Sengaku-ji Temple   泉岳寺

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Built in 1612 by the shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu (1543-1616), the Sengaku-ji today remains a popular religious place of Japanese.

Built in 1612 by the shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu (1543-1616), the Sengaku-ji today remains a popular religious place of Japanese.

Status Yoshio Oishi, the leader of the revenge of the 47 ronin, whose tomb lies in the cemetery of Sengaku-ji in Asakusa.

Status Yoshio Oishi, the leader of the revenge of the 47 ronin, whose tomb lies in the cemetery of Sengaku-ji.

The 47 ronin Burial bathed in incense to remind their loyalty to the daimyo.

The 47 ronin Burial bathed in incense to remind their loyalty to the daimyo.

Avenging the death of their master, the 47 ronin testified to the Japanese ideal of fidelity.

Avenging the death of their master, the 47 ronin testified to the Japanese ideal of fidelity.

The religion of loyalty

This Buddhist temple of the Edo era (1603-1868) was the scene of one of the most famous samurai stories.

Built in 1612 by the shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu (1543-1616), then rebuilt thirty years later after a fire, the Sengaku-ji remains today a very dynamic religious site for the Soto School of Zen. For the Japanese, it represents the ideal of loyalty.

47 sepulchers

It is indeed within its grounds that lie the forty-seven most famous samurai of the Archipelago, whose master daimyo (powerful feudal ruler), Naganori Asano, was sentenced to suicide in 1701 for having drawn his sword within the grounds of the Shogun Palace and having injured one of the peers of the court. Refusing to betray the memory of their former master, the forty-seven ronin (masterless samurai) met two years later to avenge him and kill Kira Yoshinaka, the daimyo who prevoked their master in the shogun's court. They then took his head as an offering to Asano's tomb in Sengaku-ji Temple, after having cleansed it with water from a well, which can still be seen on the site.

Following their vengeance, the shogun commanded them to commit seppuku (suicide by disembowelment). And since, the forty-seven dissidents rest beside their master in Sengaku-ji cemetery, where a statue of their leader, Yoshio Oishi, presides.

Place of rememberance

Many Japanese people still come to burn incense at their tombs, which are identified by their names and ages, to honor them and their loyalty to the daimyo. Along with the main door, these are the last original features of the site, as the main building has been rebuilt in concrete. A memorial dedicated to the story of the samurai can be visited in the temple, but notes are in Japanese. Every year, on December 14th (the day of the revenge of the ronin), a popular festival takes place here, and when it is also possible to enjoy culinary specialties such as okonomiyaki (Japanese pancakes).

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