The deathbed poem by Meiji Restoration hero, Takasugi Shinsaku:
“This world that is uninterested, I shall make interesting!”
The two greatest pupils of Yoshida Shoin’s ‘Sonkason Juku academy’ were Takasugi Shinsaku and Kusaka Genzui. Had these men not existed, the Meiji Restoration may not have happened… that’s how big a role they played!
The unseen aspects of NHK historical drama Hana Moyu are just beginning! From here on in, it’s rampage.
The most extreme of these events was the raising of an army at Kosan-ji temple in Shimonoseki, Yamaguchi prefecture. At that time, the Choshu domain was in line with the shogunate. Takasugi his comrades were pressing for an attack on the shogunate, but were rejected. Although Takasugi persuaded various units that the time had come to act, only around 80 men agreed. Kozan-ji temple was the place where those supporters assembled and raised the smoke signal to muster troops.
Within the temple grounds stands a statue of Tagasugi raising an army for the coup d’etat.
Mounted on a stallion, there is no trace of hesitation on his face. As the leader of Kiheitai, from this point onwards he would run non-stop through the upheaval of the Meiji Restoration.
Located beside the Kanmon Strait, Akama Shrine is the place that would become the Kiheitai headquarters.
Seen from the shrine grounds, ships continuously come and go!
When a foreign ship suddenly appeared, Choshu fired 5 times from a cannon that surely did not reach it. The following year, a revenge attack by the combined fleet led to a crushing defeat. The threat felt at that time is what aroused the leading spirits of the Meiji Restoration to act. So it may have been precisely because it happened in Shimonoseki, a town by the Kanmon Strait, that the Meiji Restoration happened.
The city is dotted with historic remains and Meiji Restoration spots related to Takasugi, such as the tomb of Takasugi Shinsaku and Togyoan.
If your feet get tired of the walk through history, stop by the Karato market for fresh seafood!
Address: 1-Chome Chofukawabata, Shimonoseki city, Yamaguchi prefecture
URL: http://www.npweb.com/kouzanji/ (Japanese)Akama Shrine
Address: 4-1 Amidaiji-cho, Shimonoseki city, Yamaguchi prefecture
URL: http://www.tiki.ne.jp/~akama-jingu/ (Japanese)
Address: 5-50 Karato-cho, Shimonoseki city, Yamaguchi prefecture
Business hours: Monday thru Saturday, 5AM-3PM (may differ according to store) Sundays & Holidays, 8AM-3PM
URL: http://www.karatoichiba.com/ (Japanese)
Setouchi Finder Photo-writer: Masashi Fujimoto
Masafumi Fujimoto Hi there! My name is Masafumi Fujimoto. Until the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011, I was engaged in editing production at an advertising company in Tokyo. However, the earthquake was a turning point in my life and I headed home to Yamaguchi. When I arrived, I was extremely energized and motivated to help revitalize the region, but I had a hard time adjusting to the motivation level of the local people. Around that time I met an elderly lady who said: "It doesn't matter if all the people move away from the island; that's just the nature of things. Someday people will come back again." Lessening the tension I’d been feeling, those few words relieved me hugely, and I was able to finally adjust. Since then, I've been involved in writing and editing magazines, and working in advertisement production, as well as doing a little bit of farming. I also spend time walking around Setouchi searching for the many, many voices out there.
> A guided tour, including teatime, where you can see the former “Koshien Hotel” – “Frank Lloyd Wright type” architecture by Arata Endo. / Koshien Hall at Mukogawa Women’s University (Nishinomiya-shi, Hyogo)
> Experience the ancient way of salt making on Kamikamagari-jima Island on the Tobishima Kaido in Aki-nada! / Kamagari Ancient Salt Making Remains Restoration Pavilion & “Amabito-no-Moshio” (Kure-shi, Hiroshima)
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