628, raising its height and making it an effective reservoir until modern times.

(Source) Hachibei Nishijima, "Yu the Great of Sanuki" [Toshiyasu Kuroshita], Journal of the Agricultural Engineering Society, Japan, 1986 Volume 54 Issue 11 Pages 1067-1070