63,494 war dead
From Merged Shrines
Annual Festival: April 10 and November 10
This is the twenty-fourth of my ex post facto shrine reports. I visited it in April 2012.
This is one of the 52 Gokoku Jinja (lit. “Protect the Country Shrine”) affiliated with Yasukuni Jinja. Much more information on the subject can be found in my book, Sacred Tokyo 40 Shinto Shrines (JP USA UK ).
What became the Gokoku Jinja were mostly founded shortly after the Meiji Restoration to honour those who had given their lives to overthrow the Tokugawa Shogunate. This particular one traces its origin to a Chinrei-sha (鎮霊社) set up in what is now Tōko Jinja, 東湖神社, in the grounds of the nearbye
Tokiwa Jinja in 1878. At that time it enshrined 1,800 war dead, mostly from the Satsuma rebellion. In April 1939, following a rapid rise in the number of enshrinements after the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-05 and the Chinese incursions, Gokoku JInja were set up in each prefecture as a matter of national policy. The Chinrei-sha was thus moved from Tokiwa Jinja to its current location, but it was not until November 1941 that it was formally given its current name and the appropriate ceremonies held.
Following Japan's defeat in WWII, the Gokoku Jinja were deemed to be militaristic instutions and forced to change their names to survive. In August 1945 this one took the name Sakurayama Jinja, 桜山神社, but in October 1954 it reverted to the Ibaraki-ken Gokoku Jinja name. This was after Japan had formally regained its independence from the US in April 1952.
Note that the kami of the in-ground shrine of Sakura-no-Miya is Konohanasaku spouse of Ninigi.
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