Traces of Bushido: 400-Year-Old Samurai Blood Stains at the Yogen In Temple

In the year 1600, the largest army in Western Japan left Osaka and started moving north to fight against Tokugawa. The Fushimi Castle of Kyoto, which was controlled by a Tokugawa ally Mototada, was on the way. Mototada’s castle was surrounded by this army who is the enemy of Tokugawa but put still up a big fight. They resisted for days with no help from outside. However, the castle eventually fell and Mototada was killed. His men, around 380 samurai, did not want to surrender. So they ended their lives in a Bushido way. So many samurais committed seppuku (harakiri) in the same room.
BUSHIDO - The Code of Samurai


Yogen In Temple

Yogen In Temple
This temple is right across from the Kyoto Station and near Sanju San Gen Do.

The wooden pieces

The blood was all over the floor and the castle was destroyed. Tokugawa Ieyasu asked locals to pick up the wooden pieces soaked by the samurai blood and distribute them to 7 temples in the vicinity so that people can pray for those who de-ceased. Yogen In, which is not far from Kyoto Station has blood ceilings similar to what is shown in this picture. Yogen In also has many pillars and wooden structures that were originally used in the Fushimi Castle.


Traces of Bushido: 47 Samurai Who Died for the Honor of Their Master

The true story of 47 samurai perfectly summarizes the bushido values of loyalty, honor, and persistence. This is the incidence where 47 samurai were charged with seppuku for avenging their master. In 1701, Asano, a daimyo representing the Ako region, was insulted by a powerful official from the Tokugawa shogunate while visiting the Edo castle. The official, Kira, insulted him because Asano had not bribed him. Facing a series of insults, Asano could not hold his temper and assaulted Kira wounding him in the face. In just a few hours Asano was judged and sentenced to seppuku because he attacked a government official in the shogunate. His execution was held on the same day.

The “oniga-wara” on the roof tiles of the Sengakuji temple. The temple is near the Shinagawa bullet train station.


The cemetery of the 47 ronin who were forced to commit seppuku. The cemetery is in the Sen-gokuji Temple.

The semetery of the 47 ro-nin

Asano’s 47 men sworn an oath to avenge their master knowing that all of them would be executed if they touched Kira. At the same time, they were suspect-ed to do something for revenge and they were followed by the spies of Kira. The leader of the 47 samurai spent some time in Kyoto and reportedly visited the Ichiriki Chaya Geisha House on Hanamikoji Street. After waiting a year and a half, the 47 samurai finally attacked Kira’s residence in Edo. They captured Kira and killed him with the same word used for their master’s seppuku. They returned themselves in and the government decided all of them must end their own lives by committing seppuku (harakiri).

The youngest ronin was let go to maintain the samurai blood and to tell what happened in Edo to the people of Ako. The graves of the ronins are located in the Sengakuji temple near the Shinagawa station of Tokyo. Every year in mid-December there is a special commemoration event held at the temple.


Hagakure the book of the Samurai By Yamamoto Tsunemoto

“Bushido is realized in the presence of death. This means choosing death whenever there is a choice between life and death. There is no other reasoning.”

“If a warrior is not unattached to life and death, he will be of no use whatsoever. The saying that “All abilities come from one mind” sounds as though it has to do with sentient matters, but it is in fact a matter of being unattached to life and death. With such non-attachment, one can accomplish any feat.”

“Human life is truly a short affair. It is better to live doing the things that you like. It is foolish to live within this dream of a world seeing unpleasantness and doing only things that you do not like.”

“The Way of the Samurai is found in death. Meditation on inevitable death should be performed daily. Every day when one’s body and mind are at peace, one should meditate upon being ripped apart by arrows, rifles, spears, and swords, being carried away by surging waves, being thrown into the midst of a great fire, being struck by lightning, being shaken to death by a great earthquake, falling from thousand-foot cliffs, dying of disease or committing seppuku at the death of one’s master. And every day without fail one should consider himself as dead. This is the substance of the way of the samurai.“ (From the movie Ghost Dog referring to the book Hagakure)

”It is a good viewpoint to see the world as a dream. When you have something like a nightmare, you will wake up and tell yourself that it was only a dream. It is said that the world we live in is not a bit different from this.“ (From the movie Ghost Dog referring to the book Hagakure)

”There is surely nothing other than the single purpose of the present moment. A man’s whole life is a succession of moment after moment. If one fully understands the present moment, there will be nothing else to do and nothing else to pursue.” (From the movie Ghost Dog referring to the book Hagakure)


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