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2005/05/12

Himeji Castle(姫路城)

先日訪れた姫路城に関する英文より

・Special Features of Himeji Castle
Himeji Castle is nicknamed "White Heron(白鷺)" Castle because of its white walls which are covered with white plaster(漆喰). The reason for using white plaster is that it is fireproof(耐火). Like other surviving(現存する) Japanese castles, Himeji Castle is built of wood, not stones, and so fire prevention is very important. As well as(~だけでなく) the fact that white plaster has fireproofing capabilities, it is also considered to be a strong reinforcement(補強材). Therefore it covers both walls and almost every outside structure from eaves(軒) to pillars(柱). The castle is built on the top of a hill called Himeyama, which is 45.6 meters above sea level. The main tower, which is the center and the symbol of the castle, is 46.4 meters high; namely(すなわち), it stands 92 meters above sea level. Himeji Castle is famous for not only this huge main tower but also the highly effective and complicated(複雑な) defensive design, which is just like a maze(迷路). Even today, with the route clearly marked, many visitors are easily lost. You, too, may be lost in the labyrinth(迷路) of this virtual tour.

・History
The history of the castle began by the construction of a fort(要塞) by Norimura Akamatsu, the ruler(支配者) of Harima District(地方) (Himeji region) in 1333. Later in 1581, a three-storied(3層) castle was built by Hideyoshi Toyotomi when the country was in a state of continual(繰り返される) conflict(争い). In 1601 Terumasa Ikeda, son-in -law of the Shogun Ieyasu Tokugawa, started rebuilding the castle into a five storied(5層) main tower with three small towers since Himeji was a very important defensive position for the Tokugawa shogunate government. It took Ikeda eight years to complete the reconstruction. Fortunately, Himeji Castle has never been damaged by warfare(戦争), even during the Second World War. That is one of the reasons why Himeji Castle has kept its original form for nearly 400 years. In 1993, Himeji Castle was registered on UNESCO's World Heritage list, because it is a wooden castle structure of incomparable worth in the world and because the whole structure including towers, stone ramparts(城壁), and earthen(土製の) walls are extremely(とても) well preserved.

http://www.himeji-castle.gr.jp/index/English/index.html

mazeとlabyrinthという単語が出てきました。OALDで比較してみましょう。
maze: a system of paths separated by walls or HEDGES built in a park or garden, that is designed so that it is difficult to find your way through. - We got lost in the maze. - (figurative) The building is a maze of corridors.
labyrinth: a complicated series of paths, which it is difficult to find your way through. - We lost our way in the labyrinth of streets. - (figurative) a labyrinth of rules and regulations.
maze[発音meiz]は、壁や垣根などで作られた迷路のことを言うんですね。labyrinthはよく迷宮と訳すように、mazeのように限定せず、もっと広い意味でしょうか。

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