47 samurai in Sengakuji temple
Japanese culture is as strong as a magnet. The high-speed trains running on 500km/h on the magnetic rails form extraordinary unity with the Japanese temples of 500 years old. History and future dances rhythmically in Japan. Millions of people come to the Land of the Rising Sun every year to witness this dance.
One of the most visited places in this country is located in Tokyo. Tokyo is a megacity. Residents and the tourists visiting the city make the mega chaos consisting of sounds and motion. Guests who want to hear the inner voice visit Shinagawa station in the south part of Tokyo.
After a 15-minute walk from Shinagawa station, you will reach the Buddhist temple Sengakuji. There is a magical silence on the walls of Sengakuji Temple. You will forget all the hassle of the world while sitting on one of the benches nearby. The walls of the ancient temple, trees, and the spirit of history will embrace you.
Sengakuji Temple is not like other Japanese temples. There are tombs of 47 samurai in the Ako-roshi area of the temple. If you have ever heard about 47 ronin and don't know what is a ronin, the Japanese call samurai a ronin. Ronin is the word used to describe a leaderless samurai. Probably, you also have seen the 47 ronin in the same-named Hollywood movie starring Keanu Reeves.
47 Ronin Story
Let's go back to 318 years ago. We should go to Edo Castle next to the Sengakuji Temple. The story of Oishi and his Samurai, the love of all the Japanese people, begins in this castle. In the Edo castle, Asano, the leader of Oishi, lost his temper and attacked a nobleman named Kira with a dagger. He wounds Kira's face. Asano's anger was not groundless. Kira repeatedly insulted him in front of his men and tried to discredit him. Asano could restrain himself no longer and wanted to kill Kira, who had a higher rank. According to the rules of the shogunate, no one in Edo Castle has the right to draw a sword to a state official. So, Asano had to kill himself by seppuku for his deed. His lands were confiscated from his family. And his 300 samurai were made a ronin. Sengakuji people were furious because of all these. Everyone condemns Kira. According to the Samurai internal code, Asano must be revenged. However, any Samurai who will take revenge will be executed according to the shogunate rules.
Leaderless Sengakuji and 300 samurai became dispersed. Oishi, the leader of the Samurai and 46 ronin banded together, swearing a secret oath to avenge their master.
On December 14, 1702, Kira was attacked by ronin at his mansion. Oishi cut off his head and brought it to Sengakuji together with his ronin. The Samurai were very happy. Asano's revenge was taken, and his honour was restored. The Samurai could perform their duties again. Oishi and his people waited a year and six months to eliminate Kira's suspicions so that they could take revenge.
The news of this incident was spread all over Japan. According to shogunate rules, ronin who were supposed to be executed as criminals were allowed to honourably commit seppuku. Oishi and his men wrote the history.
Every year on December 14, thousands of people from different parts of the country go to the Ako-roshi cemetery in the courtyard of the temple to commemorate 47 samurai. The place where 47 ronin sleep is a combination of honour, dignity, loyalty, and the sanctity of being a samurai.
Travel to Tokyo
If you travel to Tokyo in December, absolutely go to Shinagawa station. Step into the Sengakuji Temple, which is a 15-minute walk from the station at 8 am in morning. Sit down on the bench and give your soul a rest.
Then, buy 47 pieces of "Senko" sticks from the Sengakuji temple shop and burn them on the head of the samurai tombs. Senko smoke will make you feel weird. There is also a single-room museum in the temple. There are the armours and letters of Samurai in the room called Akogishi Kinenkan. You will have to pay 500 yen to enter the room.
The festival has a sweet end. Visitors of the Sengakuji Temple are offered various sweets such as okonomiyaki and takoyaki.
Briefly, your day starts with tasting history and silence and ends with tasting sweets.
This article also ends.
But life continues on the mega streets of Tokyo.
Get your Japan visa today and enjoy the megapolis lifestyle in Tokyo.
Joshgun Karimov is an author and a public speaking coach. He wrote KVAN, which is one of the best-selling personal development books in Azerbaijan. This book was personally endorsed by world’s leading personal development coach and author Brian Tracy. Joshgun does training and mentoring for Azerbaijan Public Speaking Competition and Social Innovation Lab. He delivered trainings on communication and presentation skills to such corporate clients as Four Seasons Hotel, Fairmont Hotel, McDonalds, Formula 1 (Baku City Circuit Academy), Kapital Bank. He won at startup competitions such as “Yeni Fikir” and “Seedstars-Baku” for the presentation of mobile application for book readers - Kvotter. He has received Global Influencer Day Award for a positive social media impact.