Showing posts with label saigo takamori. Show all posts
Showing posts with label saigo takamori. Show all posts

Monday, July 5, 2021

Hanegi Hachimangu


After leaving my night time perch at the Tamana Observatory I crossed the Kikuchi River and started to walk through Tamana. The first stop, in the area known as Hanegi, was the hachiman Shrine.... seemingky the most important shrine in the area.

Most impressive was the tower-gate. I'm not sure what the architectural provenance of this style of gate is, though I very much associate them with Hachiman shrines. Hachiman-zukri is an archirecrura style linked to Hachiman shrines, ut it seems to be about a certain roofing style.

This gate was built in the early 17th century, and unusually houses Nio buddhist guardians, somethng more common in Kyushu than in other parts of Japan I believe.

Hachiman shrines are the most common type in japan. Originally linked to the deity of an immigrant group in north Kyushu, and not mentioned in the ancient chronicles, it was heavily influenced by Buddhism and became prevalent nationwide after determining that the deity was in fact a former Emperor, Ojin. Unusual because emperors were not enshrined as kami until the modern period.

There was lots of carving in the woodwork, including several example of "strong men/ sumo wrestler/ demon figures supporting beams. 

During the Satsuma Rebellion, Saigo Takemori's rebel army marched north from theor siege of Kumamoto castle and met an Imperial army in this area. During the battle, Saigo's younger brother was killed by a stray bullet

On a small hill behind the shrine is an Inari Shrine.

Saturday, October 31, 2020

Ghost Temple Eikoku-ji

Eikoku-ji temple in Hitoyoshi is located on the opposite bank of the Kuma River to the Aoi Aso Shrine, near the castle. It is also known as Yureidera, literally "Ghost Temple". The temple is a Soto Zen temple and ws founded in 1408 by a monk named Jittei.

He saw a ghost rising from the temple pond and a scroll painting he did of the ghost is still in the temple's possession. The temple is also famous for having been used as a headquarters by Saigo Takamori during the Satsuma Rebellion of the late 19th Century.

The principal statues in the main hall are of Shakyamuni, Monju, and Fugen.

Following Saigo's month long stay here in 1877, the fighting that took place resulted in the temples burning down, It was rebuilt in 1891.

I am fairly sure this statue is of Akiba Daigongen, with flames, fangs, and the rope being associated with Fudo Myo, The beak and wings with Crow Tengu, and standing on a fox. Similar to Izuna Gongen, though there is also a Doryo Daigongen another similar deity that has a Soto connection.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

The Defeat of Saigo

On the banks of the Kitagawa River north of Nobeoka in Miyazaki is the Saigo Takamori Memorila Museum. On this site Saigo nade a temporary headquarters following the disasterous battle of Wadagoe in the mountains nearby.

Now reduced to probably only 3,000 men, and having lost all his artillery, Saigo declared the war over and ordered his army to surrender. With a few hundred of his most loyal followers he somehow managed to escape over the mountains and headed back towards Kagoshima and his suicidal last stand against the government forces.

The small museum has recently been renovated and improved, and the admission fee removed. There are quite a few materials on the battle, artifacts from the war, a replica of the uniform Saigo burned here, and the centrepiece is a tableau featuring Saigo and his men.

Just a few hundred meters away , and also recently renovated, is a small park containing what is claimed to be the burial mound of Ninigi, sent to Japan to rule on behalf of Amaterasu the sun goddess.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Usuki Castle

Originally situated atop a small island that connected to the mainland by a sandbar at low tide, Usuki Castle is now in the middle of the town.

It was built by Otomo Sorin in 1562 who moved here from Funai Castle a little north. It's position was much better for defense and he left his son in charge of Funai castle.

The Shimazu attacked the fortress aided by a troop of Buddhist monks. Sorin had become  Christian and the Buddhist monks sacked and burned all Christian churches in retaliation for the destruction of their temples in the area. Sorin used a cannon against the Shimazu, possible the first time a cannon had been used to defend a castle in Japan., but was eventually defeated though first all the Christians in the castle had been evacuated by Portugese ships.

In 1873 the castle was decommissioned and almost all structures dismantled and a few years later the castle easily fell to Saigo Takamori. The main gate was rebuilt in 2001.

Yuzukosho (yuzu pepper) is a signature product from Usuki