Japan's Sengakuji Temple and the 47 Famous Samurai (Part 1)
The 47 Samurai Buried Here Make This a Must-Visit While in Tokyo
Have you heard of “Chushingura” or the legacy of the Forty-Seven Ronin?
The image of elegant Samurai, a picture of honor and integrity; this is the path of the “Bushi” or warrior. “Bushi-do” literally means “Warrior-path” with “do” the Chinese Character for “Path”.
I have been here in Japan for 28 years and lived the entire time in Tokyo and Yokohama. I admit my public life pretty much centers on my family and my business, so as my kids were growing up and office responsibilities called, I think I may have missed some very deep and intrinsic aspects of the Japanese psyche. I know for sure that I have missed most of the locations that tell the far-reaching and exquisitely woven story of Japan’s Samurai past as I have hardly visited anywhere and never checked into how the Tea Ceremony, Sumo or Ikebana adorned the Japanese spirit of old.
The 260 years of the Tokugawa Bakufu where Edo was the central headquarters of a country purposely and almost completely cut off from outside influence, became a protective greenhouse for the vibrant, unified growth of the concept of Bushido. Many friends who practice Kendo, Judo or Aikido (note the same use of “path” or “do” in these words) will attest to the fact that remnants of that Bushido spirit persist in these Japanese martial arts. Students learn self control, a patient “watch and wait” posture with precision focus on how the opponent moves, and of course the implicit respect for the Dojo where the martial art is performed and the Sensei who leads the way. My awe only deepens as I learn more of the lore of Japan’s Samurai world during Edo and beyond.
I am no expert, I consider myself a constant student of everything, but I would like to share what I learned and my feelings and impressions about my time on December 14 at the Sengakuji Temple near Shinagawa Station. This is a famed milestone on the Samurai path as it cradles the remains of 46 Samurai who embodied the way of the Samurai in a time where the whole approach was being somewhat questioned and many people in Japan felt the era of Bushido might be coming to an end.
Former Deep Japan Writer