2015/05/12

Hoko-Ji Kyoto

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Hookooji, Hōkō-ji 方広寺 Hoko-Ji, Kyoto

Kyoto Daibutsu no Nanafushigi 京都大仏の七不思議
The seven wonders of the Daibutsu in Kyoto


Hoko-Ji no kane 方広寺の鐘 the Bell of Hoko-Ji
Karasudera no karasu 鳥寺の鳥 the Karasu of Karasu temple
Mimizuka 耳塚 "Ear mound"
Goemon no 五右衛門の衡器窓 ?window
santoo no yane 三棟の屋根 roof over three ridges
soba kui Jizo そば喰地蔵 Jizo eating Buckwheat noodles
Daibutsu mochi 大仏餅の看板 The shop sign of Daibutsu Mochi - Big Buddha Cakes


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京都府京都市東山区正面通大和大路東入茶屋町

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Hōkō-ji (方広寺) is a temple in Kyoto, Japan, dating from the 16th century. Toyotomi Hideyoshi determined that the capital city should have a Daibutsu temple to surpass that of Nara. He is reputed to have claimed at the outset that he would complete construction in half the time it took Emperor Shōmu to complete the Great Buddha of Nara. The project during Emperor Shomū's reign took ten years. Hideyoshi would complete the initial phase of his project in only three years.The architects for this project were Nakamura Masakiyo and Heinouchi Yoshimasa.
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Keichō 19 (August 24, 1614):
A new bronze bell for the Hōkō-ji was cast successfully
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Kanbun 2 (June 16, 1662):
An earthquake destroys the temple, the great statue, and the Daibutsu-den; and some accounts say that Shogun Ietsuna used the metal to coin sen.
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Meiji 3 (1870): Hōkō-ji belfry (Shōrō) which had been added in 1614 was pulled down and re-erected in a nearby location. The multi-ton bell had not been part of original construction, but over time, it has become irretrievably linked with the history of the temple.
- more in the wikipedia


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Toyokuni Jinja and Hokoji Temple
The shrine was reconstructed during Meiji Period in 1880 at the current site, where Daibutsuden Hall of a temple named Hokoji had previously stood.
Hokoji Temple was erected by Toyotomi Hideyoshi in order to build a huge image of Buddha which would outclass the Great Buddha Daibutsu of Nara. It is a Tendai sect temple founded in 1586. The original temple grounds covered an area 238 meters from east to west by 250 meters north to south. Hideyoshi’s vassals furnished the funds and the workers needed to construct the temple. An 18-meters tall image of Buddha was cast in wood and lacquered. Construction of the giant statue reportedly took only three years. A large Daibutsuden Hall was built in 1587 to house this image. In 1596, a great earthquake damaged much of Kyoto area and the image of the Great Buddha was destroyed. Rebuilding of the image of Buddha and the hall began in 1598 but within a month Hideyoshi passed away.

Dissention among various lords who had pledged to support Hideyoshi’s five year old son Hideyori as the next political ruler when he came of age, enabled Tokugawa Ieyasu to gain control of the government by 1603. Ieyasu was determined to get rid of Hideyori. So in order to weaken Hideyori financially as the years went by, Ieyasu encouraged him and his mother Yodo-dono to use gold coins from Hideyoshi’s estate to fund the replacement of the Great Buddha. The rebuilding was already underway for a few years but a fire in 1603 destroyed the almost completed bronze statue as well as the main hall. Ieyasu convinced Hideyori and his mother once more that the project had to be completed using the Toyotomi family finances.

By 1609 the image of Buddha was recreated in bronze, and by 1612 the temple was restored. However, this new hall and the image of Buddha were destroyed by an earthquake in 1662, and the wooden replacements were lost in a fire in 1798. The new image of 1843, which replaced the previous Buddha, was destroyed in a 1973 fire. Thus, the existing halls of this once spectacular landmark temple are not very important since all that was of consequence has been consumed by many fires. In addition, the reconstruction of Toyokuni Shrine in 1880 was carried out where Daibutsuden Hall of Hokoji once stood. Many of the buildings of Hokoji Temple were moved to the north thereby restricting the temple to but a corner of its original site.

Hokoji Temple today is a rather nondescript complex. The present temple complex is located on the east side of Yamato-oji dori just north of Toyokuni Jinja. We could directly enter the temple grounds from the shrine premises itself as the temple grounds begin at the end of the shrine property. We saw Hondo Main Hall of the temple but it was closed.
Eastern part of Hondo Main Hall as viewed from the south

The temple has a bell which has important historical value. In 1614, to mark the completion of rebuilding the temple and the Great Buddha, a huge bronze bell was cast and mounted in its own structure. It still stands in the temple complex and is 4.3 meters tall, 2.7 meters in diameter, 23 centimeters thick, and weighs 82000 kilograms. Toyotomi Hideyori asked a priest of another temple to write an inscription for this bell. Among numerous Chinese characters, there are words that read as ‘kokka anko kunshin horaku’. It literally means ‘peace of the nation and prosperity of the lord and retainers’. However, Tokugawa Shogunate maliciously contorted these Chinese characters, and Tokugawa Ieyasu affected to take umbrage alleging that it was intended as a curse on him. This is because the second and fourth characters of ‘kokka anko’ are the characters of his name ‘Ieyasu’ which means ‘ka-ko’ or ‘house tranquility’.

By placing the character ‘an’ or ‘peace’ in between the two characters of his own name, he claimed that the words in the inscription can be interpreted as: ‘if the body of Ieyasu can be gently lacerated, people would live happily and richly with Toyotomi family’. Although Hideyori apologized profusely, Ieyasu refused to be placated and resorted to armed force. In 1615 he besieged Hideyori in Osaka Castle, a castle Hideyori had inherited from his father. The Toyotomi family was exterminated. Although the bell of this temple was to herald an era of peace but it led to the downfall of Hideyoshi’s son, eradication of Toyotomi line, and strengthening of Tokugawa Edo period for the next 265 years.

Inside the temple complex, the bell stands in Shoro belfry that was rebuilt in 1884. The bell is huge and there are beautiful paintings on the ceiling of Shoro. We took several photos of the bell and Shoro from various positions and angles. This bell is of immense historical significance as it changed the history of Japan.
- source and photos : lipikazuo.blogspot.jp -


. Daibutsu in Kyoto 京都の大仏様 .
京都大仏御殿 - Hōkō-ji 方広寺 Hoko-Ji

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- Homepage of the temple
- source : everkyoto.web.fc2.com

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Hookooji no kane 方広寺の鐘 the Bell of Hoko-Ji


CLICK for more photos !

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Hokoji Temple and its Fatal Bell
The tragic Kyoto bell that led to fall of Osaka Castle

- Background
As you may remember from one of the history classes you took as a child, Tokugawa Ieyasu, the first Shogun (king) of the Tokugawa Shogunate who ended the long war period and created a peaceful Edo Era which lasted 265 long years, destroyed the Toyotomi Clan in 1615. After the Battle of Sekigahara (1600) in which he won, he started the Tokugawa Bakufu (government) right away. Then, why did it take him so long to 'take care of' the Toyotomi Clan?
Well, it's simple.
He fought the Battle of Sekigahara under the pretext of protecting the Toyotomi Kingdom! Under this pretext many powerful subordinates of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, the previous ruler of Japan, fought on Ieyasu's side. How then, could he possibly exterminate Hideyoshi's heir, Toyotomi Hideyori, age five, in that situation? So, he had to wait and think how to seize total control over Japan without seeming to be a treacherous thief (he was one of Hideyoshi's subordinates, though the most powerful).

How Ieyasu waited
He is renowned for his unbelievable patience. He was a powerful samurai and lord, but unfortunately, wasn't powerful enough to conquer both Oda Nobunaga (1534-1582) and Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1537-1598) when they reigned over Japan respectively, so he had no choice but became their subordinate. When Oda Nobunaga ordered Ieyasu to kill his own wife and first son (1579) to show his loyalty to Nobunaga (there was a reason for it, of course), he even complied and killed them both, his own wife and son! That shows how patient he was.
So, this time, too, he waited.
In my opinion, I don't think he planned to 'exterminate' the Toyotomi Clan at the beginning. He even followed Hideyoshi's will and made his own grandchild marry Hideyoshi's heir, Toyotomi Hideyori. So, if they were just happy being one of many daimyos (feudal lords) under the Tokugawa Bakufu (government), he would have let them live. But even after the Battle of Sekigahara and after Ieyasu started his own government and became Shogun, the heir of the late king, Toyotomi Hideyori, as one of Ieyasu's daimyos, stayed inside the most formidable fortress in Japan, Osaka Castle. That was a threat to Ieyasu. There were still some powerful daimyos who were loyal to Hideyori, they could fight against Tokugawa behind that kind of powerful castle and even win! Think! Ieyasu think!

How Ieyasu tried
He suggested that they leave Osaka Castle and move to some area in Kanto (Tokyo area) as a daimyo. They said, 'No!'... Nene, the wife of Hideyoshi, now retired to Kodaiji Temple in Kyoto as a nun, tried to persuade them but they said, 'No!'. I say 'they', but in this case, Hideyori was still a child, so the one who said 'No' was his mother, the mistress of Hideyoshi, Yodo. She adamantly refused to leave Osaka Castle. She thought as soon as they left the castle, they would be confined to a small castle somewhere in Kanto and be killed. Well, maybe, maybe not.

Cornered Ieyasu
He was old (when he destroyed the Toyotomi Clan finally, he was 73!), his days were numbered, and his heir was mediocre without leadership. He had to concrete a foundation for his Tokugawa government before he died. Any threat should be removed. So, first he tried to decrease their fortunes. Even though Toyotomi Hideyori became one of his daimyos and his revenue decreased, they were tremendously wealthy. His father Hideyoshi left him tons of gold piled up inside the vault of Osaka Castle. Let them spend! So he suggested that they donate, build, restore temples and shrines to 'pray for his father's soul and commemorate his greatness). They took his suggestion and started to have many temples and shrines built or restored, which include
Kitano Tenmangu, Yuki Shrine, Hokoji Temple (this one!), Konkai Komyoji, Anraku Juin, Kondo of Toji, Seiryoji, Daigoji, Shokokuji, etc. etc. Wow, we can enjoy beauty of those temples and shrines now because of his generous donations! though I have a mixed feeling when I think of the fate he and his family led after this...

Fatal Bell
Then Ieyasu moved in for the kill. One of the temples Hideyori was having built was Hokoji, this temple. When it was almost completed and waiting to be opened to the public, Ieyasu stopped them. Why? Because, there was something ominous, which could be interpreted as a curse upon Ieyasu, was written on the bell. His name is Ieyasu, in Chinese characters, 家康. On the bell, these two characters were used to describe the wish for the peace of a country as 国家安康. But his name 家康 was separated by one word 安. Dismemberment! That's what he said, and pretended to take offense by it. Well...what a lame pretext... But he was desperate, his days were numbered, remember?

What happened?
Now that he had a good excuse to attack Hideyori, he did as he planned, and his subordinates followed suit, to perish Toyotomi Hideyori, the late-king's only heir, their former master's only son, from the earth. They attacked Osaka Castle twice, in 1614 and 1615, and the castle was burnt to the ground, with Hideyori and his mother, Yodo. For your information, Yodo released Hideyori's wife, Ieyasu's grandchild, Senhime (princess Sen) before the castle was burnt down. She was returned to Ieyasu safely. Well, how about that! (FYI, Ieyasu had Hideyori's son (age 8) by his mistress beheaded after the war, thus the Toyotomi Clan perished from the earth.)

P.S.,
Hokoji Temple and its bell are located beside Toyokuni Shrine, in which Hideyori's father, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, is enshrined.
- source : Takako Sakamoto -


. Bell, temple bell (kane 鐘, tsurigane 釣鐘) .

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Mimizuka 耳塚 "Ear mound"



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The Mimizuka (耳塚, literally "Ear Mound", often translated as "Ear Tomb"),
an alteration of the original Hanazuka (鼻塚, literally "Nose Mound") is a monument in Kyoto, Japan, dedicated to the sliced noses of killed Korean soldiers and civilians as well as Ming Chinese troops taken as war trophies during the Japanese invasions of Korea from 1592 to 1598. The monument enshrines the severed noses of at least 38,000 Koreans killed during Toyotomi Hideyoshi's invasions.The shrine is located just to the west of Toyokuni Shrine, the Shinto shrine honoring Hideyoshi in Kyoto.
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Traditionally, Japanese warriors would bring back the heads of enemies slain on the battlefield as proof of their deeds, however, the process of nose collection in lieu of heads became the feature of the second Korean invasion. Remuneration was paid to soldiers by their daimyo commanders based on the severed heads upon submission to collection stations, where inspectors meticulously counted, recorded, salted and packed the noses bound for Japan.However, because of the number of civilians killed along with soldiers, and crowded conditions on the ships that transported troops, it was far easier to just bring back noses instead of whole heads.
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The Mimizuka is almost unknown to the Japanese public unlike to the Korean.
- source : wikipedia -


. kubizuka, memorial stone pagodas and mounds
for the beheaded ... 首塚 .


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五右衛門の衡器窓

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三棟の屋根

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鳥寺の鳥

烏にまつわる故事があり、かつては境内の松に土焼の烏が置かれていたそうだ。

専 定 寺 (烏 寺) (東山区)
- source : everkyoto.web.fc2.com -

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. soba kui Jizo そば喰地蔵 / ソバ食い地蔵 Jizo eating Buckwheat noodles .

and more legends about Jizo eating Mochi 餅 rice cakes

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大仏餅の看板 The shop sign of Daibutsu Mochi - Big Buddha Cakes
京都 方広寺の門前名物 菓子 大仏餅

The store is located in front of the temple Hoko-Ji, the Big Buddha Temple in Kyoto build by Toyohomi Hideyoshi in 1595.
- source : www.kanshundo.co.jp -


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. Jizo Bosatsu, Soba and Mochi 地蔵に蕎麦と餅 .

. Japan - Shrines and Temples - ABC .

. Shinnozan 深奥山 Hoko-ji 方廣寺 / 方広寺 . - Shizuoka


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