(Divine Prince of Illumination)
6th Shōgun, Lord Tokugawa Ienobu
LOCATION: Zōjō-ji (Shiba Park)
The shōgunate has established two bodaiji (funerary temples) at Zōjō-ji and Kan’ei-ji. In order of succession, they’ve enshrined the rulers; at Nikkō, at Zōjō-ji, at Nikkō, and then at Kan’ei-ji, and again at Kan’ei-ji. In my first article on Tokugawa Funerary Temples, I mentioned that interment in Edo alternated between Kan’ei-ji and Zōjō-ji. But so far, we’ve got only one enshrinement at Zōjō-ji and two consecutive enshrinements at Kan’ei-ji. So, now it’s time to balance the scales and so today we’re traveling back south down to Zōjō-ji on the occasion of the interment of the 6th shōgun, Tokugawa Ienobu.
It should be noted that as my research into these places goes on, I’ve been noticing some trends. The main thing is that the mortuary temples of Zōjō-ji are much better documented that those of Kan’ei-ji. I have some semi-educated guesses as to why this is. But if anyone knows something I don’t, I’d love to hear it.
In my article on Daitoku-in, I tried to provide as many photos of the non-extant structures as possible. If you compare those pictures with the surviving structures, you can get a sense of the original. If you look at the existing structures at Nikkō and imagine them dialed down a little bit, you really can start to imagine how the original looked and felt. After reading this article, again I encourage you to look at the pictures at Kan’ei-ji and notice the parallels and differences. It should help to imagine the original.
Because of group enshrinements[i], describing Ienobu’s Bunshōin in charts as I have done with previous shrines is a little difficult. Apparently it was a massive funerary complex, rivaling Hidetada’s Daitoku-in, only a little smaller. And like Daitoku-in, it was a major sightseeing spot in Tōkyō until its destruction in the Great Tōkyō Air Raid on March 10th 1945[ii].
Structures of Bunshō-in
|the main hall||destroyed||—|
ai no ma
|in gongen-zukuri architecture, the structure that connects the honden and haiden.||destroyed||—|
|the inner or private worship hall||destroyed||—|
|a latticework fence that forms the border to a temple||destroyed||—|
|The “middle gate” which usually opens from a court yard into the worship hall||destroyed||—|
|portico on the left and right side of a shrine||destroyed||—|
|latticework fence that encloses a temple or shrine||destroyed||—|
|name means inner latticework fence||destroyed||—|
|name means outer latticework fence||destroyed||—|
|entrance to the oku no in||destroyed||—|
|belfry, bell tower||destroyed||—|
|roof over a well, or spring||destroyed||—|
|imperial scroll gate; posthumous name of the deceased hand written by the emperor which marked the official entrance to the funerary temple||destroyed||—|
|main gate, protected by two gods||destroyed||—|
oku no in nami itabei
|“wave fence” made of planks around the|
oku no in haiden
|worship hall within the inner sanctuary||destroyed||—|
oku no in hōtō
|A copper 2-story pagoda styled funerary urn that houses the remains of the deceased||fair condition||In the Tokugawa Graveyard at Zōjō-ji|
oku no in karamon
|so-called Chinese style gate that provided entry and exit to the tomb of the deceased||destroyed||—|
oku no in nakamon
|presumably the gate to another small fence around the hōtō||extant and functional, but damaged||Now the entrance to the Tokugawa Graveyard at Zōjō-ji|
|water basins for ritual purification||destroyed||—|
|traditional stone lanterns||37 are scattered about Zōjō-ji [iii]||Some moved to various temples in Tōkyō’s Minato Ward|
there were 138 copper lanterns at Bunshō-in
|95 still exist||Moved to Fudō-ji in Tokorozawa|
The list above roughly itemizes the main structures at Bunshō-in as they relate to the 6th shōgun, Tokugawa Ienobu. As mentioned before, other shōguns were enshrined here. The ridiculous amount of copper lanterns reflects total from all of the enshrinements. Only 95 exist today.
Maps of Zōjō-ji & Tokugawa Funerary Temples
As you can see in the labeled map above, the layout of the 6th shōgun’s tomb and the 7th shōgun’s tomb is nearly identical up to the nakamon (middle gate). Because of this and because the similar design, I got a bit confused at what pictures I was looking at. Some other people have too, so some of the pictures I’ve come across online were mislabeled. I’m fairly certain, I have most of the pictures straight, but be aware, some of these might be from the 7th shōgun’s funerary temple — I’ll mention if I’m not sure.
Imperial Scroll Gate
Oku no In – The Inner Sanctum
The water basin was required for ritual purification before entering the oku no in (the inner sanctum). To get to this area, you had to pass through the nakamon (middle gate) which brought you to fenced in 榔 rō area surrounding the haiden. The haiden was the building for worship.
Tamaya – The Graveyard
Sadly, all that exists of Bunshō-in today are those lanterns scattered across Tōkyō and Saitama (seemingly at random) and the gate to the modern shōgun cemetery and Ienobu’s funerary urn. The Tokugawa Shōgun Cemetery was created after WWII to put all the 2-story pagoda style urns together in one place. As we continue this series, you’ll see that originally the graves were very much separate.
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[i] I’ve alluded to these group enshrinements before, but keep in mind that up to now, the shōgunate has been throwing mad cash at funerary temples. This will stop eventually.
[ii] By the way, what kind of assholes firebomb a major metropolitan city’s greatest works of art and private residences in the middle of March when it’s still cold as shit outside at night??? The longer I do this series, the more pissed off I get about the destruction of these treasures. It’s bad enough that the Meiji government tore down so many castles, but they left a lot of beautiful temples and shrines alone despite their connection to the Tokugawa – only to have the Americans indiscriminately bomb the fuck out of them, never to be rebuilt.
[iii] This website catalogs where all of Zōjō-ji’s stone lanterns are located now (Japanese only).
One thought on “Bunsho-in・the Grave of Tokugawa Ienobu”
I was just here on the weekend by chance!
Is there any other information on this in English?