島田の花火と刀
Fireworks and sword in Shimada

 

 

時は江戸、東海道五十三次の宿場である駿河国(するがのくに)の島田宿は、産業や文化発展の要となっていた大河、大井川の左岸にありました。当時東海道屈指の荒れ川だった大井川には橋がありませんでした。「箱根八里は馬でも越すが、越すに越されぬ大井川」と詠まれたように、街道筋の難所の一つとしてその名を知られていました。

大雨で増水すると川の往来が禁止される「川留め」になり、江戸から京都方面へ上る旅人が足止めされることで、島田宿はさながら江戸のような賑わいを見せていました。

島田宿での川留めの際に、旅人は旅籠で過ごし、郷愁を誘う夕刻のささやかな慰めとして、大井川流域で手に入る赤松の炭と砂鉄のほか、硝石や硫黄などの和火材(わびざい)を細い葦の管に詰めた花火を楽しんでいたそうです。


また、島田は戦国時代から江戸時代にかけて、幾人もの刀鍛冶の名工を輩出した土地でもあります。弊社発祥の地の付近(現在の地名:祇園町)は、島田鍛冶を代表する刀工一族が居を構えていた場所です。

中でも島田鍛冶の棟梁「義助(よしすけ)」は、最も名声が高く、初代義助は備前伝(※)の作風から後に相州伝(※)や美濃伝(※)を取り入れた作風へと、時代の流れを取り入れた研究熱心な刀鍛冶師でした。

刀鍛冶にとっても、刀の材料となる質の良い砂鉄と鍛錬に必要な高温で燃える赤松の炭が必要だったことから、ここに花火と刀の共通項を見ることができます。

同じ頃、鉄砲や火薬、そして観賞用の花火が伝来します。

古文書「駿府政事録」には慶長18年(1613年)、当時の中国の王朝、明の商人がイギリス人を連れて駿河国の徳川家康を訪ね、城内で花火を鑑賞したと書かれています。
定説「日本で最初に花火を観た人物は徳川家康」の根拠となる記録です。この花火が徳川家の鉄砲組を感化し、駿河国で花火の製作が始まったと言われています。


そして、義助へ。

この度、花火と縁の深い静岡は島田の地で、長い期間に渡り試行錯誤を繰り返し、かつての旅人たちが楽しんでいた花火の再現がようやく完成に至りました。

金色の小鈴の花火や柳の火花が舞うように咲く、可愛らしさと情緒を兼ね備えた「粋/華/極」と、鮮やかな鉄の金花が長時間楽しめる「神威 金/銀」の4種類です。

これらを総括したブランド名を
島田刀鍛冶の名工への敬意を表して「義助」と命名しました。

先人の知恵や技術を活かし、色彩や閃光の様相を現代調に仕上げた
和のこころを今に受け継ぐ、駿河伝統手持花火です。

どうぞごゆっくりご堪能くださいませ。


※備前伝:平安時代から室町時代にかけて、日本一の日本刀の産地として栄えた備前国(現在の岡山県東部)と、その近辺で輩出された刀工による日本刀の鍛錬法(※)
※相州伝:鎌倉幕府の成立を機に相模国(現在の神奈川県)で生まれた日本刀の鍛錬法
※美濃伝:美濃国(現在の岐阜県)で南北朝時代に生まれ、戦国時代に急激に繁栄した日本刀の鍛錬法
※鍛錬:叩いて伸ばし、折り曲げて重ね合わせ、さらに叩いて1枚にするのを繰り返して金属を打ち、鍛える工程

 

 

In the Edo Period, Shimada-shuku, a post-town of the Fifty-three Stations on the Tokaido highway, was located on the left bank of a broad river called the Ōi River, where there was a centre of industry and culture. Although the Ōi River was an unruly river, it was not bridged. As the poem below indicates, it was known as one of the most difficult post stations of the Fifty-three Stations on the Tokaido to pass through.

“Although horses can manage to get over eight ri (31 km) of Hakone, the Ōi River is even harder to cross.”

Heavy rains would cause a rise in water level, and people were banned from coming and going across the river. Shimada-shuku then bustled as if it were the city of Edo itself, with crowds of people on the way from Kyoto to Edo who had no choice but to stay in Shimada-shuku.

During the periods when crossing the river in Shimada-shuku was forbidden, travellers would stay at the inn in Shimada-shuku. They found some small comfort in the fireworks created by stuffing thin stems of reed with “Wabizai” (materials for fireworks) such as saltpetre, and sulphur as well as local iron-sand and charcoal made from the Japanese red pine trees found on the banks of the Ōi River.


Shimada was a place where many renowned swordsmiths emerged between the Age of Civil Wars and the Edo Period. There used to be renowned swordsmith families of the Shimada Blacksmith around where our company is located (currently Gion-cho).

At that time, Yoshisuke was a distinguished master blacksmith among the Shimada Blacksmith Group. The first Yoshisuke was an enthusiastic swordsmith researcher, too. He was aware of the trends of the time and adopted first the Bizenden* style, then the Sousyuuden* style and, later, the Minoden* style.

Again, we can see here a commonality between fireworks and swords, since swordsmiths also had to prepare high-quality iron sand and charcoal made from Japanese red pine trees in order to produce the high temperatures required for forging.

At the same time, guns and gunpowder, and fireworks for pleasure, were imported from China.

There is a statement in one ancient document entitled "Records of Sunpu Government" that in 1613, a merchant from a dynasty of Ming in China visited Ieyasu Tokugawa in Suruga Province with an Englishman and displayed fireworks for Ieyasu Tokugawa inside the castle.
This record is historical proof of an accepted opinion that “Ieyasu Tokugawa was the first person to have seen fireworks in Japan”. It is said that it was the fireworks here that motivated Teppo-gumi (the Gun Squad) to start producing fireworks in Suruga Province.


Time has passed and we will move on to the modern “Yoshisuke”.

After years of trial and error here in Shimada, Shizuoka Prefecture, where there is a strong relationship with fireworks, we have finally reproduced the fireworks which the travellers enjoyed in days gone by.

There are 4 kinds altogether - “Iki/Hana/Kiwami” fireworks that display as small round golden bells and weeping willow trees that sparkle as if dancing in the air. With “Kamui Gold/Silver”, you can enjoy the brilliant golden flowers made by iron powder.

We named these fireworks “Yoshisuke” as an integrated brand name of the above four types of fireworks in honour of the renowned swordsmith of the Shimada Blacksmith Group.

These are the traditional handheld fireworks of Suruga Province which we are passing on today as the Japanese spirit. By making use of our ancestors' wisdom and skill, the colours and sparkling patterns of fireworks are completed in a modern style.

Please take your time to fully appreciate “Yoshisuke”.

Note:
*Bizenden: Name of the method of tempering Japanese swords devised by the swordsmiths who appeared in Bizen Province (currently the Eastern part of Okayama Prefecture) and its surroundings. Bizen Province prospered as a region producing the best Japanese swords in the Heian and Muromachi eras. (*)
*Soshuden: Name of the method of tempering Japanese swords devised initially in Sagami Province (currently Kanagawa Prefecture) at the time of the establishment of the Kamakura bakufu (a Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun).
*Minoden: Name of the method of tempering Japanese swords devised in Mino Province (currently Gifu Prefecture) in the period of the Northern and Southern Courts that suddenly flourished in the Age of Civil Wars.
*Tanren: Name of the forging process in which the metal is struck and folded repeatedly to make a forged sheet.