"...any being whatsoever which possesses some eminent quality out of the ordinary, and is awe-inspiring, is called Kami.”
Tōkyō-to, Bunkyō-ku, Koishihkawa 2-5-7
May 12, 2017
The only shrine I have covered so far for which there is an exact founding date, but as this event was as recent as 1966 it is not surprising: the date was March 7. Its foundation was very much the result of one man’s efforts, Sasaki Katsuzō. Born on September 27, 1894 he was the eldest son of a farming family from Miyagi-ken which had moved to Hokkaidō as part of a government settlement programme. After finishing primary school he seems to have been more interested in gambling than in the family farm but saw the error of his ways after joining a civil engineering company and found solace in religion. In 1920 he moved to the then Japanese colonial territory of Karafuto (Sakhalin) to make his fortune. He seems to have done this working on government and military construction projects. It was probably during this period that he founded his company, Marukatsu Sasaki Civil Engineering, which is still registered at the same address as the Koishikawa Daijin-gū In 1945 the Soviet Union declared war on Japan and in his capacity as head of a civil defense group he went to Sapporo to organize support for the island. While he was in Sapporo the Soviets overran Sakhalin and he was unable to return. In Sapporo he teamed up with other returnees and soon found himself back on his feet. In the mid-1950s he moved to Tōkyō’s
Amaterasu Ōkami (55) 天照大神
Earliest mention of: 1966
Annual Festival: March 7
Koishikawa district and his construction business boomed on the back of Japan’s high economic growth. He used some of the wealth his business created to help religious facilities and in 1966 founded Koishikawa Daijingū. The chain of events leading up to this dates back to at least 1949, in which year the 59th transfer of the deity to a new shrine building at the Ise Jingū (Shikinen Sengu) should have taken place. This ceremony, one of the most important in Shintō, is normally held every twenty years but in the tightened national circumstances following WWII its 59th enactment had to be postponed. Hearing this, Sasaki donated funds to Ise Jingū and successfully persuaded luminaries of the business and political worlds such as Idemitsu Sazō, Tsushima Juichi and Funada Nakato to do likewise. In 1957 he was recognized as a representative of Ise Jingū Sukeisha, and In 1966 was paid the high honour of being awarded a special paper offering by the Ise Jingū, and hence indirectly by the Emperor, it is to enshrine this that Koishikawa Daijingū was constructed.
The torii standing on the street was constructed using wood recycled from the Tsukiyomi-no-miya at Ise rebuilt during the 62nd Shikinen Sengu in 2013 while the torii in front of the prayer hall was constructed using wood similarly recycled during the 61st Shikinen Sengu in 1993.