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Today I drove down to Kamakura to visit my friend Robert Hughes (well, being one of those jaded, elitist nihontō pricks, I don’t have any real friends, but Bob is the next best thing). After some hearty lunch next to a beautifully maintained Japanese garden

 

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we strolled to the Hongakuji Temple (本覚寺) of the Nichiren sect (日蓮宗).

 

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Ashikaga Mochiuji (足利持氏) built, and then donated, this temple to the priest Nisshutsu (日出) on the site where Nichiren stayed at after returning from his exile to Sado (佐渡島); the temple houses some of the ashes of Nichiren.

 

A stone monument stands near the main temple in honor of Okazaki Gorō Masamune (岡崎五郎正宗). The story goes that when Okazaki Gorō, still a boy, came to Kamakura, Nichiren had already taken up residence in the Ebisudō (夷堂) Hall. Gorō 's father brought him to Nichiren to learn his teachings, and in return Nichiren gave the boy a new name, Masamune - which implies the rightness of the teachings of Nichiren himself.

 

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Nearby is a prayer column dedicated to Masamune, dating from the Muromachi period

 

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and finally there are the gravestones of Masamune and his son Sadamune; they date from the Nambokuchō period, and all inscriptions are eroded.

 

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To be fair, there are (yet) no hard facts or documents to support all this, only circumstantial evidence. Further research is needed to corroborate all of this.

 

***

 

See, Bob, you censuring me for taking photos while you explained all this to me was totally uncalled for – I actually *can* multitask! Oh, and if I got something wrong, it’s only because you didn’t explain it correctly.

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Amazing.....Guido was paying attention to my long-winded explanations! We had wonderful weather for our little walking tour. It is enjoyable days like today that remind me why I chose to live here.... The euphoria lasted until I got home and opened the Bill for property taxes which comes every three months like clockwork.... Yes, the fifty-four temples and shrines that attract visitors....like Guido.... are all tax exempt! I think I will have to declare myself high priest and Guido as my first disciple....all our religious observances will involve rituals with lager, raw oysters, and possibly bratwurst...to keep Guido’s spiritual motivation high.... and get tax exemption!

 

Stay tuned ....a detailed video production will be out soon with more detail regarding Masamune and Shizu Saburo Kaneuji.....

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Awesome info and pics. By Guido. Can only imagine what the original info from Bob was that he had to process and provide to us in a legible format. :rotfl::rotfl::rotfl:
Kidding. Robert is one of the pillars of the Nihonto community there. Love to visit your place oneday. Thanks to you both for this great info and pics.
 

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6 minutes ago, Bugyotsuji said:

Are you the slim one?

 

Huh? There's no slim guy in the photos by any stretch of the imagination. But to satisfy your curiosity: I'm the handsome one (in the blue shirt).

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10 minutes ago, Keichodo said:

I think I will have to declare myself high priest and Guido as my first disciple....all our religious observances will involve rituals with lager, raw oysters, and possibly bratwurst...to keep Guido’s spiritual motivation high.... and get tax exemption!

 

Don't forget the temple maidens: not too smart, short attention span, and having a thing for chubby guys ...

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Inside these corpulent bodies are slim men of iron struggling to get out.....think metamorphosis!

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It is amazing how many stories prefaced by "It is said...." there are in Japan. The countryside certainly can promote flights of fancy and ancient daring-do, especially after some good nosh and convo. You really had a good day for it. John

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Nichiren, Masamune, Sadamune.......property taxes. It really fires up the blood! Thank you for sharing and look forward to your next series of adventures. 

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What a great afternoon!

I spent many a day here when I lived in Kamakura - actually the Kamakura Branch of the NBTHK holds their monthly meetings at this very temple, so we were literally studying at the foot of the great master. I would like to make some small additions to the information. The large stone that Guido is standing in front of is from the Edo period - it was dedicated by a collection of sword dealers, who owed their prosperity to his excellence (Masamune not Guido). If you were to look closely at the square stone at waist height on Guido, the names of all those who donated to have the stone erected are inscribed there but the years have nearly worn them away. The grave where Bob is standing is the grave of Masamune. As Guido pointed out Masamune can also be read Seiso and means "true teaching" however he got the name he was a devotee of the true teaching of Nichiren. The very ancient pair of graves in the last photos are held to be the family graves of the Yamamura Family, so may include Sadamune and other early members of the school (family). Incidentally Yamamura Sensei still practices sword craft in Kamakura as the 24th generation Masamune, Yamamura Tsunahiro. Kamakura is absolutely the place to visit for anyone interested in the sword, Bob is very lucky to make his home there taxes or no...

-t

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Excellent addition Mr. Helm. Thank you.

 

How much for a house by the graveyard in Kamakura? 

I have no problem with the Dead, and we are still considering downsizing and relocating to Japan.

--Mostly [herumscherzten], but about 15% serious.

 

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So the temple is steps away from the station, very much in the center of Kamakura - there are houses all around the graveyard. Kamakura is a pretty pricey zip code I'm not sure I would want to house hunt there...

-t

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Close to US$1.2 million for this grand Japanese home that sits on the temple grounds. 

Expensive, and...you do not get to own the land. The land is owned by the temple, and you have to renegotiate another long-term lease once the current lease expires (in 10 years). 

https://suumo.jp/chukoikkodate/kanagawa/sc_kamakura/nc_95849036/

 

If you don't mind living a bit farther away from the old master, here is another, less grand house for around US$700k, and this comes with full land ownership. 

https://suumo.jp/chukoikkodate/kanagawa/sc_kamakura/nc_96082946/

 

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Greetings thread followers...especially former Kamakura resident, Big Bad Tombo!

 

So first off....Tom know his Japanese history and his Kamakura s**t! However, there seems to be an evolution in thought among Hongakuji administrators.  This is the part that needs further research as pointed out by Guido...... So Tom, when flights and immigration matters get smooth I invite you to help me resolve the budding contradictions at Hongakuji....

 

       Within the grounds of Hongaku-ji, there is a tall stone monument that was set up in the late Edo period, Tempo 1835.  Inscribed: Myoho Goro Nyudo Masamune hi Tempo kinoto hitsujidoshi aki Kankarin shujin sho which translates into Lotus Sutra Monument of Goro Nyudo Masamune Fall in the year of the sheep Tempo (1835) by the donor Kankarin, a pseudonym of Matsudaira Naooki, a Mori fief Daimyo. On the backside is a reference stating that Masamune was ordained to priesthood by Nichiren, hence the "Nyudo" addition to the name.

       So we can say the Nichiren/Masamune connection is “carved in stone.” Inscribed in the base are the names of sword dealers who also contributed to this memorial.

Moving into the cemetery about 15 meters from the tall momument, we find a stupa said to have been erected by an early generation Yamamura Tsunahiro to mourn his ancestor Masamune. The stupa pedestal inscription reads: Shinryu-haka tsuchinoe-ne shogatsu juichinichi zokumyo Masamune: translated as Grave of Shinryu, eleventh day of the first month of the of the earth rat which could correspond to 1348.  Masamune’s posthumous Buddhist name is Shinryu Nikken. Taking into account the timeline between the death of Masamune and the working period of Yamamura Tsunahiro, there is quite a gap in time. Therefore it is illogical to conclude that this marker actually is Masamune's grave, unless it was erected over top of Masamune's original resting spot.... so where does Masamune actually rest? The big mystery.....

 

 

 

      Deeper in the cemetery grounds, there are two very ancient tomb markers, in very early form (Nambokucho style) with inscriptions weathered away. A month ago, when I visited Hongakuji, I went to the admin. office and made an inquiry to end this dilemma.   Not being able to resolve this neatly was causing me stress and serious sleep loss.  This may well account for my obesity......not knowing the truth: overeating and drinking for the past forty years.  I am blaming my poor physical condition .... you guessed it.....on Guido...not Masamune.  Guido makes me drink too much, but not for long as Guido will be moving back to Germany in July. 

      Sorry for the digression..... A kind Hongakuji Temple administrative attendant explicitly stated that these two ancient tombs were those of Masamune and Sadamune, side by side resting for eternity. Next to these two tomb markers, is a large Yamamura family tomb and nearby are a series of at least ten individual markers for the remains of successive generations of Tsunahiro swordsmiths. As Tom has mentioned the current Yamamura Tsunahiro is the 24th generation successor.....so you see the Soshu school lives on in Kamakura.

      So friends, the truth hinges on whether the Temple administrator was pulling my leg or not..... Next time I will ask for supporting documentation.....

      Yours in serious investigative journalism,

       RRH

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Brilliant!

Go ask Yamamura Sensei, I am sure he can clear it up. His place is just the other side of the station and I know a good place to get a drink over there...

-t

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Tom,

 

I'll keep on the detective work but would like to join forces with you...so we can bask in the glory together! Or at least get a sunburn in front of one of the beach bars.....

 

I do look forward to the day when we will clink our pint glasses.... Across the street from Yamamura's forge and tucked in the ground floor of a building right beside the tracks is a great little Izakaya....Is that the one?

 

Best,

Robert

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On 5/2/2021 at 8:10 PM, SteveM said:

If you don't mind living a bit farther away from the old master, here is another, less grand house for around US$700k, and this comes with full land ownership. 

https://suumo.jp/chukoikkodate/kanagawa/sc_kamakura/nc_96082946/

 

SteveM   =  Thank you for humoring me.  Choice B looks like a rather good fit.

--Not joking--. 

 

In 3to5 years we may be hunting for such a home, though it would be more likely that we are in the Kyoto area instead of the Tokyo area. Still, Kamakura has always been tempting.

 

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Good grief. You guys do know that those prices will get you a seriously luxury house near the sea in Cape Town, right?
About $750K - https://www.privateproperty.co.za/for-sale/western-cape/cape-town/atlantic-seaboard/camps-bay/T1919926

Granted, it's not Japan. But you get serious luxury here for even half that price in an upmarket area.

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1 hour ago, Brian said:

Good grief. You guys do know that those prices will get you a seriously luxury house near the sea in Cape Town, right?
About $750K - https://www.privateproperty.co.za/for-sale/western-cape/cape-town/atlantic-seaboard/camps-bay/T1919926

Granted, it's not Japan. But you get serious luxury here for even half that price in an upmarket area.

 

And it is all relative.

     Currently $700k won't get you much where I live. We seem to be in another slight bubble period. We also lived in NYC during a boom time when 700k would get you 1 bedroom apartment with rats. And I remember c.1989 Japan at the top of the Golden Egg era. Toyota was selling pre-fab houses for $500,000 -$600,000. If you had the land, they'd plop down the sort of house that would have costed about $50,000 in Georgia at that time. I hate RE. Not my game.

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A truism is; location, location, location. My house was 350k with beach front to the ocean and a lake to the side. White sand stretching for miles. Sound like paradise? No. Bad location. There is little demand for property on the Arctic Ocean. Why the price? 54k was the cost to ship the materials; about 80k for labour. The house would be under 200k down south a thousand miles or so. John

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Can't really get a better location that the millionaire mile in Capetown. $350K will get you a nice house there. In one of the best tourist spots in the world with CT beaches not too far your doorstep. And it's safe with luxury food and living.
Not trying to sell the place, but those with low average retirement income should consider it.
 

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Bob - 

Thats the spot!

 

Brian - 

Sounds perfect! Who's buried there!?! :-)

 

-t

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1 hour ago, Toryu2020 said:

Brian - 

Sounds perfect! Who's buried there!?! :-)

No-one I can admit to in public :rotfl:

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