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November 2013


about Yorifusa Tokugawa, Koishikawa Korakuen in Tokyo Japan

Yorifusa Tokugawa (1603-1661)


Yorifusa Tokugawa was the founder of Koishikawa Korakuen.Yorifusa was the first Mito clan ruler in the Tokugawa government.

He was the 11th son of Ieyasu Tokugawa,who was the founder and first shogun of the Tokugawa shogunate.When his father Ieyasu was 62 years old, Yorifusa was born. Yorifusa was a wild kid, but Ieyasu loved the boy very much.When Yorifusa was 7 years old, Ieyasu decided that Yorifusa was the first ruler of the Mito clan which was one of the most important clans for the Tokugawa shogunate.In addition, Ieyasu ordered that the ruler of Mito clan had always to stay in Edo and support Tokugawa shogun.Therefore a chief counselor of a federal lord stayed in Mito and managed the clan.


The third shogun Iemitsu Tokugawa and Yorifusa had a good relationship.Yorifusa was an uncle of shogun Iemitsu,but he was only three years older than the nephew.Therefore Iemitsu talked about many things to Yorifusa and Yorifusa supported him well.As a matter of fact, the third shogun advised Yorifusa a lot when he built this garden, Koishikawa Korakuen.

Yorifusa not only had high skills in the martial arts but also was interested in studying Japanese classical literature, Confucianism and theology.Although Yorifusa was a close relative of Tokugawa shogun, he much respected the Emperor.


Yorifusa worked to improve water management systems in the Mito clan,such as improving the environment of the Senba lake to prevent flood damage and building water supply systems for people.He established a solid base for managing the Mito clan.


He passed away when he was 59 years old.He was enshrined as a god in Mito Toshogu with his father Ieyasu.


Tokujin-do Koishikawa Korakuen in Tokyo Japan

"Tokujin do" was built for enshrining statues of ancient Chinese Confucian scholars.

When Mitsukuni Tokugawa, the second lord of the Mito clan, was 18 years old,

he read the "Hakui Retsuden" story from the Chinese historical work called "Shiki".

He was deeply impressed with  the life of the great brothers in the story.

Therefore he decided to enshrine their wooden statues in this building.

The building's name comes from a Confucian idea from the story.

"Tokujin" means that the brothers searched for "humanity and justice",

and then they obtained it.


Out line of "Hakui Retsuden"

Hakui and his younger brother Shukusei were in Kochiku in China over 3000 years ago.

Their father, the lord of Kochiku, decided that Shukusei should become the next lord of the country.

After their father passed away, Shukusei tried to hand over the status of the lord to Hakui, because it was common that the oldest son succeeded the lord.

However, Hakui respected his father's will, so that he didn't accept the offer and left the country.

Then Shukusei also left the country.

Therefore people of the country accepted another brother of Hakui and Shukusei

as the ruler afterwards.

After that, Hakui and Shukusei went toward Shu,

because they heard that the lord, Bun-o, was great.

However, when they arrived at Shu, the lord passed away.

The lord's son, Bu-o was about to go to kill king of Yin.

The brothers tried to stop him,

because it was wrong to kill king during mourning period of his father's death.

Nevertheless, Bu-o didn't listen to the brothers' admonition, he killed king of Yin.


Although Bu-o asked the brothers to work for him,

the brothers didn't accept the offer, and lived on a mountain.


After a while, the brothers died from starving.

People admire the brothers' modesty and their faith.

↓The wooden statues


The reason why Mitsukuni was deeply impressed with the story.

Mitsukuni was also not the oldest son.

However, his father, Yorifusa, decided that

Mitsukuni was the heir of Yorifusa, when Mitsukuni was 6 years old.

He was confused by the decision, because his oldest brother was smart and well esteemed.

Little by little, he became skeptical against his father and behaved like a bad boy.

When Mitsukuni was 18 years old, he read the story about Hakui and Shukusei,

he realized how great the brothers were.

He was ashamed of his past behavior.

After that he studied a lot and became modest.



Koishikawa Korakuen's pond in Tokyo Japan

This pond is one of the highlights in the park.

This is called "Osensui", it means "big pond".


There is a small island in the pond.

It is called "Horaijima".

"Horai" is a God's mountain in the Chinese myth and  "jima" means island.


The shape of the island is like a turtle. Turtle is a symbol of fortune and longevity.

It is said that the shape of the island was a little destroyed by a big earthquake in Edo period.

There is a small shrine for Benzaiten on the island.

Benzaiten is a Buddhism goddess.

In Japan, she is regarded as a goddess of water and money.


Koishikawa Korakuen's stone fence in Tokyo Japan

This is a stone fence of Koishikawa Korakuen.


These stones were found at the place where a gate of Edo castle once were.

They are considered as the stones of the Edo castle's moat.

This fence was re-constructed by using the stones of Edo castles's moat

and technique of early Edo period.

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  • Hi there! I'm Lala. I'm a Japanese living in Tokyo. I'm an English speaking licensed guide and authorized tour conductor. If you have questions, please leave comments on this blog or send me e-mails. lalalamumin☆yahoo.co.jp (please replace ☆ with @ when you send me e-mails)

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