Showing posts with label gokoku. Show all posts
Showing posts with label gokoku. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Usuki Gokoku Shrine

In the grounds of Usuki castle was another small shrine, founded in 1879 after the castle had been dismantled, the size of the trees and the pond and landscaping certainly suggests something was here before that.

It is a Gokoku Shrine, basically a local version of the infamous Yasukuni Shrine that enshrines the spirits of those who died fighting for the emperor.

In pre-modern times the castle was the focus of political power, and once the castles were dismantled upon the creation of the modern state of Japan many of the castle ruins had Gokoku shrines built within them to give these new state-worshiping shrines legitimacy.

I suspect that there was a shrine here before but I may be wrong

Yuzukosho (yuzu pepper) is a signature product from Usuki

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Gokoku Shrine, Hagi


The Hagi City Gokoku Shrine is located on a hillside in the far north of the city. Many Gokoku shrines were built on former castle sites to imbue them with authority.


Gokoku shrines are in essence branches of the infamous Yasukuni Shrine, and like it are the product of the modern period and very much a part of what would later be known as State Shinto.


Gokoku shrines enshrine all those who died "serving the Emperor", This one was the first Gokoku Shrine I've seen that was virtually abandoned. This is probably due to the fact that in 1939 the government limited its support to just one Gokoku Shrine per prefecture, and the one in Yamaguchi City was chosen.


There was a really nice old well :)


Friday, December 5, 2008

Gokoku Shrine, Hamada


Gokoku shrines are considered branches of the infamous Yasukuni Shrine. "Nation Protecting Shrines" enshrine those who died for the country, though originally that meant for the Emperor. The Hamada shrine enshrines almost 29,000 individuals.


The original Gokoku shrine was built in Kyoto in 1869. When the Emperor moved to the new capital of Tokyo a second one was built. This became the Yasukuni Shrine.


I find shrines built in the Meiji period to be quite sterile. They are usually built for Emperors and those that served emperors, and are very much the essence of the nationalistic cult known as State Shinto. Meiji era shrines are usually lacking in any natural connection to place. The Hamada shrine is built on the hill where Hamada castle once stood, I suspect to give it an association of authority. The Gokoku shrine in Matsue is also built on the castle hill there.


From the shrine one can climb up the hill past the stone foundations of the old castle. Built in 1620, the Lord of Hamada burnt it down in 1866 to stop it falling into the hands of the advancing Choshu forces.


There are fine views from the top of the hill, and is a popular place to view cherry blossoms in the spring.