After the order to abandon castles was issued in 1873, a large number of Japanese castles were demolished during the next two years. By 1875 at the Matsue castle all the surrounding buildings and gates were already demolished, but then a few locals decided to buy the remaining main keep.
Since the demolished castles were sold as construction material, the authorities agreed to sell the castle for 180 yen. How much was this? Not much, because when the yen was adopted as currency in 1871, its parity was equal to one dollar. After the silver devaluation in 1873, the yen fell constantly, reaching about half a dollar in 1897. So, the Matsue castle, one of today’s 12 surviving Japanese castles, survived by being bought for less than 180 dollars…
Yesterday’s Japan Photo: