koguchi 虎口
KEY WORD : architecture / castles
Lit. tiger mouth. A castle entrance. An early modern term likening the castle gateway to the tooth and fang of a tiger, alluding to the difficulty needed to penetrate the armed garrison on guard. Probably originally written 小口 (little mouth). Because the entrance and egress were vital to the defense of a castle, the design and placement of the koguchi entailed crucial strategic considerations. Certainly the smaller it was the better it could be defended. Castles, however, were not only used for withdrawal and security *in-no-koguchi 陰の虎口, but had an offensive role as well *you-no-koguchi 陽の虎口. As warfare evolved, the koguchi became larger and included various contingent strategic installations.

*yokoya 横矢, *masugata 桝形, *umadashi 馬出 

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