Kamakura

Kamakura

One of the most significant sites in the “Diary of the Sixteenth Night Moon” is the city that is located close to Tokyo and near the East Coast of Japan, Kamakura.

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“In 1279, the Nun-Abutsu undertook a five-hundred-kilometer, fourteen-day trip from her home in the capital to the eastern center of Kamakura.” (Laffin 71) Abutsu is a famous poet and essayist who had a wish to protect her husband’s legacy and the future of her sons. Abutsu then went through this journey with a selfless motivation because she wanted to complete the wish of her deceased husband, which was to “educate their sons and maintain his poetic legacy.” For instance, Kamakura was the final destination of Abutsu’s travel route in the diary. The two maps below can show the route of Abutsu in “Diary of the Sixteenth Night Moon” from Kyōto to Kamakura in sixteen nights.

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As time passes by, Kamakura had become a larger and more developed city because it merged with Fukasawa-mura and Ofuna-machi in 1948. It’s population and residential development both kept growing since then. However, the development of the city eventually had a negative impact on the environment and the natural sceneries. To solve the problem, laws and plans were enacted to “set out the basic principles of the administration: to build a peaceful, culture-oriented city that was blessed with a rich cultural legacy and natural scenic environment.”

Nowadays, Kamakura has close relationships with other neighborhood cities “that share [similar] characteristics in one way or another.” They are Nice, Hagi, Ashikaga, and Ueda in Nagano Prefecture, which is “a city that has historical sites related to Kamakura period culture.

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Eventually, Kamakura is now famous for its many Buddhist statues and wall paintings. It then slowly became a tourist destination. Moreover, one of the most famous and tallest Buddhist statues is The Great Buddha of Kamakura, “Kamakura Daibutsu”. It is a bronze statue of Amida Buddha located at the Kotokuin Temple at Kamakura.

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The other famous tourist attraction in Kamakura nowadays is the largest Ji sect temple, Kosokuji. It was found and built by Priest Ippen (1239-1289), who is known as a “wayfaring saint” because of “his extensive travels for missionary work,” as “he was one of the most active and influential priests during the Kamakura Period.” He built the Ji sect on the idea of “Pure Land Buddhism”. In recent years, Kamakura also started to have a close tie with Dunhuang in China and brought many Chinese elements into the city.

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“Azuma Kagami” is definitely another remarkable historical literary work from the Kamakura of the Kamakura period (1192-1333). According to the translation of “The Azuma Kagami Account of the Shōkyū War” by William McCullough, “Azuma Kagami is a chronologically arranged record of political, economic, and religious events connected with the Kamakura bakufu and its leaders.” It was originally complied after 1266 by Hōjō shikken to record all the important events that happened in Japan during that time also in the format of a diary.

Bibliography:

Laffin, Christina. “Sources and Conventions II: Travel Accounts(A Tosa JournalsndDiary            of the Sixteenth Night).” Lecture ASIA453, from University of British Columbia,        Vancouver, BC, 2016.

Laffin, Christina. “Travel as Sacrifice: Abutsu’s Poetic Journey in Diary of the         Sixteenth Night Moon”. Review of Japanese Culture and Society 19. [Josai     University Educational Corporation, University of Hawai’i Press]: 71–86.       http://www.jstor.org/stable/42800244, 2007

McCullough, William. “The Azuma Kagami Account of the Shōokyū War”. Monumenta Nipponica 23 (1/2). Sophia University: 102–55.     doi:10.2307/2383110, 1968

Tatsuro, Gotoh. “Kamakura: From the Edo to the Present.” Kcn-net.org. http://www.kcn-net.org/e_kama_history/history/history4.htm (accessed December 28, 2012).

Unknown. “Kamakura Today: Kosokuji.” Kamakura Today.             http://www.kamakuratoday.com/e/sightseeing/koshokuji.html (accessed 2002)

 

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