Sunday, November 27, 2005

Stone Memorials • 村の石碑

One thing I have realized recently is Inakadate has a lot of stone of stone memorials. Most people probably don't notice them, but really, it is quite surprising how many there are. There are lots of stone memorials in shrine grounds, but often you will find them simply sitting on the side of the road.

During my seven years in Japan I have lived in four places, Ise, Kyoto, Akita and Aomori. Of course Ise and Kyoto are both very famous old cities, but neither of these cities have as many stone memorials as Inakadate. They're everywhere.

During the next couple of months I am going to try to present a few of these stone tablets on this blog. I think they are an interesting look into the history of the village. Certainly it is better than reading a textbook or a history. Not only do they tell what happened, but they also tell what people feel is important enough memorialize in stone for history to read years in the future.

Being stone, memorials like this last a long long time, and kanji that were written a long time ago are difficult for me to read, but many of them I can read enough of to understand what they generally are about. I might not understand them all, but I do learn a little about Inakadate through looking at them.

This first one is simple. It is in the grounds of the shrine in the Maedayashiki neighborhood. It reads, 'Tokyo Rikishi, Ayatetsuzo' A rikishi is a sumo wrestler and I think a 'Tokyo Rikishi' is someone who was good enough to be able to go from Aomori fight in Tokyo. Asking around the village hall, it seems that Ayatetsuzo lived and fought in the about 100 years ago.

I wonder what other kinds of history I will be able to find looking at Inakadate's stone tablets?.

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