Friday, August 10, 2012

Kindness of Strangers, Part 4



I returned from the Christian cemetery back along the way I'd come, finally reaching the fancy-looking street and the steps up the residential-looking hill.  By this time, I'd been out for well over two hours, and this flight of steps left me exhausted.  I went through the two snack cakes and the bottle of tea very quickly.  While I was trying to recover, a group of junior high students did laps running up the steps and then back down.


("The Monument of the Prefectural Governor Iwamura
Michitoshi Iwamura (1840-1915) was from Tosa (Kochi Prefecture at present). He was a Warrior of the Tosa Clan. He studied Chinese literature and learned how to use a Japanese sword. In the 1st year of Meiji (1868), in the Boshin War, he went to the war as an army officer. He took part in various battles as far as Echigo. After the Restoration of Meiji, he served the new Government, and in 1877 he worked to dispose of the Southwest War as Governor of Kagoshima Prefecture. When the War finished at Shiroyama, he buried Saigo, Kinno, and the others remains sent to the old Jokomyoji Temple (the Nanshu Shrine at present) deep under the ground courteously. And he set up a tombstone with his own inscription for the war dead.  It is said that Iwamura believed in that Saigo's idea could be certainly understood by the coming generations in the future world, and he rejected regards for feelings of the Government and entangled rumors of the people. Later he served as Governor and then Minister of Agriculture and Commerce.")


("A Night-light
This night-light was presented by Tokyo City in May 1939 in gratitude for the contribution Saigo Takamori and Katsu Kaishu made to the bloodless takeover of Edo Castle, which helped save the lives of one million Tokyo citizens. The night-light is made of Kedana stone. Atsuhime, a daughter of the Satsuma lord, married the 13th Shogun, Takugawa Iesada, and later she became known as Tenshoin after Iesada's death. She played a significant role in this bloodless takeover of Edo Castle by sending petitions to Saigo Takamori for the continuance of the Tokugawa family.")

At the top of this hill, one of the marker maps declared that this was the Saigo cemetery.
("Nanshu Cemetery
... My life is at an end and I do not ask for fame ...
1877, Suffering heavy defeats at Kumamoto Castle and Tabaruzaka, the Satsuma army retreated to Shiroyama where, with General Saigo Takamori's suicide, the seven month Seinan Civil War came to an end.
2,023 officers and men of the Satsuma army are buried here at the Nanshu Cemetery. Saigo, who died in Iwasaki Valley during the Shiroyama battle on September 24, 1877 and about 40 of his men were first buried. Two years later, the bones of soldiers who had taken part in the different battles of the revolt, were collected from other graves and moved to this cemetery. Six years later, more bones were collected from Miyazaki, Kumamoto, and Oita prefectures and buried here.
Saigo's tombstone is in the center of the cemetery. On it's left is the tombstone of Kinno, who fought desperately to the end. On the right are the tombstones of Shinohara, Murata, Beppu, and Katsura, who where officers of the Satsuma Army. Also buried here are Oyama, executed for supporting Saigo, two young men named Ijichi and Ikeda (who died at the age of only 14), and the five Kodama brothers, who all died in the same battle. Some of Saigo's supporters from other prefectures are also buried here.
A building to commemorate the war dead was built here in 1879, and in 1922 it became the Nanshu Shrine and was dedicated to General Saigo.")

As I was looking around, two older gentlemen greeted me and we talked for a while.  They were very friendly, but I was starting to fade and I begged off to keep exploring.  The cemetery has about 20 marker signs in English and Japanese, so I only recorded a few of the main ones.  There's a shrine to one side, with statues of Saigo inside, plus the main memorial hall.  The hall is closed on Mondays, but they don't allow cameras inside, so I didn't feel like I was missing any opportuinies by not being able to go in.


("Katsu Kaishu's epitaph for Saigo
In 1873 Saigo Takamori, having lost government support for his Korean mission proposal, returned to Kagoshima. He founded his Private School for Young Men. Four years later, student riots sparked off the Seinan War, which ended in Saigo heroically sacrificing himself for his students' cause. The poem here inscribed was dedicated by his close friend, Katsu Kaishu.
The lamp was presented by Tokyo City in May 1939 in gratitude for the contribution Saigo and Kaishu made to the bloodless takeover of Edo Castle.  The inscription is carved in the same Kedana stone as the lamp.")


("A brief description of the Life of Huang Xing
Huang Xing, together with Sun Yat-sen, was a main figure of the 1911 Chinese Revolution. He was born to a scholar's family in Changsha, Hunan Province. He had a quiet, yet steadfastly brave personality and was physically imposing, with the air of a hero. He was famous as a writer and calligrapher.  In 1902, he was selected for exchange to Japan, and studied at Koubun Gakoin in Tokyo. From early on, he was a driving force in the movement to overthrow the Manchu Dynasty and democratize China. He was recommended to head the democratic revolutionary "Society for the Revival of China" (Hua Xing Hui) which joined with Sun Yat-sen's "Revive China Society" (Xing Zhong Hui) in Japan.  In 1909, at the invitation of his friend, Toten Miyazaki, he visited Kagoshima and while paying homage at the Nanshu Cemetery, composed the following poem: '8000 disciples, while following the master's fate, now happily rest together. The world's battles are like a single game of Go, victory or defeat is just a matter of luck at the right time. Even so, the result of the Seinan War that raged in Kyushu was regrettable. The Satsuma army, with warm reverence for the Emperor was fighting the Emperor's army, such resistance must surely have been difficult.'  The tumultuous life of Huang Xing came to an end in Shanghai in 1916 before he could fulfill his life's ambitions. Afterwards, he was given a state funeral and buried at the foot of Mt. Yuelu in his native city of Changsha. All through his life he acknowledged himself as the Saigo Takamori of China, and admired the man's character and ideals.  The people of Kagoshima are moved by Huang Xing's sincere love of his country, and Kagoshima and Changsha have been Friendship Cities for 25 years.  It is our utmost desire to continue to deepen the relationship between our two cities (2007).")


("Shimadzu Keijiro
Keijiro was the third son born to the Sadowara side of the Shimadzu Family. In 1869, Keijiro left to study in the United States, before returning to Japan in 1876. Together with his 500 man Sadowara troop, Keijiro joined the Satsuma army. On September 24th, 1877, at the age of 21, Keijiro and his followers, Mishima Mitsugu, age 38, Nakamura Michiharu, age 26, and Arimura Takehide, age 20, died during the battle of Shiroyama.")


("Soldiers from Nakatsu (Oita Prefecture)
Masuda Eitaro, from Nakatsu troop, died at the age of 28 during the Battle of Komekura, which is near the present-day Kagoshima city Hall, on September 4th, 1877. The Nakatsu troop, lead by Masuda, was formed in Nakatsu, Oita Prefecture at the end of March, 1877, when conditions during the war were deteriorating for the Satsuma Army. The Nakatsu troop contributed more than eighty soldiers to the Satsuma Army. The total number of the war dead from the Nakatsu troop was 22.")


(Looking back to the tombstones of the primary leaders of the Seinan War.)


(Main grounds temple front lobby.  On the left is a souvenir shop, and a small shop selling ramen and shaved ice.)


(Prayer nook in front of the lobby.  Lots of names printed on the copper sheets.)


(Main shrine behind the lobby.)


(Looking over the grave markers from the back of the grounds.)

If you go towards the back half of the cemetery and stand right in the middle, you'll be facing Saigo Takamori's gravestone, flanked by the stones of his main commanders, and the stone for his little brother 1 row back.


(Saigo Takamori. There's no descriptive sign here.)


("Beppu Shinsuke Kagenaga
Beppu died at Shiroyama on September 24th, 1877, at the age or 31. He left his position as a major in the Imperial Army in 1873 to become the leader at Kajiki. During the Satusma Rebellion, Beppu served as an officer of the coalition troops No. 6 and No. 7.  During the attack on Iwasaki-dani, Saigo Takamori was shot. Saigo ordered Beppu to behead him as Saigo committed suicide.")


("Saigo Kohei
Saigo Kohei died during a battle at Higo Takase, present-day Tamana City, at the age of 31 on February 27th, 1877.  The youngest brother of Saigo Takamori, Kohei's parents had died when he was 5 years old, and so he grew up adoring his older brother. During the Satsuma Rebellion, he fought as the platoon leader of first battalion, first platoon.")


(Main Hall)

From the main hall, I made my way past the parking lot and wound through the streets to get to the bottom of the hill.  This placed me near the train tracks, by the spot where Saigo committed suicide at the end of the Seinan War.  This is also towards the back of the International Exchange Center, a few blocks from the Reimeikan.  Another 20 minutes and I was back home.  Total trip time, at least 3.5 hours.  Total trip distance, maybe 10 kilometers.  Total weight of the sweat in my t-shirt when I got ready to take a shower, at least 3 pounds.  Total amount of money spent on food and liquids 0 yen.  Saved by the kindness of strangers.

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