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Kikuchi, the Town which Saw the Rise and Fall of the Kikuchi Clan

Last Modified:2/6/2017

Kikuchi Shrine


 

The Kikuchi Clan

The Kikuchi clan was a family who settled in what is now Kikuchi, Higo (Kumamoto) Province. The most powerful and prosperous family in the Kumamoto Area for 450 years from the 9th century to the 14th century.

They fought against Mongol invasion attempts and also fought with the Northern Court supporting Imperial Prince Kanenaga. The Kikuchi clan was not only superior in their strength as warriors but also had advanced ideas such as setting a democratic Kikuchi Family Constitution.

 

Family Crest

The Kikuchi clan usually uses “Maruni Narabi Takanoha” (Two ovals each containing a line of falcon feathers) or “Maruni Chigai takanoha” (crossing falcon feathers inside a circle. ) The falcon feathers were considered a worrier’s symbol.

 Family Creast


 

Mongol Invasion Attempts

Takefusa, the 10th head of the Kikuchi clan is on the picture scrolls of Mongol Invasion Attempts of Japan.

 Mongol Atacck Picrue Scroll


 

Kikuchi Clan's Thousand Spears 

Takeshige created spears that had not existing in Japan at that time, and fought with the Ashikaga family. He had Swordsmiths make a thousand spears. These spears became known as “the Kikuchi Thousand Spears.” His brother Takemitsu was said to be an evervictorious warrior and the war of the Battle of Chikugo River is considered as one of the top 3 battles in Japan. Both Kikuchi clans’ grave and Takemitsu’s grave are located at Shokanji Temple in Kikuchi.

 A Thousand Spears of Kikuchi Clan


 

The Kikuchi Family Constitution 

It is the oldest document with a seal of blood and is kept with the Kikuchi Senbonyari in the Kikuchi Shrine. This constitution is democratic and advanced because it tells that all matters would be decided after consultation with members of the clan.

It is said that Charter Oath of Five Articles and Meiji Constitution used this Kikuchi Constitution as a reference.

 Kikuchi Family Constitution


 

The Education of Kumamoto, Kikuchi

The power of Kikuchi Clan had declined gradually after the government unification, but the education and the culture of Kikuchi became more famous. The Kikuchi clan established Koshi Park, Confucius Memorial Park, and Kikuchi Manku, 10.000 Hike a day. In the end of the Edo Period, Kikuchi had the most private schools in Kumamoato and was said to be the best educated area.

 10,000 Haiku a Day


 

The Statue of Takemitsu

This is one of the biggest equestrian statures in Japan. Emperor Godaigo dispatched Prince Kanenaga as Imperial general in the 12th century. Takemitsu had supported Imperial Prince Kanenaga, leading the southern Court’s side forces, conquering, and restoring much of the Kyushu Area.

Statue of Takemitsu


 

Kikuchi Shrine

By Meiji Emperor’s order, the Kikuchi Shrine was built to worship the Kikuchi clan who had a strong faith in the royal family. The History Hall stores Kikuchi clan's treasure and also cultural assets.

 Kikuchi Shrine


 

Shogoji Temple

Shogoji Temple was established by Takeshige as a spiritual base for the Kikuchi clan on the mountain of  Hogi District summoning Zen Priest Daichi in the 12th century.

 

Matsubayashi Noh

Traditional Noh has been performed for the past 650 years in Kikuchi. It is an important intangible cultural heritage. It started as a way to comfort Prince Kanenaga who was far from Capital, Yoshino.  The Noh performance is now performed during the fall festival at the Kikuchi Shrine.

 Matsubayashi Noh


 

The Shogun Tree

It is said that the oriental elm tree on the Goshodori (Court Street) in central Kikuchi was planted by Prince Kanenaga 650 years ago. It is a  natural treasure of Kumamoto.

 Shogun Tree


 

The Birth Place of  the Saigo Family

The origin of Takamori Saigo, who played a key role in the Meiji Restoration and the last civil war, is believed to be in Shichijo, Kikuchi. The first head of the Saigo family is Masataka, and he belonged to the Kikuchi clan. Takamori changed his name to Gengo Kikuchi, literary meaning, “my origin is Kikuchi” one time. He also named his child “Kikugoro” taking the letter "Kiku" from "Kikuchi."

 





Inquiry

Public Relations Section Mayor's Office, Policy and Planning Department of Kikuchi City
Phone:0968-25-7252Inquiry


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