Katata (堅田)

Katata is a name of a town in Otsu City, Shiga Prefecture. At present, this town is divided into 1-2 Chome, Katata, 1-6 Chome, Honkatata and 1-3 Chome, Imakatata. katata faces Lake Biwa and was prosperous as a center of water transportation system in the Middle Ages. Katata no Rakugan (Sweeping-down Geese in Katata)' is also famous as one of the 'Omi Hakkei' (Eight Views of Omi).

In these days, Katata is a central point of the northern part of Otsu City, and has developed remarkably as a residential area. At the lakefront is Biwako Ohashi Bridge. Ukimi-do is a famous sightseeing spot.


Katata is placed in the stricture and has Katata Hills behind it. Katata was prosperous as an important point for traffic on Lake Biwa when water transportation was the main means of transportation.

In ancient times, Katata belonged to Shiga County, Omi Province. In the late 11th century, fishermen of Katata became under the control of Shimogamo-sha Shrine (Katata Mikuriya) and then manors owned by Enryaku-ji Temple on Mt. Hiei were established in Katata and its neighboring regions.

After the Jokyu War, although Nobutsuna SASAKI was appointed as Jito (estate steward) there, both Enryaku-ji Temple and Shimogamo-sha Shrine decided to rebel against him: Enryaku-ji Temple established Kojo-seki (a checkpoint on the lake) at Katata to keep non-Enryaku-ji-temple ships away and Shimogamo-sha Shrine guaranteed economic and traffic privileges of Katata by protecting fishery and navigation rights for fishermen and shipowners of Katata. Afterwards, the Sasaki clan (Nobutsuna's clan), appointed as Omi shugo (the Governor of Omi Province), fought severely against them for fishery and navigation rights of Katata.

After the Middle Ages on, in Katata Sho (manor), three So-soshiki (autonomous organizations of a village) called 'Katata Sanpo' (later, 'Katata Shiho' because of another organization's joinig), were formed. In Katata, they governed themselves, by 'Katata-shu' (autonomous organization in Katata) composed of Tonobara-shu (a group of Jizamurai [local samurai]) and Zenjin-shu (a group of artisans, tradesmen and farmers) and they were also called 'Katata Kozoku' (autonomous organization in Katata). Tonobara-shu were engaged in water transportation: they owned their fleet called Katata-sen (a group of ships in Katata) and maintained Katata-shu's leading position by checking other areas surrounding the lake and sometimes even by pirating. On the other hand, in Zenjin-shu, some gained wealth by trade and craft and built a coexistence relationship between Tonobara-shu.

In the Muromachi period, Tonobara-shu were delegated in charge of Katata checkpoint; afterwards they gained the right to get a kind of transit duty, called Uwanori, in compensation for not pirating non-Katata ships. Around that time, the Rinzai sect became popular, especially in Tonobara-shu, mainly composed of the samurai class people, and Shozui-ji Temple was established. This temple is famouns since Ikkyu Sojun went training there in his youth. Around the same time, Honpuku-ji Temple of the Jodo Shinshu sect (the True Pure Land Sect of Buddhism) was established in Katata. In spite of some priests' temporarily conversion to the Rinzai sect, Honpuku-ji Temple was deeply trusted by Rennyo, the eighth chief priest of Hongan-ji Temple because Hoju (1397 to 1480) and his son, Myoken (1445-1509), the third and fourth head of the family, respectively, returned to the Jodo Shinshu sect and decided to work for Hongan-ji Temple. When Otani Hongan-ji Temple was destroyed by Enryaku-ji Temple in the religious persecution in the Kansei Era, Rennyo fled to Katata. Rennyo, supported by Zenjin-shu, became so influential that he built a power called 'Katada-monto' (followers).

However, Enryaku-ji Temple got irritated by the fact that Katata people sheltered Rennyo, who Enryaku-ji Temple criticized as an 'Enemy of Buddhist.'
In addition to that, Enryaku-ji Temple had been disgruntled about the fact that Tonobara-shu gained Uwanori without Enryaku-ji Temple's permission. In 1468, under such a situation, Katata-shu seized the cargo of the fleet that was carrying wood because the shipowners refused to pay Uwanori: Okura Bugyo (the magistrate of storehouse) of the Muromachi bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun) had ordered the wood in order to reestablish 'Hana no gosho' (residence of Shogun in Kyoto). Sei taishogun (literally, "great general who subdues the eastern barbarians"), Yoshimasa ASHIKAGA of the Muromachi bakufu was furious to hear that and ordered Enryaku-ji Temple, the lord of Katata, to punish Katata. On April 25, 1468, Enryaku-ji Temple set fire on Katata. It is said that almost all the areas of Katata, including the areas that supported Enryaku-ji Temple, were burned down and the residents fled to Oki-shima Island. It is called Katata Ozeme (attack on Katata). Two years after that, when a conflict between Enryaku-ji Temple and Sakamoto (Otsu City), south to Katata, occurred, Enryaku-ji Temple compromised and allowed the restoration of Katata based on the condition that Katata would pay a reward to Enryaku-ji Temple. Tonobara-shu, who suffered a crushing defeat in the battle, lost power while Zenjin-shu made their power as influential as that of Tonobara-shu.

As a result, Katata-monto, organized by many Zenjin-shu, majority in Katata, enhanced their power and took the leadership position in Katata-shu. However, in the Sengoku period (period of warring states), Honpuku-ji Temple, which was in a commanding position in Katata-shu, was excommunicated three times by a slander of Renjun (Rennyo's sixth son and Shonyo's maternal grandfather), the guardian of Shonyo, 10th chief priest, who led believers in Otsu. Honpuku-ji Temple was robbed of the leadership of believers, territory and fortune by Shotoku-ji Temple (later Jikei-ji Temple), which was under the control of Shonyo (refer to the Kyoroku-Tenbun War and Katata Honpuku-ji Temple Excommunication Incident). As a result, Jikei-ji Temple took the leadership position. Honpuku-ji Temple was later reestablished and the 11th chief priest, Meishiki (Senna), who lived in the middle of the Edo period and belonged to Hongan-ji school, was also famous as a disciple of Basho MATSUO.

Katata, which was described as 'a remarkably rich town' by Luis FROIS owing to its water transportation in the Sengoku period, joined anti-Nobunaga camp when 'anti-Nobunaga network' was formed after Nobunaga's going to Kyoto, because of the relationships between Hongan-ji and Enryaku-ji Temples and the Asakura clans, with whom Katata people bartered. Nobunaga separated Tonobara-shu from Zenjin-shu and put the former under his control: the former had been discontented with Zenjin-shu-led autonomy. Nobunaga took control of Katata fleet and two years later, together with Tonobara-shu, attacked Zenjin-shu and temples of the Shinshu sect and made them surrender. Concerning economic privilege, Oda, Toyotomi and Tokugawa (Edo) Governments basically inherited the former system by placing it under Otsu Daikan (regional officer of Otsu).

In 1698, when Masataka HOTTA was appointed to the lord of the Katata of 10,000 koku, he established Jinya (regional government office) and then the Katata Domain. Although the Hotta clan was transferred to Sano Domain of Shimotsuke Province with additional properties in 1826, the estate of Katata was maintained as before and afterwards Katata Domain dealt with internal problems while Otsu Daikan held talks with the surrounding harbor areas including Otsu. However, Katata gradually lost its power, owing to the rise of other domains surrounding Lake Biwa that were protected by some authorities such as the Hikone Domain in the late Edo period and internal conflicts between shipowners and fishermen and farmers and merchants (around the transfer of Hotta clan to Sano, the conflict between farmers and fishermen developed into a large-scale riot).

In 1889 Katata-mura Village, Shiga County was established and in 1901 it was changed into Katata-cho Town. After the Second World War, on April 1, 1967, Katata-cho Town was merged into Otsu City. Many people in Katata are still engaged in fishing industry. Katata also attracts attention as a sightseeing spot.

[Original Japanese]