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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Destiny in the Mist

 What is destiny? It has been said that destiny is a matter of choice and not an occurrence of chance. Do you agree? If choice determines our destiny, then whose choice is it to shape our fate? Who determines the destiny of one individual, the fate of a people, the fortune of a place, the luck of a nation? Destiny is sometimes found in the mist, as it was in …

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Musashi’s Final Battle

The last battle that Miyamoto Musashi ever fought was on April 13th, 1612, when he was twenty-nine years of age. This final duel was between Musashi and an equally renowned swordsman of the Edo era, Sasaki Kojiro 佐々木 小次郎, on Funashima Island, Funa-jima 船島. Known as Ganryu in battle, Sasaki Kojiro is recognised as the founder of the Ganryu 巌流 kenjutsu 剣術 school of traditional samurai Japanese swordsmanship. April 13th, 1612, was also …

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烏城 The “Crow Castle” & the Age of Turbulence

Okayama Castle 岡山城 (Okayama-jo) stands majestically by the Asahi River across the magnificent Koraku-en 後楽園 garden in central Okayama City, Japan. Bridge over the Asahi River that links Okayama-jo and Korakuen Garden. Views of Okayama-jo from Korakuen Garden. The castle is also known as 烏城 (U-jo), the Crow Castle.  The dark exterior of the castle conjures up images of the black crow. Many crows also nest in the trees here and soar above …

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Solace and Simplicity

At Nanzoin Temple in Sasaguri, Fukuoka, Japan lies the world’s largest Reclining Bronze Buddha. In Buddhist philosophy, the Reclining Buddha symbolises the moment Gautama the Buddha achieved Nirvana, liberation from the cycle of human earthly life, after a lifetime of seeking enlightenment and sitting in meditation. The Buddha’s face depicts simple serenity. There is balance, a sense of absolute harmony. Buddha’s feet, inlaid with intricate designs of gold are remarkable. This …

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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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