Hiroshima 70 Years Today

Today August 6th, 2015 marks the 70th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima. Last night on the eve of the Atomic Remembrance Day, I came by the Atomic Bomb to remember, to learn, to think and to pay my respects. The local suffering of one people can have global consequences. Every time I stand beneath the Atomic Memorial Dome, I feel weighed down by a heaviness, a sense of despair. The Atomic …

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Four Years Ago

Today, March 11th 2015, marks the fourth year anniversary of the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake. The Japan News reports that as of yesterday, Tuesday 10th March 2015, 2,584 people remaining missing as a direct result of the earthquake and the ensuing tsunami. The National Police Agency of Japan document that 15, 891 people throughout twelve prefectures in Japan perished due to this disaster. Although huge efforts have been undertaken throughout …

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Where do Hopes & Prayers Go?

Where do prayers go?  Những lời nguyện cầu đi về đâu? Where do our hopes journey to?  Những ước mong của chúng ta hành trình về chốn nào? What of the dreams we carry inside our hearts for this life on earth? Visitors to Shinto shrines in Japan often write their wishes, dreams, aspirations and prayers onto wooden plaques, known as ema 絵馬, and hang them at the shrine, in the hope that these …

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Secrets of the Honmaru Goten Palace 熊本城-本丸御殿

  熊本城 本丸御殿 Honmaru Goten Palace within the grounds of Kumamoto Castle is the precinct where government business was conducted and built by Kato Kiyomasa, feudal lord and ancestor of Kumamoto, in 1610. While the original palace was destroyed during the Seinan Rebellion of 1877, restoration of part of Honmaru Goten was completed in 2008 after almost fifty years of work on it by numerous architects, craftsmen, carpenters, painters, designers, metal workers …

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清正公まつりSeishoko Festival 2014

Today, on Sunday 27th July, 2014, the Seishoko Festival 清正公まつり (Seishoko Matsuri) is taking place in Kumamoto City in the prefecture of Kumamoto on the island of Kyushu, Japan. Organised by Kato Shrine 加藤神社 in Kumamoto, the Seishoko Matsuri is held to honour and remember the founder of Kumamoto, Lord Kato Kiyomasa 加藤 清正. Seishoko 清正公 is an honorific designation as well as a term of endearment for Kato Kiyomasa 加藤 清正. The …

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The Journey Continues…

The journey to Kato Kiyomasa’s resting place continues as we ascend the steps that lead directly to his tomb, known as jochibyo. To reach Kato Kiyomasa’s grave requires the stepping of 176 stone staircases then 300 more since the tomb lies and his statue stands at the equivalent height of Kumamoto Castle. Numerous stone lanterns line the steps, built by the supporters, believers and devotees of Kato Kiyomasa who was a devoted practitioner of …

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Journey of 2000 Steps

加藤 清正 Kato Kiyomasa (July 25, 1561 – August 2, 1611), the 大名 daimyo of 熊本 Kumamoto is enshrined at Jochibyo, part of 本妙寺 Honmyo-ji Temple in 熊本 Kumamoto. Honmyo-ji Temple is recognised as being the pre-eminent temple of Nichiren Buddhism throughout the entire island of Kyushu, west of Japan. 加藤 清正 Kato Kiyomasa was a devoted practitioner of Nichiren Buddhism and renowned for his skills in envisioning and building impenetrable fortresses. He was …

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熊本城 in Black & White

 熊本城 Kumamoto Castle, Kumamoto city, Kumamoto prefecture, Kyushu, Japan. Lord 加藤 清正 Kato Kiyomasa (1561-1611) architect and deviser of Kumamoto Castle.  he arrived in Kumamoto in 1588 and remained 大名 daimyo of Higo-Kumamoto domain during the Azuchi-Momoyama period 安土桃山時代 (1573-1603) and Edo period 江戸時代 (1603-1868) until his passing.