NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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2007/1/23


俳聖殿 Haiseiden Haisei-den

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Haisei-den was built in 1942 to celebrate the 300th anniversary of the birth of the famous haiku poet Matsuo Basho. It is located in Iga City, Mie prefecture. The building has been designated as a Cultural Asset of Iga.

Haisei-den is in Ueno Park (the site of Iga Ueno Castle). The building has an unusual design: it is in the shape of Basho on one of his trips. A roof corresponds to his hat, the octagonal eaves to his sash, the pillars to his stick, and a wooden frame to his face. Inside, there is a life-sized statue in Iga ware of Basho seated.

Katsu Kawasaki, a councillor born in Mie, built this strange and magnificent building with money from his own pocket.

On October 12 every year, on the anniversary of Basho's death, a Basho Festival is held to honor his memory and achievements. Moreover, haiku and renku poems from all over Japan are dedicated to Basho's statue, and the statue is opened to the public on this day only.

This building expresses both the traveler and architecture at the same time. There is no similar example and Haisei-den is a masterpiece of unusual architectural art.
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