Showing posts with label shimazu. Show all posts
Showing posts with label shimazu. Show all posts

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Takeda Shrine & Shimazu Tadayoshi

Takeda Shrine seems to be the main shrine in the area of Kaseda that used to be the samurai district. There are numerous sub-shrines in the grounds including a Gokoku Shrine, but the primary kami is Shimazu Tadayoshi.

Born in 1493 and died in 1568 he rose to became the head of the Shimazu Clan after the inevitable power struggles that occurred between competing branches of any of the large, powerful clans. The Shimazu ruled over the Satsuma Domain which during this time covered a lot of southern Kyushu.

Tadayoshi is remembered today primarily for his poetry. He composed a group of 47 poems in Iroha format which was a late Heian period type of Japanese poetry. The themes were primarily Confucian and were used as a basis for his rule of the domain. He retired to this area though still exercised considerable power while retired.

The poems are inscribed on rocks along a path that leads from the shrine into the forested mountain behind. While I was there some event was going on with be-sashed volunteers handing out information sheets to people walking the path.

Apparentky the shrine also hosts several festivals involving samurai cosplay.

Saturday, February 1, 2020

Sengan-en Gardens

Sengan-en was the summer estate and gardens of the Shimazu Clan who ruled over what is know called Kagoshima. It is located north of downtown Kagoshima and covers more than 12 acres.

It was built in the middle of the 17th Century and includes the main manor house and numerous other structures including a pavilion built by Ryukuan vassals. The large, park-like gardens were built in Chinese style and utilizes the "borrowed scenery" of the bay and the volcano Mount Sakurajima.

The Kyokusai garden features a meandering stream and this was the site of parties that involved poetry drinking games. A cup with sake would be placed at the top end of the stream and while it floated downstream a tanka poem need to be composed and read. Failure to do so meamnt the forfeit of having to drink the sake. Hardly an inducement for success I would have thought.

There are many other features including shrine, gates, lanterns etc, and here was where the Shimazu began their attempts to set up western industrial practices that are now World heritage Sites.