There are many stone walls, including castle walls in Japan. They differ, depending on their purpose, era and so on. I want to share the three points of environment, craftsmanship and structure of Ishigaki/ stonewalls in Snow Country.
First of all, since the Uono River runs through the center of Minamiuonuma, accompanied by streams including the Noborikawa (Nobori River) and the Mizunashi River, between high mountains in the east and low hills in the west, it is rather easy to get suitable stones. Plus, there are many residents with properties spacious enough for building walls along their border.
Secondly, we can see many beautiful stone walls in Old Shiozawa near the Noborikawa. It seems due to the fact, as explained, that there were many works and chances to train sophisticated craftsmen.
Last but not least, specialists say our style in Uonuma area is unique. But, I think there is something in common between castle walls which have a curved slope on the front surface called Mushagaeshi (‘soldier-return’). At the bottom it is easy to climb, but the higher and steeper the slope becomes, even well-trained ninja/soldiers are forced to retreat.
Mushagaeshi walls are also very beautiful and stable because the front of each stone touches the stone beside it. The total amount of moment of each stone, which means the length times power (M=LxP) is maximised; so that it becomes as strong as possible (‘moment’ is a technical term used in physics, it is a measure of torque. That is, the amount of force acting on an object).
To recap, I hope the people who visit our district can check our stone walls with their own eyes from the standpoint of my story. I strongly believe that the stone walls in Snow Country will be preserved forever as our legacy.