Monday, May 4, 2009
Ashikaga Gakko is apparently the oldest school in Japan! Right here in my city! Holla! I went on Showa day, when, unfortunately, everyone and their brother felt the need to get out and about.
According to the pamphlet, present records can't really support any theories prior to the year 1410, so there is dispute as to when the school was actually founded. So here are 4 theoretical dates:
1. The Ashikaga school is a remnant of the Kokugaku school that originated in the Nara period
2. The Ashikaga school was founded in the year 832 by Lord Ono-no (tee hee what a silly name) Takamura.
3.The school was founded in 1249 by Lord Ashikaga Yoshikane (who also founded nearby Bannaji temple)
4. The school was opened in 1439 by Lord Uesugi Norizane, Deputy Shogun of Eastern Japan.
The school taught Confucianism of the Han and Tang dynasties and also the I-Ching. Next to the school, there is a Confucian Shrine (that actually looks more like a small temple, complete with a butsudan-style roof and shibi on the top roofline) with a bronze seated Confucius inside.
You can gaze out of the Hojo and have a nice think while looking at the pond & garden in the front or the smaller pool in the back. There is also a library on the grounds, that comes complete with 12,000 separate volumes, including the Song Dynasty edition of the 5 Classics of Confucianism. Talk about classics. The library isn't called 'Toshokan' though. Its name literally means "Treasury of Chinese Books."
I don't want to re-type the entire brochure onto my blog, but it really is a neat place to visit and learn a little about Chinese influence on Japanese culture. I would like to go back when there aren't so many people there!
More photos on the Facebook!