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Kōchi Prefectural Museum of History

Built on the ruins of Okō Castle, this museum has many exhibits related to the Chōsokabe clan.

Kōchi Prefectural Museum of History

The ruins of Okō Castle stand on a steep hill to the northeast of Kōchi city in the foothills of the Shikoku Mountains. Chōsokabe Motochika was born here in 1539. From this base, he subdued the other clans, first of Tosa (today’s Kōchi Prefecture), then of all Shikoku. However, he was unable to resist the forces of Toyotomi Hideyoshi when that warlord decided to add Shikoku to his fief, and Chōsokabe became his vassal and was left only with Tosa.

Kochi_Prefectural_Museum_of_History_old_Chosokabe_Motochika

All that remains of the castle is a number of flat areas around the hill, with patterns of stones marking where the buildings were. The view over the Kokubu River, the surrounding plain, and the Pacific Ocean is spectacular.

The well-appointed Museum of History beneath the castle hill has an area on the second floor dedicated to the Chōsokabe clan, including actual armour and weapons, letters, and images, the highlight of which is a life-size seated statue of Motochika in his later years. There’s a dramatic image of Chōsokabe Nobuchika calmly drinking from a river in a storm of arrows. He died in an ambush aged 22. Although there’s no English information, the exhibits somehow convey the ambition and dynamism of the family.

On the third floor is a large room with objects related to Kōchi Prefecture from the stone age to the present day. The exhibits include prehistoric pottery and spear heads, Buddhist statuary, dioramas of early agriculture, an alphabet written by John Manjirō, fishing and whaling equipment, and funerary and folk ritual items from the last century. There are also some entertaining if grotesque masks, and a selection of Shōwa period home electronics. The exhibits are attractively presented and convey the spirit of their times very effectively.

Information

Name in Japanese: 高知県立歴史民俗資料館

Pronunciation: kōchi kenritsu rekishi minzoku shiryōkan

Address: 1099-1 Okō, Nankoku, Kōchi 783-0044 Kōchi

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