Tokugagawa Ieyasu Image Analysis

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Nikkō Tōshō-gū This image is titled Temple Entrance and is a part of the James Davidson collection, which is curated by the UBC Museum of Anthropology. The image is believed to be take circa 1895 [1]. The image depicts the Yōmeimon gate to the Nikkō Tōshō-gū shrine. In the image, the viewer can see two figures dressed in traditional Japanese clothing, the ornamentation of the building and the words “N. 35” and “NIKKO” written on the frame [1]. The shrine is located in INESCO World Heritage Site Shrines and Temples of Nikkō [2] and is approximately 150m from Tokyo/Edo [2]. The Nikkō Tōshō-gū shrine is of historical significance as it is where Tokugawa Ieyasu is enshrined. Tokugawa Iemitsu is also enshrined in the surrounding area. From this, we can learn more about the establishment and solidification of the…show more content…
He was a figure of extreme importance and was revered during the Edo period. He was believed to be a Gongen, which is a person who is a human incarnation of Buddha. When he died, he was deified as Tōshō Daigongen that means “Great Gongen, Light of the East” [3]. This was an important step in the solidification and legitimization of the Tokugawa shogunate’s rule. By deifying Ieyasu they associated the shogun with God and by extension their regime. With religion, being of extreme importance to the Japanese people this was a great tool to maintain control of the population. To go rebel against the shogunate was to rebel against God, it implied that their rule was the will of God. Ieyasu’s deification culminated with his remains being buried in the Nikkō Tōshō-gū shrine. The Nikkō Tōshō-gū was of such significance that Imperial messengers and foreign delegates would pay their respects at the Nikkō shrine [4]. Tokugawa Ieyasu’s funeral procession is reenacted every year. This is known as “Hyakumonozoroe Sennin Musha Gyorets” or “procession of a thousand warriors”
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