February, 2009

This page is written monthly
by Harumi Okochi.
Sometimes Harumi's friends join.
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Confucian Temple in Taku City

Hello, friends.
How are you?
The cold season is the time for reminiscence. So, shall I talk about something old?
Have you visited Yushima Seido in Tokyo? No? Well, these days even Japanese do not often visit the place. But in Edo Period, even in Meiji, Taisho, early Showa Era, many people went to the Confucian Temple. It was a temple where young students pray for their attainments in study. Also, a famous writer of Meiji Era, Izumi Kyoka, wrote a novel, "Onna-keizu, the white plum blossom in Yushima Temple", which was made into a movie, and much tear was flown from Japanese women's eyes.

Now, please look at the explanation of Yushima Seido from Wikipedia.

Yushima Seidō
(湯島聖堂?), located in the Yushima neighbourhood of Bunkyō, Tokyo, Japan, was constructed as a Confucian temple in the Genroku era of the Edo period (end of the 17th century).
Tokugawa bureaucrat training center
The Yushima Seidō has its origins in a private Confucian temple, the Sensei-den (先聖殿), constructed in 1630 by the neo-Confucian scholar Hayashi Razan (1583-1657) in his grounds at Shinobi-ga-oka (now in Ueno Park). The fifth Tokugawa shogun, Tsunayoshi, moved the building to its present site in 1690, where it became the Taiseiden (大成殿) of Yushima Seidō. The Hayashi school of Confucianism moved at the same time.
Under the Kansei Edict, which made neo-Confucianism the official philosophy of Japan, the Hayashi school was transformed into a state-run school under the control of the shogunate in 1797. The school was known as the Shōhei-zaka Gakumonsho or Shōheikō, after Confucius’s birthplace at Changping ==(昌平, pronounced Shōhei in Japanese). During the time of the Tokugawa shogunate, the school attracted many men of talent, but it was closed in 1871 after the Meiji Restoration.

Now you know what Confucian Temple means to Japanese history and minds.
The reason why I talk about Yushima Seido is that in this Saga Prefecture, there is also a Confucian Temple, Taku Seibyo, near Karatsu. It is about 50 minutes' drive from Karatsu to Taku City.
3 months ago, I visited Taku Seibyo after 50 years. When I visited first time 50 years ago, I was a highschool student. Now I am a grandmother who prays for grandson's growth to be a wise man.
I hope you visit Taku Seibyo on this web page. Sorry, the pictures are not very clear, because of my cheap camera, and also it was getting dark.

Image of Confucius in Taku Seibyo
The gate to Taku Seibyo
The Temple
A little different from Buddhism temples
Inside the Temple
The gate's shape is also a little different from Japanese Shinto Torii
This building was a school next to the temple where in Edo Era, the Lord Taku made young Samurais study Confucianism.Confucianism was the logic on which Tokugawa Bakufu built its long peace and safety.

In February, just before entrance examinations to schools, Japanese students and parents go to these temples and shrines which are thought to have power in the world of study.
If you have someone who is going to have examinations, visit such a place in your neighborhood.
I wish you a good luck!
See you next month.

Thank you very much for visiting this page.
I hope you will return next month.
Yours, Harumi Okochi

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