Tokugawa Iemitsu

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Tokugawa Iemitsu 徳川家光 Third Shogun
sometimes spelled Iyemitsu, Iyémitsŭ,

(August 12, 1604 – June 8, 1651)
and in office 1623 – 1651

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the third shogun of the Tokugawa dynasty. He was the eldest son of Tokugawa Hidetada, and the grandson of Tokugawa Ieyasu. Iemitsu ruled from 1623 to 1651.
... his childhood name was Takechiyo (竹千代).
his younger brother was Tokugawa Tadanaga - However, Ieyasu made it clear that Iemitsu would be next in line as shogun after Hidetada.
In 1623, when Iemitsu was nineteen, Hidetada abdicated the post of shogun in his favor. Hidetada continued to rule as Ōgosho (retired Shogun), but Iemitsu nevertheless assumed a role as formal head of the bakufu government.
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Utsunomiya Tsuritenjo Jiken 宇都宮 釣天井事件 The Ceiling at Utsunomiya

source : nifty.com/oracleasuka
Now even the subject of a senbei rice cracker.

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Near Utsunomiya, August 30, 1886
I recall a little story of Utsunomiya, connected with my associations of Nikko, which I shall try to tell you; though, at the very start, I find a difficulty in my having heard it told in several different and contradictory ways—and I can only travel one at a time. As I shall tell it, it represents a legend believed at least in the theater, which, as we know, everywhere makes a kind of history.

The story is about the shogun Iyémitsŭ, whose temple, you know, is at Nikko, and who was near missing the honor of being divinized there later, owing to a plot arranged by his enemies, the scene of which was this little town of Utsunomiya. At that time he was but a boy, the heir-apparent, and was on his way to Nikko, as was his official duty, to worship at the tomb of his grandfather Iyéyasŭ, lately deceased. In this story Iyémitsŭ is not in the legitimate line of descent, but is made the heir by the decision of the great Iyéyasŭ.

His father, Hidetada, was shogun, as you know, having succeeded Iyéyasŭ, during the latter's lifetime,—the old man remaining in reality the master, though absolved from external responsibilities. Now, Hidetada's wife was of the family of Nobunaga, on her mother's side—and bore him a son, who was named during his childhood Kuni Matsu. Another son, whose boy name was Take Chiyo, was the son of Kasuga No Tsubone, a remarkable woman. Each son had tutors, people of importance, and around each boy gathered a number of ambitious interests, all the fiercer that they were dissembled and depended for success upon the choice of either heir as shogun, to succeed father and grandfather. The claim of the other son was favored by the father and more generally accepted; but the son of Kasuga was superior in looks, manners, and intelligence, and his mother hoped to influence in his favor old Iyéyasŭ, the grandfather.

Iyéyasŭ was then living in retirement at Sunpu, that is now called Shidzuoka, which is on the road called the Tokaido.

Kasuga took advantage of a pilgrimage to the shrines of Ise to stop on her road, and naturally offer homage to the head of the family, the grandfather of her son. Besides the power of her own personality, she was able to place before Iyéyasŭ very strong arguments for choosing as the heir of the line a youth as promising as her Take Chiyo.

Iyéyasŭ advised her to continue her pilgrimage, and not to go out of her woman's business, which could not be that of interfering with questions of state; and she obeyed. But Iyéyasŭ revolved the entire question in his mind, and decided that there was danger in a delay that allowed both parties to grow stronger in antagonism. So that he came at once to Yedo, which is now Tokio, and visited Hidetada, asking to see both the boys together. They came in along with their father and his wife, and took their accustomed places. Now these were on the higher floor, raised by a few inches from the floor on which kneels the visitor of lower degree, in the presence of his superior: a line of black lacquer edges the division. Thereupon Iyéyasŭ taking the boy Take Chiyo by the hand, made him sit by him, and alongside of his father, and ordered the other son, Kuni Matsu, to sit below the line, and said:
"The State will come to harm if the boys are allowed to grow up in the idea of equal rank.
Therefore, Take Chiyo shall be shogun, and Kuni Matsu a daimio
This decision gave to the line of the Tokugawa a brilliant and powerful continuity, for Take Chiyo, under his manhood name of Iyémitsŭ, was as an Augustus to the Cæsar Iyéyasŭ. And, indeed, Iyéyasŭ had certainly made sufficient inquiries to warrant his decision. If he consulted the abbot Tenkai, of Nikko, who was a preceptor of the boy, he must have heard favorably of him. For, according to the judgment of Tenkai, as I find it quoted elsewhere, "Iyémitsŭ was very shrewd and of great foresight," and in his presence the great abbot felt, he said, "as if thorns were pricking his back."

Not but that he was also fond of luxury and splendor; and one glimpse of him as a youth shows a quarrel with a tutor who found him dressing himself, or being dressed, for "No" performances, or "private theatricals," and who proceeded thereupon to throw away the double mirrors,—in which the youth followed his hair-dresser's arrangements,—with the usual, classical rebuke, condemning such arrangements as unworthy of a ruler of Japan.

There are many stories of Iyémitsŭ more or less to his advantage—and a little anecdote shows a young man of quick temper, as well as one who insisted upon proper attendance.

Iyémitsŭ had been hawking in a strong wind, and with no success. Tired and hungry, he went with some lord-in-waiting to a neighboring temple, where lunch was prepared for them by his cook,—a man of rank. Iyémitsŭ, while taking his soup in a hurry, crushed a little stone between his teeth; whereupon he immediately insisted upon the cook's committing suicide. The cook being a gentleman, a man of affairs, not a mere artist like poor Vatel, hesitated, and then said:
"No soup made by me ever had stones or pebbles in it; otherwise I should gladly kill myself: you gentlemen have begun dinner at once without washing hands or changing dress, and some pebble has dropped into the soup from your hair or clothes. If after having washed your hands and changed your dress, you find any stones in the soup, I shall kill myself."
Whereupon Iyémitsŭ did as was suggested by the cook, repented of his own severity, and increased the cook's pay. But the tutor and guardians of Iyémitsŭ watched over him carefully, and the story I had begun to tell shows that they had no sinecure.

The tutors and guardians of the brother, whom Iyéyasŭ had decided to put aside in favor of Iyémitsŭ, were naturally deeply aggrieved and sought for chances to regain their ward's future power and their own.

As my story began, Iyémitsŭ, representing the hereditary shogunate, was called upon to travel to Nikko and worship officially at his grandfather's tomb. On his way it was natural that he should rest as we did, at Utsunomiya, and in the castle of his vassal, Honda, who was one of the tutors of his brother. This was the son  of the great Honda Masanobu, of whom I spoke above as a champion of Iyéyasŭ.

Here was an opportunity; and a scheme of getting rid of the young shogun was devised by his enemies that seemed to them sufficiently obscure to shield them in case of success or failure, at least for a time. This was, to have a movable ceiling made to the bath-room weighted in such a way as to fall upon any one in the bath and crush him. Whether it was to be lifted again, and leave him drowned in his bath, or to remain as an accident from faulty construction, I do not know.

To build this machine, ten carpenters were set to work within the castle and kept jealously secluded,—even when the work was done, for the young shogun delayed his coming. The confinement fretted the men, among whom was a young lover, anxious to get back to his sweetheart, and not to be satisfied with the good food and drink provided to appease him. He told of his longings to the gatekeeper, whose duty it was to keep him imprisoned, bribed him with his own handsome pay and promise of a punctual return, and at last managed to get out and be happy for a few moments. The girl of his love was inquisitive, but reassured by explanation that the work was done, and that he should soon be out again; yet not before the shogun should have come and gone on his way to Nikko. And so he returned to the gatekeeper at the time appointed. Meanwhile, during that very night, the officers of the castle had gone their rounds and found one man absent. In the morning the roll-call was full. This was reported to the lord of the castle, who decided that if he could not know who it was that had been absent it was wise to silence them all. Therefore, each was called to be paid and dismissed, and, as he stepped out, was beheaded. The gatekeeper, getting wind of what was happening and  fearing punishment, ran away, and being asked by the girl about her lover, told her what he knew and that he believed all the carpenters to have been killed.

Since her lover was dead, she determined to die also, having been the cause of his death and of the death of his companions. She wrote out all this, together with what her lover had told her of his belief and suspicions, and left the letter for her father and mother, who received it along with the tidings of her suicide. The father, in an agony of distress and fear, for there was danger to the whole family from every side, made up his mind to stop the shogun at all hazards, and in the depth of the night made his way to Ishibashi, where one of the princes had preceded Iyémitsŭ, who was to pass the night still further back on the road.

Here there was difficulty about getting a private interview with so great a man as this prince, whose name you will remember as being the title of the former owner of our friend's house in Nikko: Ii, Kammon no Kami.

The letter was shown to Ii, who despatched two messengers, gentlemen of his own, one back to Yedo, to see to the safety of the castle there; the other one to Iyémitsŭ, but by a circuitous route, so that he might appear to have come the other way. The letter was to the effect that the young shogun's father was very ill and desired his son's immediate return. By the time that Iyémitsŭ could get into his litter, Ii had arrived and shown him the girl's letter. Then the occupants of the litters were changed, Matsudaira taking Iyémitsŭ's norimono and Iyémitsŭ Matsudaira's. This, of course, was to give another chance of escape in case of sudden attack by a larger force, for they were now in enemy's country and did not know what traps might be laid for them. The bearers of the palanquin pressed through the night, so that, leaving at midnight, they arrived at Yedo the following  evening; but the strain had been so great that they could go no further.

There was still the fear of attack, and among the retinue one very strong man, Matsudaira Ishikawa, carried the litter of the prince himself. But the gates were closed, and the guards refused to recognize the unknown litter as that of the shogun; nor would they, fearing treachery, open when told that Iyémitsŭ had returned. Delays ensued, but at last admission was obtained for Iyémitsŭ through a wicket gate—and he was safe. Later, after cautious delays, the guilty were punished, and I hope the family of the carpenter's love escaped. When I first read the story, years ago, the version was different, and there was some arrangement of it, more romantic—with some circumstances through which the young carpenter and his sweetheart escaped, and alone the father, innocent of harm, committed suicide.

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That lady in the story just given you, where she is the mother of Iyémitsŭ and the concubine of his father, the shogun, was a very different person.

Little Iyémitsŭ was the legitimate son; moreover, the one who by date of birth was the probable heir, notwithstanding the preference shown by his father and his mother, Sogenin, for his younger brother. So that the succession was decided abruptly by the stern head of the family, Iyéyasŭ.

Great attention was paid by the grandfather, the great Iyéyasŭ, to the education of this grandson. As a Japanese friend remarked, he believed that the important place in the generation was that of the third man. So that three distinguished noblemen were appointed his governors: Sakai, to teach benevolence; Doi, to teach wisdom; Awoyama, to teach valor.
Besides these great professors for the future, the little boy needed an immediate training by a governess good in every way. Kasuga, a married woman, the daughter of a well-known warrior of imperial descent who had lost his life in some conspiracy of the previous generation, was chosen by [Pg 213] the government for the position. This was, perhaps, as great an honor as could be offered to any lady. Besides, there was an opportunity to clear the memory of her father. And she begged her husband to divorce her that she might be free to give all her life to this task. So devoted was she that the boy being at one time at the point of death, she offered herself to the gods for his recovery, vowing never to take any remedy. In her last illness she refused all medicine, and even when Iyémitsŭ—now ruler—begged her to take a commended draught from his hand, she merely, out of politeness, allowed it to moisten her lips, saying that her work was done, that she was ready to die, and that her life had long ago been offered for the master. Nor would she allow the master to indulge her with regard to her own son. He was in exile, deservedly, and the shogun asked her permission to pardon him, in the belief of possible amendment. She refused, bidding Iyémitsŭ to remember his lesson: that the law of the country was above all things, and that she had never expected such words from him. Moreover, that had he revoked the law for her, she could not die in peace.
There is a Spartan politeness in all this, for which I think the stories worth saving to you.
- source : www.gutenberg.org


At Imamiya shrine 今宮神社 , you can get unique charms or talismans. One of them is the
tamanokoshi (marry into the purple) charm 玉の輿お守り.
It is a vivid navy blue and printed with the designs of Kyoto vegetables.

This charm is derived from an old story:

Tokugawa Iemitsu (1604-51), the 3rd Edo shogun, fell in love with a beautiful girl named Otama, who was born in Kyoto’s Nishijin weaving district as the daughter of a greengrocer. Iemitsu took Otama as a concubine and she bore him a son, who later became the 5th Edo shogun, Tokugawa Ietsuna.
In 1651, when Iemitsu died, Otama became a Buddhist nun under the name Keishoin. She had kept Nishijin in mind even after achieving a high status, and she seems to have exerted herself to build a temple, revive the Yasurai Matsuri (which had been suspended), and support Nishijin after she heard of the ruin of Imamiya Shrine.
The guardian gods of Nishijin also protect Imamiya Shrine, so people wished for the prosperity of the Nishijin area. Local residents say that the word “tamanokoshi” can be traced back to Otama’s story, and anyone who wants to become a “Cinderella”, or simply be happy, can visit this shrine to buy this charm.
source : www.kyopro.kufs.ac.jp


. Sanpooji 三寶寺 / 三宝寺 Sanpo-Ji - Nerima .

The third Shogun, 将軍家光 Tokugawa Iemitsu, often passed here during his falcon hunting and a special gate was constructed later for him to go through, 御成門 Onari-Mon, now the oldest existing building in the temple complex.


reimuzoo 霊夢像 Reimuzo, Oracle Dream Image
When Iemitsu was ill later in his life, he had dreams of Ieyasu.
He orderd the painter Kano Tan'yū to create an image after his dream vision.
37 of these dreams are well documented. “dream” portraits.

. . . CLICK here for more Photos !

Visions of the Dead: Kano Tan'yū's Paintings of Tokugawa Iemitsu's Dreams
Karen M. Gerhart / Monumenta Nipponica 2004
- source : www.jstor.org -


- Reference - Japanese -
- Reference - English -

. Kasuga no Tsubone 春日局 Lady Kasuga . - (1597 - 1643)


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1 comment:

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

光松山 Koshozan 威盛院 Ijo-In 放生寺 Hojo-Ji
新宿区西早稲田2-1-14 / 2 Chome-1-14 Nishiwaseda, Shinjuku ward
This temple was founded in 1641 by Ryooshoo shoonin 良昌上人 Saint Ryosho Shonin

Saint Ryosho had a 霊夢 sacred dream vision of the birth of the third Shogun, 徳川家光 Tokugawa Iemitsu, and 徳川秀忠 Tokugawa Hidetada, the Father-to-be, bestowed the land to him to pray for his son-to-be-born. The land was the estate of 松平新五左衛門 Matsudaira Shingozaemon from Kyoto.