In the autum of 1496 (Toyotomi period), the priest Rennyo of the Jodo-shinshu Buddhist sect built monk's quarters near the site of the present day Osaka Castle. The monk;s quarters grew into a big temple called Osaka Hongan-ji (Ishiyama Hongan-ji). This temple exerted great influence throughout the country during its period of civil wars. In 1580, however, Osaka Hongan-ji Temple fell to Nobunaga Oda, who was then rising in power. But ust two years later, after coming under attack by his retainer Mitsuhide Akechi, Nobunaga committed ritual suicide (seppuku or hara-kiri) at Honnoji Temple in Kyoto. Hideyoshi Toyotomi then succeeded Nobunaga in the campaign to unite the entire country, and siezed control of Osaka. In 1583, Hideyoshi began building a large-scale castle at the site of Hongan-ji, and the result was the magnificient Osaka Castle, unprecedented in its excellence. However, during the Summer War of 1615, some 17 years after Hideyoshi's death, Osaka Castle was completely destroyed by fire.
Following the Summar War, Tadaakira Matsudaira possessed Osaka for a time. Then Shogun Hidetada Tokugawa placed Osaka under the direct control of the government, and he started to rebuild Osaka Castle in 1620. The construction was finally completed in 1629.
Just 36 years later, the main tower was struck by lightning and was lost in the fire that ensued. The main tower was not reconstructed during the Edo period. In the final days of the Tokugawa regime, funds raised by the townspeople of Osaka and its neighboring areas made possible large-scale projects such as reconstruction of the Tammon turret. Yet many Osaka Castle structures were later destroyed by fire during the turbulent transition to Imperial Restoration.
In 1931, the main tower was rebuilt in accordance with the wishes of the citizens of Osaka. Made of reinforced concrete and 55 meters tall, the reconstructed main tower was exposed to intense bombing raids during World War II (as there were many military installations in te vicinity). But even though most other castle structures were lost, the main tower fortunately escaped damage. After the war, in 1948, Osaka Castle began a new era as an "Historic Site Park". The main tower was reopened to the public, repair work on the remaining buildings was undertaken, and a new museum was established.
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