Kōgoishi (神篭石 or 神籠石) are
earthenwork structures, on a stone foundation, constructed in Japan
during the Asuka period, particularly
in areas around Fukuoka, on the
island of Kyūshū.
" means "stones of divine protection", a
name given them by the Meiji period
, who conjectured that they served as spiritual or
practical protection for sacred sites.
Kōgoishi date to the 6th or 7th
century CE, and are found predominantly in northern Kyūshū and on
the shores of the Inland
The longest one to be found, at 2.3 km in
length, lies near the summit of Mt.
, near Fukuoka. The stones there
are roughly one meter long, 50 cm high and 70 cm thick.
Scholars after Tsuboi determined that the structures are most
likely the remains of practical, military fortifications, and were
unlikely to have significant spiritual connections. The style and
form of the ruins matches many in Korea; the period when these were
built was one of flourishing contact with Korea, and it is
theorized that Korean stoneworkers, artisans, and architects may
have played a role in the construction of these fortresses. Some
scholars believe that some kōgoishi
were built in
anticipation of an attack from Korea, but little evidence has been
found to confirm this.
- Frederic, Louis (2002). "Kōgoishi." Japan
Encyclopedia. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University
- Kougo-ishi at JAANUS. Japanese Architecture
and Art Net Users System. Accessed 17 July 2007.