Tokugawa Ieyasu 徳川家康公
From Merged Shrines
Tōshō-gū is a generic name for jinja enshrining the founder of the Tokugawa Shōgunate, Tokugawa Ieyasu, usually under the name of Tōshō Daigongen (東照大権現).
In 1601 Tokugawa Ieyasu commissioned a life size statue of himself. In 1616, just before he passed away on April 17, he was in residence at Sunpu Castle (駿府城), which he had built in 1579, when a monk from Zōjō-ji (増上寺) visited him. Ieyasu asked the monk to honour the statue with a religious ceremony and to have it enshrined at a
specially built shrine inside Zōjō-ji. On its completion in 1617 this became his mausoleum and was named Ankokuden (安国殿, lit. Peaceful Country Hall): the three characters making up this name were taken from Ieyasu’s 19- character long posthumous Buddhist name.
In 1633 a new main hall was built by the third Tokugawa Shogun, Iemitsu, and the old main hall was renamed Kaisandō (開山堂, lit. Founders Hall, a generic name to commemorate the founding of a temple or its founder).
In 1641 a gate was moved from Sunpu Castle to the shrine, and the head of the Fukuoka Domain, Kuroda Takayuki (黒田忠之), funded the construction of a new torii, prayer hall, and some other structures. In the same year Iemitsu may have personally planted what is now one of the largest gingko (ichō) trees in Tōkyō in the shrine grounds.
Following the Meiji Restoration and the enforcement of Shinbutsu bunri the Ankokuden was separated from Zōjō-ji, and renamed Tōshō-gū. In 1873 it was designated a gōsha. In 1915, along with the parent temple, the shrine was given a designation equivalent to the current Important Cultural Asset. On May 25, 1945, however, it was burnt to the ground in the firebombing and only two things survived, the statue of Ieyasu and the gingko tree. In 1963 the Tōkyō government designated the statue a Tangible Cultural Property, and on August 17, 1969 rebuilding of the main hall was completed.