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Daitokuin

In Japanese History, Japanese Shrines & Temples, Tokugawa Shogun Graves, Travel in Japan on May 29, 2013 at 1:23 am

徳院
Daitokuin (Tower of Benevolence & Virtue)
二代将軍徳川秀忠公
2nd Shōgun, Lord Tokugawa Hidetada
Zōjō-ji


Tokugawa Hidetada Daitokuin Taitokuin Zojoji Shiba Mausoleum

The Main Hall of Daitokuin (btw, Taitokuin is another possible reading).
You may want to refer back to this picture later.
BTW, if you go here, this picture shows a hill on the left side. This is incorrect. The whole area was relatively level, it being located at the top of a hill anyways.
The modern “main gate” has been moved to a new location. But the original spot is marked with a signpost.

Tokugawa Hidetada.


To the average Japanese his name has sort of dissipated into the ether. If they remember him at all, he’s the uninteresting guy between Ieyasu and Iemitsu. To fans of the Sengoku Era, he’s kinda boring compared to all the major warlords of the day. To fans of the Edo Era, he’s the son of a great man and the father of another great man, but not a great man himself.


But in my opinion, Hidetada’s reputation as a boring shōgun is totally unfair.


Part of his bad rep is the fact that he was Tokugawa Ieyasu’s second son. In the final throes of the Sengoku Period, Ieyasu had ordered his first son, Nobuyasu, to commit seppuku after a period of house arrest for suspected treason against Oda Nobunaga. Famously, Ieyasu is said to have regretted this order until he died. But such was life in Sengoku Japan. To make things worse, at the Battle of Sekigahara – Ieyasu’s most important battle – Hidetada arrived late… late as in, after the battle. Ieyasu was pissed off like a motherfucker and never forgot this.


Why do I think this is unfair?


1 – It’s not Hidetada’s fault he was born second (primogeniture was supremely important at the time)

2 – It’s not Hidetada’s fault that Nobuyasu was (apparently) a dick and got mixed up with people who were plotting Nobunaga’s murder (whether this was true or not is unknown).

3 – It’s not Hidetada’s fault that Nobunaga insisted on executing Nobuyasu and that Ieyasu ordered his own first born son to do seppuku in order to have an “honorable death.”

4 – Hidetada ruled for a little under 20 years. Not bad at all given the fact that even Hideyoshi hadn’t held onto power for more than 10 years. His own father, Ieyasu, abdicated from the position of shōgun after just 2 years[1]. So Hidetada set a record by just being alive.

5 – Besides being late to Sekigahara, one of the other alleged reasons Ieyasu hated Hidetada was that supposedly Hidetada married 江姫 Gō-hime for love. To Ieyasu this was the ultimate pussy move. Real men used women for making babies and managing the household while men tended to matters of war and state[2]. But I think it’s sweet.

6 Hidetada made strong relations with 朝廷 chōtei the imperial court in Kyōto by marrying the Tokugawa into the imperial bloodline.
7 – He encouraged massive building efforts in Edo, including Kan’ei-ji.
8 – He had a bad ass mustache.

Dude had a great mustache...

Dude had a great mustache…




So yeah, sometimes Tokugawa Hidetada gets cast as a pussy or as a shitty shōgun, but I don’t think that’s really the case. He definitely had the bad luck of being sandwiched between 2 remarkable shōguns in a remarkable time. But he wasn’t a shitty shōgun by any stretch of the imagination. The shitty shōguns don’t come until later. And they will come, believe me.


But in our story, Hidetada is the hero. He donated land to the Buddhist priest Tenkai to develop a second funerary temple complex at Kan’ei-ji in Ueno.  Even though Hidetada developed Kan’ei-ji, he chose to be interred at Zōjō-ji. Despite his direct order that he just have a simple gravestone, his mausoleum was said to have been the most opulent structure at Zōjō-ji. The shōgunate threw buckets of money into the development of a shrine worthy of the son of Tokugawa Ieyasu.


Most of the Daitokuin was destroyed in the firebombing of WWII and sadly never rebuilt. Luckily for us, a few structures survived. Except for one gate, the remaining pieces were sent to 不動寺 Fudō-ji in Tokorozawa, Saitama. Looking at the pictures of the original structures, they do look quite elaborate. If you see the restored 惣門 sōmon main gate in Shiba Park today, you’ll be shocked at how intense it is. Whether it looked like that in the Edo Period or not, I don’t know… but when it was new it probably did shine like that. Also seeing the level of detail and craftsmanship of the remaining pieces in Saitama, it really breaks my heart that all these treasures were lost forever.  Having spent the last 3 days sorting through as many photos as I could, I really do believe it’s a tragedy that these buildings were not only destroyed but never rebuilt.


Structure Name

Description

Condition

Location

殿

honden

Main temple

Destroyed

Shiba Park

(ruins)

watarō

Like an outdoor hallway that separated the oku no in from the honden.

Destroyed

Shiba Park

(ruins)

nakamon

Middle gate (2x)

Destroyed

Shiba Park

(ruins)

sukibei

A latticework fence common at shrines

Destroyed

Shiba Park

(ruins)

水盤舎 2

suibansha

Water basins for ritual purification (2x)

Destroyed

Shiba Park

(ruins)

全部

oku no in

Inner sanctuary complex;
included the 2 story pagoda that housed Hidetada’s remains and series of gates and buildings and a 5 story pagoda.

Everything

Destroyed

Shiba Park

(ruins)

sōmon

Main gate

Restored to bizarrely perfect condition

Shiba Park


勅額

chokugakumon

Imperial scroll gate (bears the okurigō gifted by the emperor upon the deceased; bears the shrine’s namesake)

Maintained in good condition

Fudō-ji
Tokorozawa
(moved in 1960)

丁子

chōjimon

Clove gate

(led into the area that led into the cemetery)

Maintained in good condition

Fudō-ji
Tokorozawa
(moved in 1960)

御成

o-inari mon

Gate dedicated to Inari


(I’ll talk more about this when I get back to Tōkyō place names…)

Maintained in good condition

Fudō-ji
Tokorozawa
(moved in 1960)

銅灯籠
dōtōrō
石灯籠
ishitōrō

Copper & stone lamps for illumination at night 

Many have survived

Most are at Fudō-ji

(Tokorozawa)

崇源院
霊牌
gen’in
reihaisho


Mausoleum of Gō, Hidetada’s wife.
gen’in is her ingō (“-in” name).

Destroyed

Shiba Park

(ruins)

General Map of Daitokuin

In the middle you can see a bunch of dudes in white lined up in front of the 惣門 Sōmon Main Gate. Pass through the main gate, that brings you to the 勅額門 chokugakumon imperial scroll gate. From there, you can see the 2 水盤舎 suibansha wash basins on the left and right. If you continue straight, you’ll arrive at the 本殿 honden main hall. To the right of the main you can see 崇源院 gen’in princess Gō‘s grave. To the left of the main hall,  you can go up the hill to the 奥院 oku no in, the inner sanctuary complex which housed Hidetada’s remains. The mortuary building was an octagonal, 2-story pagoda with a smaller 2-story urn made of wood inside. There was also another worship hall called a 拝殿 haiden in the oku no in. The five story pagoda next to it was technically part of Zōjō-ji, and not Daitokuin. Apparently some fences and monuments remained in situ until the 1960’s when they were either demolished or moved to another location.

Daitokuin Complex at Zojoji

Daitokuin Complex at Zojoji.
You’ll probably want to refer back to this painting throughout the article.


Daitokuin Complex at Zojoji (Legend)

Daitokuin Complex at Zojoji (Legend)

総門 Sōmon
The Main Gate

This type of gate is the street level gate. It’s meant a boundary between the mundane and the spiritual.
Called Sōmon in Japanese, the main gate survived all sorts of conflagrations and earthquakes. How it survived the firebombing that destroyed most of Zōjō-ji is beyond me. It’s been restored and it is splendid. But it looks so new that… I dunno. You be the judge.

Somon Gate (a type of nitemon gate). Notice the river on the right. Also in the background you can see one of the water basins (left) and the choji mon (right). You can also see the stairs to the imperial scroll gate.

Somon Gate (a type of nitemon gate).
Notice the river on the right.
Also in the background you can see one of the water basins (left) and the choji mon (right).
You can also see the stairs to the imperial scroll gate.

Tokugawa Hidetada's Grave - Main Gate

Daitokuin’s Main Gate
(you can see the Imperial Scroll Gate in the background)

The Main Entrance to Daitokuin as it looks today.

The Main Entrance to Daitokuin as it looks today.
This gate was originally located at the top of the hill, behind a small stream. The ruins of the streambank and original location of this gate and the imperial scroll gate are preserved and clearly marked in English and Japanese.

The Main Gate of Daitokuin at Christmas... What would Edo People think of this...?

The Main Gate of Daitokuin at Christmas… Looking down the hill at the “exit hole” of the Main Gate.

The derelict gate

The temple precinct was converted into a driving range and the main gate sat at the entrance until the restoration in 1997.

勅額門 chokugakumon
The Imperial Scroll Gate

The emperor — supposedly — thinks up and writes the posthumous name of the shōgun and then that handwritten calligraphy is made into a plaque for the true entrance to the temple. While the sōmon is the street level entrance, the imperial scroll gate, called 勅額門 chokugakumon announces  the name of the temple. It’s the gate between the mundane world and the spiritual realm of the deified shōgun.

Tokugawa Hidetada's Imperial Scroll Gate Saitama Zojoji

The Imperial Scroll Gate survived and was moved to Fudoji in Tokorozawa, Saitama in 1960.

水盤舎 suibansha
Water Basins for Ritual Purification

A crappy picture from the bakumatsu... luckily for us, despite its shittiness as a photograph, it clearly shows the courtyard between the Imperial Scroll Gate and the Main Hall -- along with the two wash basins.

A crappy picture from the bakumatsu… luckily for us, despite its shittiness as a photograph, it clearly shows the courtyard. On the left is the chokugakumon (imperial scroll gate), in the middle (top and bottom) are 2 matching wash basins (suibansha), on the right, the large building is the honden (main hall). In the middle bottom is a small gate called the choujimon (clove gate). You may want to refer back to this picture throughout the article.

daitokuin_courtyard

I found a better version of the photo.
It’s a little smaller, but it’s clear enough to see what’s going on.

Taken from the right side of the Imperial Scroll Gate, this picture shows the water basin and the fence and the main hall.

Taken from the right side of the Imperial Scroll Gate, this picture shows the water basin and the fence and the main hall.

Again, from the right side of the inside pf the imperial scroll gate, another view of the main hall with the washbasins on either side.

From the left side of the imperial scroll gate. Both wash basins can be seen and princess Go’s funerary temple can also be seen in the background.

本殿 honden
The Main Hall

Detail of the main hall's roof...

Detail of the main hall’s roof…

Nakamon, the middle gate. This gate led to the main hall. You can clearly see the latticework on the suikbei (fence).

Nakamon, the middle gate.
This gate led to the main hall.
You can clearly see the latticework on the suikbei (fence).

奥院 oku no in
The Inner Sanctuary (Mortuary)

From Hidetada’s main hall, if we turn left and walk up through the gate we ‘ll come to a steep staircase which leads to the 奥院 oku no in, the inner sanctuary or mortuary/cemetery. At the top of the stairs is another gate called 御稲荷門 O-narimon. This was a gate for the personal use of the shougun and his attendants. 100 years later, another o-nari gate would be built at Yūshōin.

O-narimon, leading to the Oku no in (inner sanctuary). Note the bridge. On the painting above you can just barely make out a small stream behind the gate.

Oinarimon, the Inari Gate, leading to the Oku no in (inner sanctuary). Note the bridge. On the painting above you can just barely make out a small stream behind the Inari Gate.

Oinarimon, the Inari Gate as it looks today. Now it is preserved at Fudo-ji in Tokorozawa, Saitama.

O-narimon, (private gate for the shogun) as it looks today.
Now it is preserved at Fudo-ji in Tokorozawa, Saitama.

Close up of the Inari Gate. The detail is fantastic and the color gives you a good idea of how the structures in the black and white photos would have looked. Beautiful!

Close up of the Inari Gate. The detail is fantastic and the color gives you a good idea of how the structures in the black and white photos would have looked. Beautiful!

An even closer look at the Inari Gate.

An even closer look at the Inari Gate.

Next we come to another gate called 中門 Nakamon, middle gate, this one leads to an octagonal 2-story pagoda. Inside the pagoda was a 2-story wooden urn which housed the remains of Hidetada.

The fence and nakamon surrounding the 2-story pagoda.

The tamagaki (fence) and nakamon surrounding the 2-story pagoda.

The fence and the 2-story pagoda.

The fence and the 2-story pagoda and the tamagaki (fence).

Nakamon and the 2-story pagoda with wood props.

Nakamon and the 2-story pagoda with wood props.

The Nakamon, middle gate, entrance to the 2-story pagoda.

The Nakamon, middle gate, entrance to the 2-story pagoda.
(I’m not sure, but I think this picture is taken with the photographer’s back to the pagoda, meaning the structure in the background is the haiden, hall of worship.)

Hidetada's funerary urn.

The wooden urn that held Tokugawa Hidetada’s remains stood inside the 2-story pagoda.

The wooden urn that held Tokugawa Hidetada's remains stood inside the 2-story pagoda.

A colorized shot of the wooden funerary urn and a funky table in front of it.
Note the carved dragons on the wall in the background.

After the firebombing, this is all that was left of the octagonal pagoda that housed Hidetada's wooden urn.  I'm not sure what the giant poop in the center is all about.

After the firebombing, this is all that was left of the octagonal pagoda that housed Hidetada’s wooden urn.
I’m not sure what the giant poop in the center is all about.

Pretty sure this is the remains of Hidetada's octagonal grave.

Pretty sure this is the remains of Hidetada’s octagonal grave.

In front of the 2-story pagoda was the 拝殿 haiden, another hall of worship separate from the 本殿 honden, main hall. In the close up of the Nakamon above, you can see the roof behind the 玉垣 tamagaki fence. I don’t have a picture of the outside of the building, but you can see it in the painting above.

Woodwork detail of the 2-story pagoda.

Detail of the outside of the haiden.

Inside the haiden worship hall.

Inside the haiden worship hall.

While it wasn’t part of Daitokuin, on the hill across from the haiden, there was a 5-story pagoda.

The 5-story pagoda of Zojoji

The 5-story pagoda of Zojoji.
Note the 2 benches. Shiba Park used to be really nice, huh?

Now, if we turn around and go back down the stairs and walk past the main hall, we’ll find a gate called 丁子門 chōjimon, the clove gate. If we pass through the clove gate, we will enter another mortuary called Sūgen’in. This is the grave of Hidetada’s wife, Gō.

Choujimon - the clove gate - is still preserved at Fudo-ji in Tokorozawa, Saitama.

Chojimon – the clove gate – is still preserved at Fudo-ji in Tokorozawa, Saitama.

崇源院 Sūgen’in
Source of Adoration
Posthumous name of Princess Gō.

Sugen'in

Sugen’in

Sugen'in Note there are more trees and there is a sign for tourists.

Sugen’in
Note there are more trees and there is a sign for tourists.

Close up of the gate to Sugen'in. (love the lazy just sitting on the stairs...)

Close up of the gate to Sugen’in.
(love the lazy just sitting on the stairs…)

Hidetada and Go-hime's funerary urns were made of wood, so they were lost in the firebombing. They were enshrined together. Today their remains rest in the Tokugawa Cemetery at Zojo-ji.

Hidetada and Go-hime’s funerary urns were made of wood, so they were lost in the firebombing.
They were enshrined together.
Today their remains rest in the Tokugawa Cemetery at Zojo-ji.

And finally, the copper lamps

Many stone lamps and copper lamps were on the premises. Some of the lamps that survived the firebombing were re-used at Zōjō-ji, but most were relocated to Fudō-ji in 1960.

The suriviing copper lamps at Fudo-ji.

The surviving copper lamps at Fudo-ji.

The ruins of Daitokuin have been turned into a park, you can see the area well from Tokyo Tower.

The ruins of Daitokuin have been turned into a park, you can see the area well from Tokyo Tower.

If you walk through the Somon (main gate) and go up the stairs, at the top of the hill there is an exhibit of the excavated remains of one of the waterways that coursed through the Daitokuin complex.

If you walk through the Somon (main gate) and go up the stairs, at the top of the hill there is an exhibit of the excavated remains of one of the waterways that coursed through the Daitokuin complex.

 

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[1] It must be said, however, that Ieyasu abdicated in order to oversee the succession of his shōgunate from behind the scenes. So in as much as Hidetada was nominally shōgun, it could be said that Ieyasu was still in charge. Nevertheless, as shōgun, Hidetada wasn’t a puppet. Edicts and policies enacted during his reign are distinct from Ieyasu’s.


[2] s name was written many different ways. She was also called 江与 Eyo and , among other things. It’s really complicated, so I’m just calling her Gō.

  1. I’ve never seen anything in English on this topic. Thank you.

    • Thank you for reading and commenting.

      Actually, I’ve never seen anything about it in English either which is the very reason that I started writing about it. Guess I found my niche, hahaha.

  2. I can tell you really put a lot of effort into this. Other bloggers about Japan should take page from your book. Most people regurgitate the same points.

    Are you a researcher?

    • Thanks for reading and thanks for the kind words.

      Just glad to know I’m not blogging into a vacuum. And, no, I am not a researcher by profession or associated with academia in anyway. Just a dude who loves Japan and Japanese history.

    • Well done, sir! My plan for Sunday is decided. I’m going to walk the premises!

  3. I know there were a lot of pictures.
    But if you still want to see one more, here ya go.

    1) A panoramic view of the copper lamps that were moved to fudo-ji:
    http://ggt.c.blog.so-net.ne.jp/_images/blog/_a82/ggt/fudouji11.JPG?c=a1

    • I visited and with these photos and the painting, I think I was able to walk the premises. There are lots of new buildings there now, though.

      You updated the site since then, so I didn’t go to the other end where the other remains are.

      The main gate is glorious!

      • Looking at the old pictures is so nice. But looking at the ariel shots and How the place looks now is so dumpy. Why is it Tokyo never makes effort to Protect the history?

      • The photo from Tōkyō Tower may look a little “dumpy,” but on the ground, it’s actually a really nice park. The actual area of Daitokuin is larger than in the photo (I know now).

  4. Another update.

    I just came across another photo of the 惣門 sōmon (main gate/nitenmon) at Japanese Castle Explorer. I’ll upload into the main article if the site admin can give me a version of the photo without a watermark. It’s the first time I’ve seen this photo so I want it baaaaad!!! lol

    I know I usually refer people to JCastle, but check out this site, too.

    http://community.japanese-castle-explorer.com/the-somon-gate/

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