NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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高尾山 Takao-san Mt. Takao

Jp En

Mt. Takao with an altitude of 599 m is located in Hachioji City, Tokyo. It is designated as Meijinomori-Takao Quasi-National Park, which is the starting point of the Tokai Shizen Hodo (the Tokai Nature Path) leading to Meijinomori-Minoo Quasi-National Park in Osaka.

As the laurel forests and deciduous forests in this mountain have been protected by the government since the Edo period (1603-1868), this is the treasure trove of natural flora and fauna. The mountain provides a tranquil resting spot for the people in the area around Tokyo.

Mt. Takao has also been worshipped as a holy site for a long time. Takaosan Yakuoin Yukiji Temple located in the mountainside is a Daihonzan (the major head temple) of the Chizan school of the Shingon sect. It is one of the three major temples of the Shingon sect in the Kanto region; others are Naritasan Shinshoji Temple and Kawasaki Daishi, Heikenji Temple.

Being close to Tokyo Metropolitan area, the mountain has been explored by a lot of scholars including a biologist Tomitaro Makino and a lot of new plants were discovered first in this mountain.
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【哲】 Tetsu Wise, Sagacious

Jp En

The upper part of this character now is 折 (‘oru: to break off, to bend’), in the previous character forms, however, it is considerably different. 斥 is the form of an ax, 扌, however, in this case, does not mean a hand. That the ax is used with the hands is common sense and does not have to be mentioned in full detail. Here, it shows the object being made with the ax.
Like at the Itsukushima Shrine on Miyajima, there are so called god ladders to be used by the Kami (gods) when ascending to and ascending from heaven. It is a wooden ladder as one often finds at sacred places in China. The扌 of the upper part of 哲 is a god ladder and shows the making of a gods ladder with an ax. As the 口 of the lower part is a receptacle for putting in ‘norito’ prayer writings, this character represents the heart and mental state when welcoming the gods. Therefore, since antiquity it had the meanings ‘akiraka: clear’ and ‘kenmei: wise.’ This adjective was also often used for kings. There also is the character form with 心 ‘heart’ instead of the 口 ‘norito’ prayer receptacle which in a representative ancient dictionary is defined as having the meaning of “It is 敬 ‘Kei: reverence’.” The Zhu Xi school (in Japan ‘Shushigaku’) which exerted profound influence on East Asian thought for hundreds of years and became the political thought and philosophy of the Japanese Tokugawa government from the 17th to the 19th century had made 敬 the guiding principle. The meaning of this character 敬 thus is defined as identical with this previous character form of 悊.
Also, long before this, there was the variant character form 喆 (tetsu). Based on the dictionary Shuō Wén Jiě Zì, Setsumon Kaiji (Explanation of Simple Graphs and Analysis of Complex Characters) from the later Han period, Dr. Shirakawa also introduces the equivalent 嚞 made up of three 吉.
left: bronze inscription
right: so called Old Script from the Shuō Wén Jiě Zì
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一関城 Ichinoseki-jyou Ichinoseki Castle Ruins

Jp En

After the Kasai clan, the ruler of the southern part of Tohoku region, was destroyed by Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s Oshu Shioki (punishment given to the powerful clans in Tohoku are to prevent their expansion) in 1590, Ichinoseki Castle was given to a Hideyoshi’s retainer, the Kimura clan, and then became a part of the Date domain. In 1604, Date Masamune transferred his uncle, Rusu Masakage, to this castle, but later in the Kanbun era (1661-1672) his 10th son, Munekatsu was feoffed to this castle. Munekatsu, however, was exiled to Tosa province (present-day Kochi Pref.), being accused of causing Date Disturbance in 1671. In 1682, Tamura Tatsuaki, Masamune’s grandson, was transferred from the Iwanuma domain to this castle, and his 10 successors had resided at this castle until the Meiji Restoration in 1868. The ruin of Honmaru (the main castle) called “Senjojiki” is a rectangular land of 100 m by 50 m at the altitude of 90 m above sea level. A ruin of dry moat can be seen on the adjacent hill at the same level as Honmaru, and several other outer compounds were presumably arranged on the terraced land below Honmaru. Koguchi (the main gate) was located in the northeast to Senjojiki. A square land in the southwest is presumed to have been another outer compound such as a watch tower. Now at the side of a small hill in the west of the castle ruins stands Tamura Shrine built by the Tamura clan.
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福山城 Fukuyama-jyou Fukuyama Castle

Jp En

Fukuyama Castle was located in Marunouchi, Fukuyama City, Hiroshima Pref. This castle is the most perfect example of the Edo architectural style. It is designated as a National Historic Site and counted as one of Japan’s 100 Fine Castles. The castle was built in 1619 by Mizuno Katsunari, Tokugawa Ieyasu’s cousin and the first domain lord of the Fukuyama domain, under the order of the Tokugawa Shogunate as the bases for defending the western part of Japan. Since the castle had been resided by the successive lords of the domain such as the Mizuno, Matsudaira, and Abe clans till the Meiji Restoration. After the abolition of the han system, the castle was dismantled in 1873. The designated National Treasures of donjon and Oyudono (bathroom) were destroyed by fire due to the U.S. airrade in 1945. In 1966, the donjon, Tsukimi-yagura, and Oyudono were reconstructed. Fushimi-yagura and Sujigane-gomon Gate are designated National Cultural properties.
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大名行列 Daimyou-gyouretsu Daimyo’s Procession

Jp En

The 3rd Shogun of the Tokugawa Shogunate systematized “sankin kotai (alternate attendance)” by including it in Buke Shohatto (Laws for the Barons) in order to maintain the shogunate system. Basically, sankin kotai was a military service to the shogun, by which it required daimyo of every feudal domain to reside every other year in Edo and to leave their wives, children, and many retainers in Edo permanently as hostages. A daimyo’s procession occurred when a daimyo went to and from Edo.

The number of people that joined the procession and its detailed formation were set up in accordance with the assessment (by koku of rice) of the daimyo’s domain. As is seen in Japanese samurai movies, the procession goes with the usher calling “Shitani! Shitani!,” who was followed by m a factotum, couriers carrying hasamibako (briefcase) and soldiers with keyari (a haired pike), bows and guns, footsoldiers, men srvants of daimyo, the daimy in a palanquin, chief retainer, women servants and couriers carrying nagamochi (trunks).

According to one record, the procession of the Kaga domain, which boasted the largest kokudaka (the production of land assessed by koku of rice) in the Edo period, was composed of as many as 2,500 people. In the early Edo period, many daimyo seemed to enjoy the processions as occasions for displaying their wealth and status. However, it gradually became simplified due to the financial strains on daimyos.
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岡崎市 六所神社 Okazaki-shi Rokusho-jinja Rokusho Shrine in Okazaki

Jp En

Rokusho Shrine in Okazaki City, Aichi Prefecture, is a historic temple pertaining to the Tokugawa clan. The enshrined main deities are Sarutahiko no Mikoto, Shiotsuchi-no-oji no Mikoto, Kotokatsu-Kunikatsu-Nagisa no Mikoto. The shrine was founded by Tokugawa Ieyasu at the end of the 16th century by transferring the three deities from Rokusho Shrine in Matsudaira county (present-day Toyota City), in which the Matsudaira clan, the ancestry family of the Tokugawa clan, originated. Later, 12 other deities were also transferred to this shrine.

The main hall was constructed by Tokugawa Ieyasu in 1602 and repaired and expanded by the 3rd Shogun Iemitsu and the 4th Shogun Ietsuna. The shrine was worshipped by a lot of people from far and wide during the Edo period (1603-1868) as Ubusunagami (birthplace deities) of the Matsudaira and Tokugawa families. It received a great degree of protection from the Shogunate and only daimyo enfeoffed with more than 50,000 koku of rice were allowed to use the stone steps leading to Romon Gate (the two-story gate).

The colorfully decorated Honden (the main hall), Haiden (oratory), Heiden (the votive offerings hall), Romon Gate and Shingusho (offering preparation hall) are all nationally designated as Important Cultural properties.
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等じゅ院 Touju-in Tojuin Temple

Jp En

Tojuin Temple in Samani Town in southern Hokkaido is a temple of the Tendai sect, enshrining the statues of Amida Nyorai Triad as its principal object of worship. It is selected as one of the eight scenic spots in Samani Town. It was the head temple of the three historic temples founded in 1806 by the 11th Shogun Tokugawa Ienari as the official temples to hold a memorial service for warriors sent to Ezo (present-day Hokkaido).

The Goma Hall (the training ashram) was also constructed in 1811, but it was damaged by bear attacks and a flood of the river and relocated to another place. In 1965, when the new temple building was constructed, the Goma Hall was also restored to the original form. The temple possesses precious old documents concerning Buddhism, governments’ policies on Ezo and the history of the Ainu people including the diaries written by the 11 generations of the resident priest of Tojuin Temple, which are altogether designated as an Important Cultural Property by the national government.
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観音山御神木 Kannon-yama-goshinboku The Sacred God Tree of Mt. Kannon

Jp En

The 400-year-old oak tree stands at the entrance of Kannonyama Park atop Mt. Kannon (80 m above sea level) in Samani Town in southern Hokkaido. It has been worshipped by the local people as the sacred “god” tree. Mt. Kannon had been called “Sopiranupuri,” meaning “a mountain with cliffs and waterfalls” by the Ainu people.

During the Meiji period (1868-1912), a priest of Tojuin Temple, which is one of the three temples constructed in Hokkaido by the Tokugawa Shogunate in the Edo period (1603-1868), placed 33 Kannon statues in this mountain by modeling after the Saigoku 33 Pilgrim Route; thereby the mountain was called Mt. Kannon as the years passed by.

The sacred god tree is 12 meters tall and 116 centimeters in diameter. It was designated as a protected tree of Hokkaido in 1973. Many holes and warts on the trunk and the bristling dead thin branches make the tree look like a hairy monster.
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