日本語 | English

■ Featuring "Shrines," July 31 to August 30







Atom_feed
Kencho-ji
Sacred Place for Insects?
Date:28, Jul, 2020
Investigated and Written by Misaka Youhei
About our introductory articles


I have never been to the Kencho-ji. And personally, I regard the Japanese old temple as a sacred place. Of course, temples have basically been sacred for over a thousand years. Even if I say nothing specially, they are already holy. Nevertheless, I pay a special light to the temple where I have never been.

I must talk in order. First of all, what is the Kencho-ji? It is an old temple in Kamakura, Kanagawa, Japan, belonging to Rinzai-shu sect. They say it was founded in 1253. It was also 5th of Kencho (a Japanese era name). And they have called it Kencho-ji, I suppose. Who built? It was Hojo Tokiyori (1227 – 1263), the 5th shikken (regent) of the Kamakura shogunate. And they say he was a devout Buddhist.



Kencho-ji's Buddha Hall

File: Kencho ji BuildingII.jpg
from the Japanese Wikipedia
(Photoed on May 16, 2008)


Why did he found in Kamakura? Now let me explain about Japanese history. In 1192, the Kamakura shogunate was opened by Minamoto-no Yoritomo. Until 1192, Kyoto had been the capital. And it means they got two capitals in Japan when the shogunate was made. That's unique. Usually, they break up their old capital and government before making a new one like they did in Europe and China, don't they? But they didn't in 1192 Japan.

There were two capitals, but Kamakura was more popular than Kyoto when Hojo Tokiyori was alive. Why? The old bureaucracy in Kyoto didn't care about their people at all, set their hearts on nothing but their personnel affairs. They had been so before 1192. And naturally, people had to desert the bureaucratic government, moved to Kamakura for their survival. That was the time when Tokiyori was there. And so he built the temple for helping the suffering people with Buddhism, they say. There were countless people moving to Kamakura. The more people increased, the more troubles happened there.



Kencho-ji's Ground

File: Kencho-ji 108599196 ac1ef7203f o.jpg
from the Japanese Wikipedia
(Photoed on May 11, 2006)


And why do I regard the temple as a sacred place? I respect Yoro Takeshi, a Japanese male anatomist. He loves to collect insects so much. The love made him build a mound for insects in the Kencho-ji. He says you kill tens of millions of insects while you drive a car for a decade. And we got a worldwide decrease of insects today. He desires a few to know the fact, and built the mound.

The mound was designed by Kuma Kengo, a Japanese popular architect who designed New National Stadium (Tokyo), 1550 Alberni (Canada) and Japanese Garden Cultural Village (Oregon). He is Takeshi's junior in school.

I long to visit there, but I have not done for some affairs. In 2020, I can't go to the temple for pandemic Covid-19. Our Japanese government seems to be contending with the government of the 12th century about incompetence, they do nothing but foolish things. I wonder when it will be safe to go to Kamakura.






 

Senso-ji
The Oldest Temple In Tokyo