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Two shrines in Osaka have their stories.

December 13, 2009 7 comments

Last week, I had a happy time talking with Mugami. Thank you so much, Mugami, and I’m looking forward to talking with you again next Thursday.

While talking, I promised one thing with him. It’s to write an article about joumon era. I was going to the Nagoya museum today in order to learn joumon era. In the museum, they exhibit kaizuka, in which people in joumon era threw away a lot of thing, such as bones of animals or fish, shells, broken plates made from earth. Unfortunately, one of my client had trouble and it made me run back and forth today. Sorry, Mugami, I’ll get next chance to learn joumon era and try to write an article.

Instead of joumon era, I’ll put other topic on Japan up in this blog. I’ve already written that I went to the concert of Eric Martin the other day. Before the concert, I dropped by some shrines in Osaka. Osaka gokoku jinja and Osaka tenmanguu.

Maybe it’s quite difficult to introduce gokoku jinja to you in detail because gokoku jinja is deeply related to World War 2. I was born in 1974, so I have no experience in wars. However, there are still many people sufffering from side effects about the war. I don’t know if my descriptions will get wrong, and someone might feel bad. I’d like you to let me know when I was wrong.

gokoku jinja (by the way, I don’t know if I should choose ‘is’ or ‘are’ when I put Japanese words on my sentences as subjects) is built in order to enshrine people died for wars or for Japan. Basically, each gokoku jinja is established in each prefectures, however, some prefectures such as Hokkaido have 2 or 3 gokoku jinja. Long time ago, before we adopted the system ‘prefecture’, we had other way to divide our country. This old custom affected the number of gokoku jinja as I said. Incidentally, there is no gokoku jinja in Tokyo and instead of it, there is yasukuni jinja. You can tell the defference between gokoku jinja and yasukuni jinja. The former is the place where only Japanese are enshrined. The latter is the place where not only Japanese but also other people from other countries are enshrined. The gorvenment used to make people from other countries change their nationalities into Japan around when the Pacific War. In yasukuni, such people are enshrined.

Some people at that time(maybe even now) think that people died in wars for Japan or died for Japan will become eirei, as the word treating died people who did great things while they were alive, especially did great things for our country. People enshrined in gokoku jinja and yasukuni jinja are treated as eirei.

After Osaka gokoku jinja, I went to Osaka tenmanguu. You can see many tenmanguu at many places in Japan. Michizane Sugawara, the person who lived in heian era, is enshrined in each tenmanguu. It is said that Michizane Sugawara was so smart. I guess I should choose ‘genius’ rather than the word ‘smart.’ Every year, people, especially people who want to pass the entrance examinations, visit tenmanguu in order to share his intelligence. I’ve ever written the article when I visited kitano tenmanguu in Kyoto. Every time I visit there, I write my wish about examinations which I’m going to take on ema which is wooden board.

There is one legend about Michizane Sugawara. He was so smart(genius?) that he was promoted so fast in the gorvenment, what we call, as one of bureaucrats at that time. The power struggle ofcourse happened at that time. He was also involved with it because of his intelligent. The higher his postion in the government got, the bigger other people’s envy grew. At last he got suspected that he robbed many authorities from the emperor, and he got sentenced. After he died, a few emperors died continuously and one building of the government in Kyoto was hit by a stroke of lightning. By this lightning, some bureaucrats who seemed to be related to the conspiracy about Michizane were died. People at that time thought Michizane‘s anger let this happen. He treated as raijin(God of thunder) since. People built shrines in order to enshrine Michizane as tenjin sama and they call the shrines tenmanguu.

I got each signature and stamp at Osaka gokoku jinja and Osaka tenmanguu. I’ll show you photos of these shrines as well.

Osaka gokoku jinja
This is the gate called torii. All shrines have their own torii(I guess).
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This is the main hall.
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Osaka tenmanguu
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This is Osaka gokoku jinja‘s signature. I’m proud of the writer in Aichi gokoku jinja. His signature is better than Osaka‘s. (The left side one is Osaka‘s and the right one is Aichi‘s)
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This is Osaka tenmanguu‘s signature. I like it as well.
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Categories: Japanese Culture Tags: ,

Striding the center of the bridge! …at the Ikkyuu temple.

Do you know the Japanese animation, “Ikkyuu-san”? It’s the comical but heartwarming story, in which Ikkyuu-san is pregnant with wit while his religious training.

Ikkyuu-san was actually not such a character in the real. He dedicated himself to Rinzai Zen sect and was known as his funny behavior opposed to traditional Buddhism styles.

For example, Bonzes, which are Buddhist priests, must shave their hair, not drink alcohol, and not do sex, however, he did as much forbidden things by Buddhism as possible because he criticized traditional Buddhism discipline. He thought it’s important to feel free, not to suppress myself.

I went to the Ikkyuuji temple which has his grave.

I was surprised with one thing. Ikkyuu-san a descendant of emperors. As a matter of fact, he is officially not recorded as the descendant of emperor because he was illegitimately born. The priest of this temple, also a curator, he told me that the Gokomatu emperor, who is Ikkyuu-san’s parent, didn’t want him to involve in political wars. At that time, Japan was divided by two emperors in Nanbokutyou era.

He’s a descendant of emperors…so surprisingly, this temple is under control by Imperial Household Agency (which is Kunaityo).

I took a few photos in this temple, so I’ll show you them.

The sound of silence…talks to me something…
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Japanese loves gardens like this…
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Ikkyuu-san in younger age, He probably said, “Don’t be haisty. Let’s take a break.” (I’m sure Only Japanese can follow this lines…hihihi)
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You can see the word “Kunaityou” written in Chinese character at the last line.
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Yoshimitsu Ashikaga, who was the third general in Muromachi era, orderd Ikkyuu-san to catch this tiger in the painting. Ikkyuu-san humbly said to Yoshimitsu, “I’ll get this tiger after you put it out of this painting.”
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This is a famous bridge and sign saying “kono hashi wataruna (means, Don’t go across the bridge.)”. In Japanese, “hashi” has many meanings, such as bridges, chopsticks, edge. We can find their differences with their Chiniese characters and accents. Take a look at the sign. It’s written in Hiragana, right? So you can interpret “hashi” as either “bridge”, “chopsticks”, or “edge”. Me? Ofcourse I walked across the center of the bridge, not the edge of it…as if Ikkyuu-san did.
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This is the opening song of Ikkyuu-san in animation. You can see the edge of the bridge and the tiger in painting I showed you above.

Categories: Japanese Culture Tags: ,
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