Saturday, August 27, 2011

Shiho and Ando

Japanese cities grew up around farms and castles over the course of hundreds of years, so it shouldn't be particularly surprising to see that the layout of streets and blocks isn't overly regular or systematic. This makes trying to find a given location difficult at times, so you want to have a good map and follow it closely. The tourist map that I have is pretty good, but not all the time. From Koto junior high, if you go north to the first side street and head west, you get to route 20. Just the other side of 20 is a hospital. According to the map, the next historical marker is in the middle of the driveway leading to the lobby entrance of the hospital. I spent 10 minutes wandering around looking for that marker before deciding to turn north and go back to the apartment. Then, at the end of the block, next to the main employee parking lot, I found it. Again, there's two markers here.


"Site of Shiho Gakusha Local School
This is the site of Kenji no sha, 1892-1969, where seniors taught juniors to develop the samurai spirit through the practice of martial arts. The four samurai schools, Furu-shinyashiki, Shin-shinyashiki, Tenokuchi and Umanoribaba would combine to become the Shiho Gakusha School after undergoing various changes such as a Branch of the Shigakko. Prime Minister Kuroda Kiyotaka, sculptor Ando Teru, and many other outstanding people received their educations here. In commemoration of the centennial of the Meiji Restoration, the Gakusha School was relocated to the precinct of the Nanshu Shrine in 1968, where activities resumed. 1976 marked the 100th Anniversary of the Gakusha School."


"Birthplace of Ando Teru
Ando Teru, sculptor, was born in the northeastern corner of this area, now Kagoshima City Hospital, in 1892. While attending the Tokyo School of Fine Arts, his work was accepted for the Teiten Imperial Fine Arts Exhibition. Later, Ando was the recipient of a special commendation for his works, "Stream", "Sprouting", "Dancing Composition" and "To the Sky". In fact, "To the Sky" was the first to win the Imperial Fine Arts Prize. Later Ando became a screening committee member for the same prize. Ando was fascinated by the expression of essential form, especially the feeling of massiveness. In 1929, he established Kaijinsha. His representative works include a "Statue of Saigo Takamori" and "Hachiko, the Faithful Dog"."

(Note that the bronze statue of Hachiko (the dog made famous in the U.S. in the Richard Gere movie) that sits in front of Shibuya station in Tokyo was originally made in 1934, and then melted down for the metal during WW II. The one that is there now was commissioned in 1948 by Ando's son, Takeshi.)

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