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stone and dust

photography and musings on cemeteries, memorials, and other monuments

Month

March 2016

Cemetery 33: Nikko’s Self-Immolation Cemetery

There is something about moss in the rain, the green is so luminescent, the air that surrounds it is practically breathing, that it makes one forget the frenetic pace of life in the concrete and steel cities of Japan. So it was as I made my way to Nikko, Continue reading “Cemetery 33: Nikko’s Self-Immolation Cemetery”

Cemetery 32: Tokugawa Ieyasu’s Mausoleum

The shrines and temples of Nikko are classified as a World Heritage Site, and the star among them is the magnificent shrine of Tōshō-gū. It is here that the first Tokugawa shogun, Ieyasu, is buried. The shrine itself is famous for it’s magnificent Continue reading “Cemetery 32: Tokugawa Ieyasu’s Mausoleum”

Cemetery 31: Yokohama’s Foreign General Cemetery

Other than the magnificent cemetery of Okunoin at Koya-san, the only other cemetery that I knew I wanted to visit in Japan was Yokohama’s Foreign General Cemetery. This cemetery’s history in intimately connected to the opening of Continue reading “Cemetery 31: Yokohama’s Foreign General Cemetery”

Cemetery 30: The Byakkotai Cemetery on Iimoriyama

In the late 1860s there was a massive civil war in Japan, called the Boshin War, in which supporters of the Shogunate (military commanders who effectively ruled Japan, and had, up to that point, had had an isolationist policy) and the supporters of Continue reading “Cemetery 30: The Byakkotai Cemetery on Iimoriyama”

Cemetery 29: Appeasing a vengeful spirit

Here’s a Japanese story that most people have probably never heard. Taira no Masakado was a nobleman who lived during the Heian era in an area of what is now the northeast of Tokyo. In the year 935 Masakado was ambushed by another local Continue reading “Cemetery 29: Appeasing a vengeful spirit”

Cemetery 28: Tokyo’s Aoyama Reien

One of Tokyo’s most famous cemeteries is Aoyama Reien, located near Roppongi/Harajuku, is known for many things: it’s large, it has a lot of flowering cherry trees in spring, and it was the first cemetery where foreigners could be laid to Continue reading “Cemetery 28: Tokyo’s Aoyama Reien”

Cemetery 27: The graves of the 47 Ronin

The 47 ronin, or masterless samurai, is probably one of the most well-known historical stories that comes from Japan. That said, whenever I mention the 47 ronin to my students, they have no idea who I’m talking about, as in Japanese they are Continue reading “Cemetery 27: The graves of the 47 Ronin”

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