|KEY WORD : architecture / castles|
A castle entrance barrier. A small barrier or compound, built in front of a castle
gate *koguchi 虎口,
which protects it from enemy attack and provides safety for the entering and departing
castle forces. In this respect it functions like a barbican gate complex *masugata
桝形, but has a stronger offensive orientation. Typically, a moat is dug in front
of the umadashi. The bridges that cross between the umadashi and
the gateway as well as between the umadashi and the outside of the castle
are both usually earthen bridges *dobashi 土橋, that cannot readily be destroyed.
In a flatland castle, water-filled moats lie on either side of the umadashi.
In a mountain castle, the moats are dry. When the mountain side of a mountain
castle site is very steep without enough space to dig dry moats on either side
of the umadashi, the rear moat is sometimes replaced by a wall.
Umadashi seem to have developed from association with the simple mountain castle *yamajiro 山城, type to the more complex types related to the evolution of flatland castles *hirajiro 平城. Early modern military scholars have also classified the various stages of development from the simple to the complex used calligraphic ideograms to reflect the classification system: grass sou 草, running gyou 行 and formal shin 真 (eg: umadashi no shin-gyou-sou 馬出の真行草).
The simplest type consists of a plain earthen embankment that has no moat in front of the entrance. It is called *kazashi かざし or kazashi doi かざし土居. Sometimes the embankment is curved at either end to enclose partially a space in front of the castle entrance. Another simple type is *azuchi umadashi 的山馬出, a straight earthen embankment or a straight wall, typically with a moat on the outside, that is built in front of the castle entrance. More complicated examples are built in front, to the left and right sides of the gate. Sometimes these too turn back towards the castles on either side of the entrance. Usually the entrances into the umadashi on either side have no gates or wooden doors. Typically these also have moats on either side. A semicircular configuration is called *maru-umadashi 丸馬出. A squared off umadashi is called *kaku-umadashi 角馬出.
The many variations of the umadashi reflects the important strategic role it played in castle design. Other types include: multiple umadashi *kasane-umadashi 重馬出; intersection umadashi *tsuji-umadashi 辻馬出, and corner umadashi, sumi-umadashi 隅馬出.
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