2015-08-12

Taira no Masakado

- BACK to the Daruma Museum -
. Legends - Heian Period (794 to 1185) - Introduction .
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Taira no Masakado 平将門 / 平將門
(? – 940) - 延喜3年(903年)? - 天慶3年2月14日(940年3月25日)

A lot has been written about this hero of old !

Shoomonki, Shōmonki 将門記 Shomonki - The Records of Masakado, Masakado Chronicle


CLICK for more photos !

He was a kokushi 国司 governor of Shimosa.
(for kokushi, see below)

He revolted against the government in Kyoto because of the ruthless attitude of the Kokushi in the Kanto region, squeezing the poor farmers to ever more taxes.
After a great earthquake and the eruption of Mount Fuji the farmers of Kanto were in even more distress and many left the region.
So Masakado stepped in to help them.

He also invented the curved Japanese sword, more suited to kill the enemy while riding a horse.
He had enough metal mines in his region.
In a dream he saw a messenger from Michizane, asking him to stand up and fight.

. Sugawara Michizane 菅原道真 (845 - 903) .

Masakado was (most probably) the only one in Japanese history who proclaimed himself as
New Emperor, Shinoo, Shin-Oo 新皇 in the Eastern Region in 939.

939年(天慶2)11月21日に常陸国府を制圧した将門は,12月19日に上野の国司を追放して国庁に入り,弟や従者を伊豆と関東諸国の受領(ずりよう)に任じたが,このとき - a messenger of Hachiman Daibosatsu 八幡大菩薩の使と口ばしる昌伎 (kamunagi) から位記を授けられ〈新皇〉と称するようになる。同書はこれ以後の将門を新皇と記すが,一方で京都の朱雀天皇を〈本皇〉〈本天皇〉としているので,新皇とはもともとの天皇に対する新しい天皇の意味であろう。

新皇将門 / 平新皇
- source : wikipedia -

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He also had a lot of kagemusha 影武者 doubles (probably 7) to protect his own whereabouts.

During the final battle, the wind was on his side in the beginning, the first Southern Wind of the Season, Haru Ichiban 春一番. He almost won the battle, but then the wind turned and one arrow of his enemy hit him in the head (the eye) . . . that was the End!.


Tawara Tōda 俵藤太 "Rice-bag Tōda" - Tawara Toda cut off the head of Masakado
Fujiwara no Hidesato alias Tawara Tota (Toda)
. Fujiwara no Hidesato 藤原秀郷 .
Hidesato became friendly with 桔梗の前 Kikyo, the mistress of Masakado and asked her to tell him to distinguish between the many kagemusha doubles. She told him and then and became a huge serpent at 菅沼 Sugenuma.
To kill the "real" Masakado, Hidesato had to aim his arrow at the one that cast a shadow.
.
On his way to Kyoto to deliver the head with the helmet, he encountered many strange things and eventually burried the box with the helmet. This place is now called Koosan 甲山 Kosan, "Mount Helmet".



. Masakado's Rebellion 平将門の乱 - Heian History .
A detailed account !

. Kanda Myojin Shrine 神田明神 . - Tokyo
The three deities enshrined are Daikokuten, Ebisu, and Taira no Masakado.


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平将門 Taira no Masakado

APPEARANCE:
Taira no Masakado was a samurai of the Heian period, a powerful warrior, and a great leader. He was born either in the late 800s or early 900s CE and was killed in 940. After his death, his spirit is said to have returned as a vengeful ghost and brought destruction across the country. Along with Emperor Sutoku and Sugawara no Michizane, he is one of the Nihon San Dai Onryō — Three Great Onryō of Japan.
Though Taira no Masakado’s birth date is unknown,
he is believed to have been born sometime around when Sugawara no Michizane died. A Meiji period biography of Taira no Masakado suggests that he may have been Sugawara no Michizane’s reincarnation; his revolt against the emperor may actually have been a continuation of Michizane’s curse.

ORIGIN:
Taira no Masakado was born into the Kanmu Heishi, the clan of Taira descended from Emperor Kanmu. It was an elite family. Masakado had a privileged childhood in the capital, after which he settled down in Shimosa Province in Eastern Japan, northeast of modern day Tokyo. His troubles only began after his father died. Inheritance laws at this time were not firmly established, and his uncles tried to steal most of his father’s land. They claimed their royal lineage gave them the right to do so.
In 935 CE,
the dispute with his family members broke into outright battle. Masakado was ambushed by one of his uncles and a number of Minamoto warriors. But Masakado was a powerful warrior. He quickly defeated them, and then took his revenge by burning their lands, ravaging the countryside, and slaughtering thousands. This brought him into conflict with other relatives by blood and by marriage, who brought their dispute to the emperor.
Taira no Masakado
was summoned to court to answer charges of the relatives of the dead Minamoto warriors. Masakado was not only brave, he was also smart. He had taken great pains to remain within the law and proved that he had good reason for his killings. After only a few months, he was fully pardoned when the court offered a general amnesty in commemoration of Emperor Suzaku’s coming of age.
Taira no Masakado
returned to his home, but soon found himself under attack. This time, it was his father-in-law and his relatives. Again, Masakado quickly defeated them. To avoid stirring up more political trouble, Masakado received a warrant to apprehend his attackers. Now, with legal sanction for his military action, he stormed into their lands on a quest for revenge.
In 938 CE, Taira no Masakado received another court summons for questioning about a quarrel with one of the cousins who had attacked him. This time, Masakado ignored the summons. He raised a large force and invaded Hitachi Province. He conquered eight provinces: Shimotsuke, Kozuke, Musashi, Kazusa, Awa, Sagami, Izu, and Shimosa. The whole time, he maintained his innocence, insisting that his campaign was legal under the terms of his warrant.
The government was seen as ineffectual and the nobles as abusive by the peasants of the time. Taira no Masakado, on the other hand, treated the peasants of his conquered domains much better than their former masters did. His insurrection was seen as a salvation by many peasants. They welcomed him gladly. The court feared that Taira no Masakado was preparing to overthrow the government and declare himself the new Emperor of Japan. He was condemned as a rebel and a traitor.
A number of warriors — including Masakado’s ally Fujiwara no Hidesato and some his own relatives— were commissioned by the government to take his head. They caught up with Masakado’s army in Shimosa province on the fourteenth day of the second month of 940 CE. They attacked during a night ambush and quickly defeated the rebels. Masakado’s men were outnumbered ten to one. Masakado was beheaded, betrayed by his friends and family. The head was brought back to Kyoto to be displayed in the east market as a message to would-be rebels.



LEGENDS:
Strangely, Taira no Masakado’s head did not decompose. Many months after it was first displayed in the east market, it still looked as fresh as the day it was severed. The eyes had grown fiercer, and the mouth twisted up into a hideous grimace. Night after night the head would call out,
“Where is my murdered body!? Come here! Reattach my head and let me fight once again!”
「斬られた体を呼び戻し、再び一緒になって進軍するぞ」
And then things got really strange.
One night the head began to glow.
It flew off into the sky, across the country, towards Shimosa. The head eventually grew tired and landed to rest in a fishing village called Shibazaki (which would one day grow into the city of Edo). The villagers who found the head cleaned it and buried it. A shrine was erected over the grave and named Kubizuka—the mound of the head. Masakado was honored and worshipped by the peasants as a true warrior, a symbol of justice who stood in heroic defiance of a corrupt and lazy nobility. He was seen as an underdog who was repeatedly betrayed and eventually murdered by those he should have been able to trust. Despite his deification and popularity among the lower classes, his ghost was not appeased. A few years after his head was buried, the ghost of a samurai began to be seen in the neighborhood of his shrine.
In the early 1300s,
a great plague struck Edo. Many people died. The plague was attributed to Taira no Masakado’s anger. In order to appease him, his spirit was moved from his small shrine to the larger and more prestigious Kanda Shrine. He was designated one of the main gods, and his spirit was placated—for a while. In 1874, Emperor Meiji visited the Kanda Shrine. It was viewed as inappropriate for an enemy of the imperial family like Masakado to be honored when the emperor was visiting, and so his deity status was revoked. His shrine was moved to a smaller building outside of the main shrine.
Taira no Masakado’s anger returned in 1928.
After the Great Kanto Earthquake 関東大震災 destroyed much of the city, the site of his Kubizuka was chosen as the temporary location for the Ministry of Finance 大蔵省本庁. Shortly afterwards, the Minister of Finance became sick and died. Over a dozen other employees died, and even more became sick or were injured in falls and accidents in the building. Rumors about the curse ran began to spread. The Ministry of Finance building was demolished and a memorial service for Masakado was held at the Kanda Shrine.
Throughout the 20th century,
a number of other accidents, fires, sicknesses, and mysterious sightings were attributed to the curse of Taira no Masakado. Each time, purification rituals were performed. Finally, in 1984, in response to public pressure, his deity status was reinstated. Today, great pains are taken not to anger his ghost. For example, it is common practice for television stations to visit the grave of his head, still located in what is now Otemachi, Tokyo 東京都千代田区大手町. They pay their respects to him before his character appears on any show. The Kubizuka is maintained by an organization of local businesses and volunteers who have taken on the responsibility of upkeeping of his grave.
- source : yokai.com -


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. goryoo, onryoo 御霊、怨霊 vengeful spirits .
- Introduction -

Sudo, Sudoo Tenno 崇道天皇 (? - 785) and his son,
Iyo Shinno 伊予親王.
his mother, Fujiwara Fujin, 藤原婦人
Fujiwara Hirotsugu, 藤原広嗣
Tachibana Hayanari, 橘逸勢
Bunya no Miyata Maro 文室宮田麻呂
Kibi no Makibi 吉備真備
Sugawara Michizane 菅原道真

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. Nine Stars Crest 九曜紋 ... Kuyoo Mon / kushitsu 九執 .

Masakaso was a grest believer in the star constellations and brought the belief of Myoken and the nine constellations to many parts of Japan.


Taira no Masakado (平将門)
(?–March 25, 940)

was a member of the Kammu Taira clan of Japan. He was the son of Taira no Yoshimochi, Chinjufu Shogun. His childhood name was Sōma Kojirō. Taira no Masakado was a powerful landowner in the Kantō region.
He is regarded as the first bushi because he was the first to lead a self-governing party.

The Taira Masakado Insurrection of 939-940 - known in Japanese as Jōhei - Tengyō no ran,

In 939, during the Heian period of Japanese history, he rebelled by attacking the outpost of the central government in Hitachi Province, capturing the governor. In December of that year he conquered Shimotsuke and Kōzuke Provinces, and claimed the title of Shinnō (New Emperor). Masakado killed his uncle Kunika who was part Taira. The central government in Kyoto responded by putting a bounty on his head, and fifty-nine days later his cousin Sadamori, whose father Masakado had attacked and killed, and Fujiwara no Hidesato, killed him at the Battle of Kojima (Shimōsa Province) in 940 and took his head to the capital.

His tomb (which contains only a monument to his head) is near exit C5 of Tokyo's Ōtemachi subway station.

When Masakado was preparing for his revolt, a vast swarm of butterflies appeared in Kyoto, considered a portent of the upcoming battle.

Over the centuries, Masakado became a hero and even a demigod to the locals who were impressed by his stand against the central government, while at the same time feeling the need to appease his malevolent spirit. The fortunes of Edo and Tokyo seemed to wax and wane correspondingly with the respect paid to the shrine built to him at the kubizuka — neglect would be followed by natural disasters and other misfortunes. Hence, to this day, the shrine is well maintained, occupying some of the most expensive land in the world in Tokyo’s financial district near the Imperial Palace.

Other shrines which he is deity of include Kanda Shrine (神田明神 Kanda-myōjin) (located in Kanda), and Tsukudo Jinja (which has multiple locations.)

Taira no Masakado's legacy in folklore does not stop with Masakado himself; his daughter, Takiyasha-hime (Princess Takiyasha), also features in Japanese myths.

© More in the WIKIPEDIA !


CLICK for more photos of Masakado


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- quote -
Taira no Masakado, Yin Yang and Tokyo
When Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder and first Shogun of the Tokugawa dynasty (1603-1868), seized power in 1600 he started building the city of Edo, now known as Tokyo, copying the ancient city of Kyoto and based on the Chinese philosophy of Yin Yang.

Ieyasu first moved the front gate of his palace (now known as the imperial palace) close to Taira no Masakado's "Kubizuka" (resting place of his cut-off head) located in today's financial district of Otemachi. Taira no Masakado, a warlord from the middle Heian period and the grandson of Taira no Takamochi who founded the Heike family, was killed by Fujiwara no Hidesato in 940 and became one of the most feared "Onryo" (ghost) in history. Because it was believed that ghosts turn into guardian gods if enshrined with deep respect, Ieyasu decided to use Masakado's ghost to protect his city.

Ieyasu also used other sites related to Masakado. He moved the Kanda Myojin Shrine which worships Masakado to its current location which lies towards the northeast direction of the imperial palace. According Yin Yang philosophy, northeast is an ominous direction know as "Kimon" (Demon's gate) from which plague flows in. Ieyasu tried to block this direction by using Masakado's power.



Other sites such as the Kabuto Shrine (enshrines Masakado's "kabuto" or warrior helmet), the Yoroi Shrine (enshrines Masakado's "Yoroi" or armor) and the Tsukudo Shrine (enshrines the bucket in which Masakado's cut-off head was once placed) were all placed in the important locations of the city of Edo.

In addition, the Zojo-ji Temple was moved to its current location, again, based on Yin Yang philosophy. The current location of the Zojo-ji Temple was close to the Tokaido route (one of the five main routes of the Edo period) which lead to Mt. Fuji. Mt. Fuji is the most sacred place of Yin Yang philosophy and the location of the Zojo-ji Temple was considered to be where energy from Mt. Fuji was flowing into the city of Edo.
- source : discover-tokyo.blogspot.jp-

In fact, the shrines in Edo relating to Masakado are arranged in the form of Hokuto 北斗 the Big Dipper, the Pole Star. Tokugawa Ieyasu thus made sure the Heavens would help protect his town.



1. Torigoe shrine 鳥越神社
2. Kabuto shrine 兜神社
3. Masakado no Kubi-zuka 将門の首塚
4. Kanda shrine 神田明神
5. Tsukudo shrine 筑土八幡神社 - 津久戸明神 Tsukudo Myojin
6. Mizuinari shrine 水稲荷神社
7. Yoroi shrine 鎧神社 


- source : quest-for-japan.com -


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The famous head mound of Masakado in Tokyo
Shoomonzuka 将門塚(しょうもんづか) Shomonzuka (Shomon is another reading of Masakado)

- quote -
The body of Taira Masakado, first buried in what is now Marunouchi, was stolen by his friend and buried somewhere near the shrine Kanda Myojin. His head was severed by Fujiwara no Hidesato and had been buried in variousl places in Edo, carrying its curse with it ... Masakado has a shrouded Force, best left alone...

For one thing, you don't want to mess with Taira no Masakado.
A warrior whose exploits are recorded in the historical work "Taiheiki," Masakado led a rebellion against the throne. After being killed in battle in 940, his severed head was sent to Kyoto as a war trophy and hung from a tree for all to see. But what they saw, so the story goes, was the face continuing to grimace and roll its eyes . . . before the head flew back to eastern Japan under its own power.

Masakado's kubizuka (the mound beneath which tradition says his head still rests) is located in the grounds of a powerful samurai's residence in Edo (present-day Tokyo). When the new Meiji government's finance ministry took over the property in 1869, a small stone monument bearing the legend "Taira Masakado" and the prayer "Namu Amida Butsu (Save us, merciful Buddha)" was erected there.

- - - - - Read the full story - HERE ! - - - - -




WIKIPEDIA : Taira no Masakado



. kubizuka 首塚 head mounds .
- Introduction -

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男ぶり将門公の更衣
otokoburi Masakado koo no koromogae

what a man !
Masakado changes
his robes


. 川崎展宏 Kawasaki Tenko .
Born 1927 in Hiroshima


. koromogae 更衣 changing of the robes .
- - kigo for summer - -

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将門の首を洗ふや新松子
角川春樹


ありやなしや将門の首男郎花
逸見真三


将門の走り抜けたる雁渡し
太田土男


将門が顔して神田祭衆
愛澤豊嗣

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CLICK for more books about Masakado !

平将門 - 竜崎攻

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- - - - - More Legends - - - - -

The souls of the defeated warrior Taira no Masayori 平将頼 (? - 940)
was left on the battlefield and cursed the place for more than 480 years.
Then a pupil of Saint Ippen named 真数坊 Shinsubo build a hermitage and prayed for his soul.
He also made the brother of Masayori, Masakado, into a deity to appease him.
So the bad one who cursed the Kanto region for so long was in fact not Masakado, but his brother Masayori.

Masayori became 下野守 Shimotsuke no Kami regent of the Shimotsuke region after Masakado declared himself as the "New Emperor". He was also called "Ason" 朝臣, another title bestowed by the New Emperor.
After the death of Masakado he was also killed in Sagami (Kanto region).

- source : wikipedia -

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. 八幡大菩薩 Hachiman Daibosatsu and Masakado .

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.................................................................. Tokyo 東京都  ....................................................................

In 1928 the newspaper 報知新聞 Hochi Shinbun published an article about the "Curse of Masakado" 将門のたゝり, which led to a lavish ritual to appease his soul.

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When Mitsui Bussan tried to build an office 三井物産ビル, they wanted to buy the land with the Kubizuka of Masakado. But they were afraid of the curse of Masakado 将門の祟り and bought a different plot.

They also offered a gamagaeru ガマガエル toad to Kanda Myojin shrine.

In aonther office building, many workers became ill with high fever all of a sudden after moving to their new seats near the windows. Checking for the reason they found the seats had turned their backside toward the Kubizuka.
So all the desks and seats at the window side were changed to face the Kubizuka . . . and the workers were well again.

Mitsui Bussan and the 若王子信行 Wakaoji Nobuyuki (1933 - 1989) kidnapping in the Philippines:
. Edo - Kanda 神田 Kanda district  .

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When the American army アメリカ軍 after the war tried to clear some land for a camp in Chiyoda, the driver of the bulldozer and a few other workers died in mysterious circumstances. Investigating they found it was too close to the land of the Kubizuka.

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One 旗本家 Hatamoto samurai family once got the kabutohelmet of Masakado by some of his descendants in exchange for money. On the first night in the new home, the house begun to scream and squeek and shake, so next morning they gave it back to its owner.

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渋谷区 Shibuya

At the temple 荘厳寺 Shogon-Ji there is a statue of 不動明王 Fudo Myo-O. 藤原秀郷 Fujiwara Hidesato came here to pray for victory and to partake of the power of this statue.

. Hatagaya Fudo  幡ヶ谷不動 Shogon-Ji .


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奥多摩 Okutama

Masakado Jinja 将門神社 Shrine for Masakado
Masakado no Miya 将門宮



The shrine was built by his son, Taira no Yoshikado 平良門, to pray for his soul.
Further up the mountain there is

Masakadoyama Fudo-Son 将門山不動尊



将軍太郎良門 Shôguntarô Taira Yoshikado
- reference - Taira Yoshikado -


.................................................................. Chichibu 秩父 Saitama 埼玉県 ...................

Joomine Jinja 城峯神社 shrine Jomine Jinja



Masakado is venerated here as the Deity in Residence.
Masakado fled to this region in the Chichibu mountains when he was fighting with Fujiwara no Hidesato.
Legend knows he built a castle at 城峯山 Jominesan and hid there. But Hidesato found him and his retainers and they had to flee again.
To appease his soul, the villagers built this shrine.

At 皆野町 Minano in the temple compound of 日野明徳寺 Myotoku-Ji, there is a stone marker on a natural boulder. This is said to be the grave of the favorite horse of Masakado.


.................................................................. Chiba 千葉県  ....................................................................
成田市 Narita

. Narita Fudo 成田不動尊 Chiba .

- quote -
Narita San 成田山 Shinshō-ji 新勝寺 "New victory temple" 
The temple was established in 940 to commemorate the victory of the forces dispatched from the Heian capital to suppress a revolt by the powerful Kantō region samurai, Taira no Masakado.

The Shingon priest 寛朝大僧 Kanchō accompanied the force, bringing with him an image of Fudō myōō from the Gomadō (Fire Offering Hall) of Takao-san Jingo-ji in Kyōtō. Shingon founder 弘法大師 Kōbō Daishi himself was said to have carved the image and used it in Goma sacred fire rituals that helped stop a rebellion during his era. The rebellion in 940 also came to an end just as Kanchō completed a three-week Goma ritual with the same image.


source : naritasan.or.jp

According to legend, the image of the Unmovable Wisdom King became too heavy after the victory to move back to its home base, so a new temple on Narita-san, named Shinshō-ji (New Victory Temple), was built to enshrine it on the spot.
The temple maintains that the original image is enshrined in the Main Hall, where it is displayed on special occasions, but art historians date the current image to no earlier than the 13th century.
- source : wikipedia -



.................................................................. Gifu 岐阜県   ....................................................................
不破郡 Fuwa district - 矢通村 Yadori "Shot by an Arrow"

Mikubi Jinja 御頭神社 "Honorable Head Shrine"
On his way from Kyoto back to Kanto, Masakado's head flew over Gifu and someone shot an arrow at it.
To appease Masakado, this shrine was erected.



Now people come here to be healed from diseases of the head, like headache and stroke.
People buy amulets for prevention or offer a hat when they got healed.

- More photos are here:
- source : gifu-net.com/kutikomi-t -


.................................................................. Kyoto 京都府  ....................................................................

There is a 銀杏 Gingko tree in the town where the head of Masakado got hooked up on his flight to Kanto.
This kind of legend is also known in other regions on his way.



.................................................................. Nara 奈良県  ....................................................................

During the Rebellion of Masakado, the statue of the Nio at the gate (Shitsu Kongoo Shin 執金剛神) of the Hokke-Do hall at Todai-Ji 東大寺法華堂 suddenly disappeared.
After the rebellion it returned to its cabinet, but one of the feathers behind its head was missing. Now people knew that this deity had become a bee 蜂 and helped the army 征討軍.
The statue is therefore also called 蜂神 "Bee Deity".
But it a "Hidden Statue" and not shown to the public.


source : wikipedia


. Masakado's Rebellion 平将門の乱 - Heian History .



.................................................................. Shiga 滋賀県   ....................................................................
愛知郡 Aichi district

There is a mound called "Shogunzuka" 将軍塚 which is said to be for Masakado.
(Other souces say it is an old Kofun.

Another famous Shogunzuka is in Kyoto.



.................................................................. Yamanashi 山梨県 ................................................................
大月市 Otsuki

Gorinzuka 五輪塚 "Mound of five rings"


source : kyukaidou-tougemichi

Near the pass 松姫峠 Matsuhimetoge.
Legend knows that special mementos of Masakado are burried here. In former times people prepared new straw sandals every year at the O-Bon festival for the ancestors to come here and clean the place. But then a white serpent appeared and claimed it as a sacred spot. People did not enter after that.

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北都留郡 Kitatsuru district

nakane no kin なかねの金 nakane gold

The ancestors of the 川久保 Kawakubo family once found some nakane no kin near the old hunting ground (kariba カリバ). Legend knows it was lost there by Masakado and cursed, so they should bring it back to its place. Since that time, people come here to bring ritual offerings on the 17th day of the 11th lunar month, the day of kariba カリバの日.

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- - - 平将門はなぜ殺されたのか?

- Reference in Japanese 歴史鑑定 BS TBS -

Shoomonki 将門記 Shomonki - The Records of Masakado
- reference -

- Reference in English -

yokai database 妖怪データベース
- source : www.nichibun.ac.jp -

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. minwa 民話 folktales / densetsu 伝説 Japanese Legends .
- Introduction -

- Yookai 妖怪 Yokai Monsters of Japan -
- Introduction -

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Masakado in our times - food and restaurants


CLICK for more photos !

Masakaso Senbei 将門煎餅

Masakaso Soba, Masakado Ramen . . .

. Senbei 煎餅 rice crackers .

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Kokushi 国司, also read Kuni no tsukasa
were officials in Classical Japan sent from the central government to oversee a province from around the 8th century, after the enactment of the Ritsuryō system. Kokushi held considerable power and responsibility according to the Ritsuryō, including tax collection, etc. The highest level for a Kokushi was Kami (守). So, for instance, the chief kokushi (governor) of Kai would have the title of Kai no Kami (甲斐守). In some cases, the Kami himself was living directly in the province he was charged with, delegating his powers to lower ranking officials. The highest official effectively in charge of the province was called Zuryō (受領).

Kokushi lost their power during the Kamakura Shogunate and furthermore during the Muromachi Shogunate to the Shugo. In subsequent generations, especially in the Edo period, a kokushi title remained as an honorific title.

Ritsuryō (律令) Ritsuryo
is the historical law system based on the philosophies of Confucianism and Chinese Legalism in Japan. The political system in accord to Ritsuryō is called "Ritsuryō-sei" (律令制). Kyaku (格) are amendments of Ritsuryō, Shiki (式) are enactments.

Ritsuryō defines both a criminal code (律 Ritsu) and an administrative code (令 Ryō).
During the late Asuka period (late 6th century – 710) and Nara period (710 – 794), the imperial court, trying to replicate China's rigorous political system from the Tang Dynasty, created and enforced some collections of Ritsuryō. Over the course of centuries, the ritsuryō state produced more and more information which was carefully archived; however, with the passage of time in the Heian period, ritsuryō institutions evolved into a political and cultural system without feedback.

The ritsuryō system also established a central administrative government, with the Emperor at its head.

In 645, the Taika reforms were the first signs of implementation of the system.

Registration of the citizens (戸籍 koseki), updated every 6 years, and a yearly tax book (計帳 keichō) were established. Based on the keichō, a tax system was established called (租庸調 So-yō-chō). Tax was levied on rice crops but also on several local products (e.g. cotton, salt, tissue) sent to the capital.

The system also established local corvée at a provincial level by orders of the kokushi (国司), a corvée at the Capital (although the corvée at the capital could be replaced by goods sent) and military service.
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