Sunday, April 22, 2012

Gosho Shrine


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Gosho Shrine is located on a hillside not far from Kumadaniji in Awa City, Tokushima. It was originally located closer to the Yoshino River but a flood in 1699 caused it to be moved. Gosho means imperial palace and is named after a palace built in the area by ex-Emperor Tsuchimikado who is one of the two main kami enshrined here. the other is Susano. A strange combination.

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Tsuchimikado was born in 1196, the first son of Emperor Gotoba. He ascended the throne in 1198 at the age of 3 (4 by the Japanese way of counting age) after his father abdicated. At the ripe old age of 16 Tsuchimikado abdicated in favor of his younger brother. The real power behind the throne was the retired Gotoba, but this was the time of the rise of the Kamakura Shogunate and in the Jokyu war of 1221 fought between Gotoba and the Hojo, regents of the shogunate, Gotoba was defeated and sent into exile on the Oki islands. Tsuchimikado was exiled to Shikoku, first in what is now Kochi, and then later here to Awa.

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In 1227 Tsuchimikado built a palace somewhere near here and in 1231 he died at the age of 37. I have been unable to find out how he died, but I would guess that he was assassinated as it was not usual for emperors or ex-emperors to be enshrined unless they had died of political violence. Death under such circumstances would result in an "angry ghost" that would need placating. It was not until the modern period that most of the emperors who are now enshrined as kami became enshrined.

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Ther were quite a few old paintings in the main hall of the shrine, and I love the way that the pigments have faded and allow the woodgrain to come to the fore........

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