Wednesday, November 2, 2016

2016 National Treasure: Shomyoji's Documents

This year, Shomyoji and Kanazawabunko (bunko means library) together received a national treasure status for own documents, which include 16, 692 pieces of Buddhism related old documents and 4,149 letters that depict the activities of the Kamakura central government.

Currently, only large temples in Kyoto and Nara own about 10,000 pieces. So, the national treasure of over 20,000 pieces was born in Yokohama, which I think incredible. I cannot appreciate more for those people who put so much effort making this dream come true. One of them is Professor Yusuke Takahashi of Keio University. 


ZACL said...

I agree with your sentiments Keiko. It is so important to have the primary evidence for all sources where they are to be found. Also, when found, that they be carefully preserved. These treasures,in the wider terms, are the bases of all our cultures.

In domestic settings, such family material is also important. I recently had this discussion with someone who 'saved' three or four generations of papers from another family member who was trashing them. They papers had been carefully kept by a deceased close relative. When he actually saw the quantity of archival material, he was daunted by it. He was seriously thinking about digitising photos and some papers, not all, after which, he proposed destroying all the hard copies...everything. I was upset to hear this and carefully advised him that the gold standard was absolutely always to have the original hard copies to refer to, which are the main surviving primary evidence. Better he did nothing with any of the papers, perhaps work to save old photos, then just keep safely what he had got.

keiko amano said...


I agree with your advice to your friend. I appreciate all those documents,showing a part of the history. Throughout the history, not many people took time writing what they thought important.How grateful I am to all those writers!

Just the other day, I've posted some photos of the Kanazawa Hakkei(eight views) station. The area is adjacent to this temple and being done further reclamation work to build highrise buildings for condos and shops.The site is currently so ugly.

Next to the uglly construction sites, a miniature like temple still exists. It looks so sad with decaying shapely pine trees. A post there said among other reporting like the place was mentioned in the well-known ancient documents, showing the exact phrases and various names.Then the author of the post added, "This area used to be a picturesque up to ten years ago." The date of the post was 1968. I realized that I'm the last generation of the Japanese who actually saw how beautiful Kanazawa Hakkei was! It won't bring back what already destroyed, but I appreciated the honest words.It's up to individuals to see the truth.