[TRAVEL] The Ryoma-Den Trail

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Nothing to do with Masha but Irene, a follower of my blog emailed me some pictures which she took and it is Ryoma-Den related, so I have decided to rename this post and call it the Ryoma-Den Trail. Fans of Ryoma-Den planning a visit to Japan may wish to visit these historical sites. All explanations in italics by Irene herself as I must confess, I know very little of the history of these places or of that in Ryoma-Den even with 48 episodes worth of everything Ryoma. Blame it on Masha! A great big thanks to Irene!

It's a long post so do click Read More for the full post. I guarantee you the pictures are beautiful. I believe all are in Kyoto, Japan. If you like to see more of Kyoto (not necessarily Ryoma related), find them all here.

I must add with regards to the pictures posted in here and in the link provided above, please do not repost or reupload anywhere else and commercial use is strictly prohibited.

Ryoma and Nakaoka Shintaro metal statue
Very significant, especially for episode 48, the last episode. Her explanation contains spoilers about the last episode but since everybody knows what happened to Ryoma and that of his friend, Nakaoka Shintaro, I feel it is ok to repost what she wrote which is informative to say the least;

This photo is a metal statue located in Maruyama Park, Kyoto - of Ryoma (left side) and Nakaoka Shintaro who he was killed with at the Omiya Sake Brewery facility in Kyoto. Nakaoka was a comrade and leader of a military core that complemented Ryoma's "Kaientai". He was a follower of Takechi Hanpeita until the purge of loyalists in Tosa. Thereafter Nakaoka lived in and worked for Choshu until he met up with Ryoma a few years later. Together they worked to establish the Sacho alliance. I believe that on your blog you recently mentioned Nakaoka Shintaro and you identified him as Ryoma's bodyguard, but that wasn't his role. Ryoma did have a bodyguard assigned to him by the Choshu clan for a period of time up to and through the first Teradaya attack and his name was Miyoshi Shinzo. He later stayed in Choshu where he was honored for helping save Ryoma. I didn't see Oryo's grave. Ryoma's marker is definitely in an enclosure next to Nakaoka Shintaro. The grave where he was placed by Kido Koin (Katsura Kogoro) is at Ryozen - a special memorial site with over 1000 markers for loyalist samurai who died during the Bakumatsu period. At the end of a recent Ryomaden episode they mentioned something about Oryo being able to be in heaven together with Ryoma. I think they meant spiritually - not that her grave is right next to his.

You must click the image to see the full size image. It is gorgeous! The colour schemes, the leaves, etc, a very beautiful picture which exudes serenity and peacefulness. Considering how they were assassinated, I would say my observations may be contradictory though. A great big thanks to Irene for sharing the photo!

Looking at the statue I did some googling and found them in similar poses, which I believe must be their famous poses.

Anyway the real and some very interesting story about him taken from samurai-archives;

A village headman (shoya) from Tosa with the right to carry two swords, Nakaoka was very active in the loyalist movement. A friend and associate of Sakamoto Ryoma, Nakaoaka assisted in efforts to bring Choshu and Satsuma together in their anti-Bakufu alliance. Nakaoka sustained fatal injuries during the assassination of Ryoma, with whom he was staying, at their hideout in the storehouse of the Omiya, a soy seller’s shop in the Kawaramachi district of Kyoto. Although he lingered for two days before succumbing to his wounds, Nakaoka was unable to positively identify his and Ryoma's assassins.

Ryoma died within minutes and also on his birthday (following the old Japanese calendar). Nakaoka didn't die until 2 days later which is interesting. Even he couldn't identify who wanted to kill Ryoma or himself and frankly there is much debate on this. I am not an expert in anything Ryoma but I suppose an assassination such as this can only be either for revenge which is a possibility or it could be for political convenience, taking out the one which did and could make the most changes that not many are ready for and that may include his enemies as well as his allies. I wonder, does the Omiya Sake Brewery facility  still exist?

Nakaoka was only 29 at the time of his death. Ryoma was 33 (source).

Teradaya Inn
Located in Fushimi, an area just south of Kyoto. I think in the series this was where he met his mother lookalike and O'ryo. Also where he was almost killed the 1st time around. Correct me if I am wrong. Irene wrote;

They featured a picture of this building in a travelogue at the end of one Ryomaden episode. We understand this may not be the original building that Ryoma stayed in, but rather a replacement building put up on the same location - it's probably from the turn of the century or early 1900's. Some time before Ryoma was attacked and injured here, a similar interesting event took place that was related to his cause which is explained as follows.

Approximately 60 to 70 pro-imperial loyalists met at the Teradaya to plot a revolt in Kyoto aimed at seizing control of the Imperial palace. Nearly 50 of these ronin conspirators hailed from Satsuma. When Shimazu Hisamitsu, de facto daimyo of Satsuma and a supporter of "Kobu Gattai" (union of court and camp), caught wind of the plot, he was outraged and ordered that they be brought back to Satsuma’s residence in Kyoto and to eliminate them if they refused.. Hisamitsu’s actions were in accordance with the edict he received from Emperor Komei ordering him to suppress Kyoto’s ronin problem.

As it was highly unlikely that any of these Satsuma shishi would back down and surrender peacefully without a fight, blood would have to be spilled. To that end, nine Satsuma samurai were dispatched to bring their wayward brothers back to Kyoto-- or to bring the swords of justice down upon their unsuspecting fellow clansmen. After a brief and bloody clash that left numerous rebels and at least one Satsuma swordsman dead, an emotional appeal was issued to the remaining Satsuma rebels to obey Hisamitsu’s orders and return to the Satsuma residence in Kyoto. Shocked at the Satsuma-on-Satsuma blood letting and influenced by the strength of the emotional appeal to surrender, the remaining Satsuma shishi yielded. Thus, the first planned armed anti-Bakufu plot came to naught before it could be hatched.

IkedaYa Inn

New restaurant that now stands on the grounds of the original IkedaYa Inn in Kyoto - where a band of Choshu rebels were killed by the Shinsengumi, and from which Katsura Kogoro (Kido Koin) escaped unharmed. He was the only person or one of the only people to escape. On the upper level of the building they have an interesting anime-like painting of the Shinsengumi police corps.

Ryoma's Statue at Nagasaki

Some snippets on this statue taken from here.

A 3.2-meter-tall statute of Ryoma stands on the 1.6-meter-high pedestal at a park situated on top of Mount Kazagashira (151 meters above sea level) -- about three kilometers east of JR Nagasaki Station. The park commands a panoramic view of Nagasaki Port.

"To illustrate Ryoma's oddball personality, his left boot runs off the edge of the pedestal," says volunteer tour guide Yasuyuki Masuda.

"Nagasaki is my hope," a line from Ryotaro Shiba's historical novel on Ryoma, "Ryoma-ga-Yuku," is engraved in a monument near the statue of Ryoma Sakamoto. (Mainichi)

"Nagasaki is my hope" -- a line from Ryotaro Shiba's historical novel on Ryoma, "Ryoma-ga-Yuku" -- is engraved in a monument nearby.


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