Friday, February 8, 2013

Kushibuchi Hachiman Shrine & Kita Sadakichi


The entrance to the Hachiman Shrine in Kushibuchi, part of Komatsushima City in Tokushima, is flanked by a pair of huge, venerable old trees, probably Camphor.


At the base of one of the trees was a bust of Kita Sadakichi, a famous historian and educator from the Meiji Period who was born nearby in 1871. From a peasant farming family, while in school he suffered bullying and discrimination from his samurai-class schoolmates and this probably led to his being a tireless opponent of discrimination, especially against burakumin.


Like most historians of his time he saw the Japanese as a hybrid people composed of many peoples and races and that in ancient times discrimination did not exist in Japan. He saw the beginning of discrimination when the knowledge of  the Japanese's roots in the Korean peninsular was actively suppressed, a point alluded to in the ninth century Kogoshui. Unfortunately his solution to discrimination was assimilation and his ideas formed the basis for the educational policies of the colonial governments in Korea. The best source in English I have found on his ideas can be found in " A Genealogy of 'Japanese' Self-images" by Eiji Oguma, my short review of which can be found here.


Being a Hachiman shrine, the main kami enshrined here is of course Ojin. usually Hachiman is equated with Ojin, his mother Jingu, and a third kami, either his father Chuai or his consort Himegami. Unfortunately there was no signboard so I have no idea which kami are enshrined in the various small shrines in the grounds except...


a Katsuragi Shrine, in all probability a branch of the shrine on top of Mount Kongo in Osaka and founded by En no Goya the legendary founder of Shugendo.


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