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Know the history of Kamakura

query_builder 2021/06/05
editorial
Surrounded by mountains and the sea, Kamakura is an ancient city with many historical buildings such as Tsurugaoka Hachimangu and the Great Buddha. It is one of the tourist attractions that Japan is proud of.

From sightseeing spots near Kamakura Station such as Tsuruoka Hachimangu and Komachi Street to the coastline loved by surfers and sea lovers such as Yuigahama and Nanarigahama, in front of Kamakura High School famous for slam dunk railroad crossings, and the Ofuna area familiar with Kannon. It is in Kamakura City, and there are so many famous places that you can't go around in a day.

To learn more about the history of Kamakura, such as how Kamakura became one of Japan's leading tourist destinations, what the Kamakura Shogunate was like, and why the Great Buddha of Kamakura was built. I will leave it here after studying.


History of Kamakura and its origins as a tourist destination

Kamakura's history as a tourist destination
It is easy to think that the history of Kamakura started around the time of the Kamakura Shogunate, but it is said that human beings lived in the Paleolithic era more than 10,000 years ago.
Paleolithic stone tools have been found near Jorakuji Temple in Ofuna, Kamakura City, and ruins from the Jomon and Yayoi periods have also been confirmed. I already know.

Kamakura reached its peak during the Hojo administration during the Kamakura period. It is said that nearly 30,000 people lived at that time.
After that, the shogunate was destroyed, and when the capital moved to Kyoto during the Muromachi period, it lost its vitality year by year, and around the 16th century, it became a village centered on agriculture and fishing.
However, as Tokugawa Mitsukuni, who is familiar with Mito Komon in the 17th century, was in the limelight with Shinpen Kamakurashi, who left a record when he visited Kamakura, the number of tourists from Edo increased and he regained his vitality. did.
In the Edo period, the recognition as a "sightseeing spot, Kamakura" spread to the world and continues to the present day.


The origin of the Kamakura Shogunate when Kamakura became the center of Japan

The origin of the Kamakura Shogunate
The Kamakura Shogunate refers to Japan's first samurai government established by Minamoto no Yoritomo in 1192.
Let's make 1192 (Iikuni) You are familiar with the phrase of the Kamakura Shogunate. In recent research, the theory that it was established in 1185 has become influential, and it seems that it is remembered by the puns of the Kamakura Shogunate, let's make 1185 (Iihako).

First of all, I will explain what the Bakufu is. The shogunate is the place where Shogun General conducts politics. Shogun is a position recognized by the imperial court and is a leader who conducts military affairs on behalf of the emperor.
The place where the Shogun General at that time was conducting politics, such as the Kamakura period and the Edo period, was called the Shogunate, and in the Kamakura period Minamoto no Yoritomo became the Shogun general (leader) and held political power in the land of Kamakura. It is called the Kamakura Shogunate.
I think it is famous for Sakanoue no Tamura Maro, the first shogun, but he started his role as a military leader to cultivate and suppress Ezo, which was hostile to the Emperor, and was the first political leader in the generation of Minamoto no Yoritomo. It became a position that bears the real power.


Kamakura Shogunate is Japan's first samurai government

Until the Kamakura period, the rule was mainly by the Emperor, but with the establishment of the Kamakura Shogunate, a samurai government was born in which samurai played a central role in politics. The politics of the samurai, that is, the samurai government, continued for about 700 years until the Taisei Hokan was repatriated at the end of the Edo period, and the Kamakura Shogunate created by Minamoto no Yoritomo can be said to be the leading figure.
Minamoto no Yoritomo, as the leader of the samurai, will start politics based in Kamakura.


Why did Minamoto no Yoritomo do politics in Kamakura?

There are several reasons for this.
Yoritomo's father lost the war and was imprisoned in Izu from an early age. Yoritomo witnessed the strength of the samurai in the Kanto region and deepened his relationship, so it is a political place where the samurai play an active role. It is thought that it was ideal to set up a base away from Kyoto, where the imperial court is located.
In addition, Tsurugaoka Hachimangu in Kamakura began when Minamoto no Yoriyoshi, the ancestor of Yoritomo, was enshrined near Yuigahama as the god of Genji, and it is said that Yoritomo later moved to his present location. You can see that Kamakura is also a special place for Genji.

Another reason is that the terrain is difficult to attack even if other forces invade.
Kamakura is surrounded by mountains in the north, east, and west, and Sagami Bay extends to the south, making it difficult for enemies to attack.
In fact, it is said that Kamakura had a road called "Kiritsu" (a kind of loophole that many people couldn't go through) to prevent a large number of people from attacking even if there was an enemy invasion. By connecting this cut-through to the highway leading to Kamakura, we also secured routes such as trade.
In addition, Kamakura was prosperous as an exchange point from the viewpoint of commerce and military because it is close to the Tokaido.
It is said that Kamakura was chosen because the still-existing Yuikawa was closely related to the residents of Kamakura at that time and was convenient for domestic water and transportation.


Prosperity and decline of the Kamakura Shogunate


Minamoto no Yoritomo will make Kamakura the center of politics and consolidate each institution in Kamakura. The elites who serve the shogun Yoritomo are called gokenins, and Yoritomo has given the gokenins the grace of guaranteeing control of the land and giving land according to the achievements of the war. If there was a war, the Gokenin fought for their lives, and by performing a service that also guarded the imperial court and the shogunate, a master-slave relationship was established. This is called the feudal system. The politics of the samurai will start around the social system called the feudal system. It can be said that this is the beginning of a simple and robust era, which is different from the glamorous era centered on the imperial family.

During the Kamakura period, roads such as the Tokaido, which connects Kyoto and Kamakura, developed. Various things such as castings, sericulture, lacquer ware, and Japanese paper are produced in each village, and marine products, field crops, and processed foods are actively produced. The road has developed significantly.

During the Kamakura period, when the samurai played a central role, the invasion of the Mongol Empire and the so-called Mongol invasion occurred twice, and the invasion of the giant empire made it difficult, but thanks to the legend that the Kamikaze blew. Partly because of this, the samurai defended Japan's territory by rejecting the Mongol invasion.
However, the award from this Mongol invasion was insufficient, and there was no land to take away due to the external aggression, and the shogunate could not give a sufficient award, and it seems that dissatisfaction was raised.
Furthermore, due to Masahiro's strangeness, Mr. Hojo was betrayed by Mr. Takauji Ashikaga, a leading gokenin who was on his side, and the shogunate lost its power and the Kamakura shogunate was destroyed. In this way, in 1333 (Genko 3), the curtain was closed on the history of about 150 years, and we will enter a new era.


Kamakura Buddhist epidemic


Various Buddhisms were popular during the Kamakura period.
Against the backdrop of many wars and famines, people sought a source of soul.
Originally, Buddhist culture had entered Japan, but at that time Buddhism was cohesive with politics and did not give a good impression to the common people, and because it required academic training, it became common people. Was not familiar to me.
However, during the Kamakura period, the familiar teaching of Kamakura New Buddhism became widespread. Various denominations will be born, and a new culture will be born.

Honen: Jodo-shu
Eisai: Rinzai sect
Shinran: Jodo Shinshu
Dogen: Soto Sect
Nichiren: Nichiren sect
Ippen: Ji-shu

I think that many people chanted the above like Nembutsu and learned it for the test, and I think that many Japanese still believe in the above denominations or denominations derived from them.

Many of the characteristics of Kamakura Buddhism are simple, with an emphasis on chanting and meditation, and I did not find much value in Buddhist art such as idolatry.
With the birth of the new Kamakura Buddhism, many temples such as Kotoku-in, where the Great Buddha of Kamakura is located, have been built in the Buddhist temple of the Jodo sect, which was founded by Honen, and have become the foundation of a quaint town.

The above is a brief summary of Kamakura. While visiting historic sites in Kamakura, I think you can make more interesting and new discoveries by knowing the historical background.


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