Rashomon Gate


Rashomon Gate 羅生門

Rashōmon (羅城門, Rajōmon) was the gate built at the southern end of the monumental Suzaku Avenue in the ancient Japanese cities of Heijō-kyō (Nara) and Heian-kyō (Kyoto), in accordance with the Chinese grid-patterned city layout. At the other far north-end of Suzaku Avenue, one would reach the Suzakumon Gate, the main entrance to the palace zone. As of 2007, the southern end of Suzaku Avenue and the possible remainder of the equivalent gate in Fujiwara-kyō (Kashihara) are yet to be discovered.

The gate's name in modern Japanese is Rajōmon. Rajō (羅城) refers to city walls and mon (門) means "gate," so Rajōmon signifies the main city gate. Originally, this gate was known as Raseimon or Raiseimon, using alternate readings for the kanji in the name.The name Rashōmon, using the kanji 羅生門 (which can also be read Raseimon), was popularized by a noh play of the same title, written by Kanze Nobumitsu (1435–1516).

The modern name, Rajōmon, uses the original kanji (羅城門 rather than 羅生門) and employs what is now the more common reading for the second character (jō instead of sei).
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !


The Demon of Rashomon

© More in the Japanese WIKIPEDIA !

. . . CLICK here for Photos !


The story is told in the Noh play by Kanze Nobumitsu.
The hero Watanabe no Tsuna fights against a demon ((Ibaraki doji)

Watanabe-no-Tsuna, one of the four followers of Minamoto-no-Raiko, heard that the ogres dwelling on Oyeyama Hill had slipped into the city of Kyoto from Rashomon and were making a lot of mischief. When he went to Rashomon himself, Tsuna was attacked by Shutendoji, the chief of the ogres. In the fight, he cut off one of the arms of Shutendoji, who, however, managed to escape.

After consulting Abe-no-Seimei, a court wizard, he put the severed arm in a strong stone chest, keeping it locked up for seven days. But on the night of the seventh day, an old woman claiming to be Tsuna's aunt came to his door and begged him to show her the ogre's arm. When Tsuna granted her wish and opened the chest, the woman grabbed the arm, instantly turned into an ogre, and ran for Oeyama Hill. Tsuna told the story to Raiko, and vowed to march to Oyeyama Hill and vanquish the ogres there someday.
source : www.kufs.ac.jp/toshokan

. Shuten Dooji Shuten-dōji 酒呑童子 .
... a mythical oni leader who lived in Mt. Ooe (大江山) of Tamba Province or Mt. Ooe (大枝) on the boundary between Kyoto and Tamba in Japan.

- - - - -

by Tsukioka YOSHITOSHI (1839 – 1892)

The demon Ibaraki of Rashomon ( a gate south of the Imperial Palace in Kyoto ) visits Watanabe no Tsuna disguised as an old woman to retrieve its severed arm. This famous story relates how Watanabe cut off the arm after camping out at the gate to rid the neighbourhood of the beast.
From Yoshitoshi manga, “Sketches by Yoshitoshi”.
source : www.japaneseprints-london.com


a commemorative stone in a little playground just down from Toji

- Shared by Richard Newton -
Joys of Japan, 2012


Tō-ji (東寺)To-Ji
is a Buddhist temple of the Shingon sect in Kyoto, Japan.
Its name means East Temple, and it once had a partner, Sai-ji (西寺 West Temple). They stood alongside the Rashoomon, the gate to the Heian capital. It is formally known as Kyō-ō-gokoku-ji (教王護国寺, Kyō-ō-gokoku-ji) which indicates that it previously functioned as a temple providing protection for the nation.
Tō-ji is located in Minami-ku near the intersection of Ōmiya Street and Kujō Street, southwest of Kyoto Station.

. Temple Toji (Tooji 東寺) in Kyoto.


source : mnaves.wordpress.com

The Ibaraki Demon

Shibata Zeshin, (c. 1839-40)
the Klaus F. Naumann Collection, MET Museum, NY

The Ibaraki Demon is the demon that haunted the famous Rashomon Gate.

Zeshin had an assistant dress-up in a woman's kimono and run around the studio holding a daikon radish to stand-in for the severed arm, so he (Zeshin) could get an accurate sense of what to sketch.
source : Larry Bole


Rashomon (羅生門 Rashōmon)
is a 1950 Japanese crime drama film directed by Akira Kurosawa, working in close collaboration with cinematographer Kazuo Miyagawa. It stars Toshiro Mifune, Masayuki Mori, Machiko Kyō and Takashi Shimura.
The film is based on two stories by Ryūnosuke Akutagawa.

The film depicts the rape of a woman and the murder of her samurai husband through the widely differing accounts of four witnesses, including the bandit/rapist, the wife, the dead man (speaking through a medium), and lastly the woodcutter, the one witness that seems the most objective and least biased.
The stories are mutually contradictory and not even the final version can be seen as unmotivated by factors of ego and face.
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !



ogi no ho ya kashira o tsukamu Rashoomon

the plume of this reed -
it seems to grab my head
Rashomon Gate

Tr. Gabi Greve

Written in autumn of 1691 in Kyoto, 元禄4年秋
Basho captures the spooky atmosphere around the gate quite well.

This hokku has the cut marker (kireji) YA at the end of line 1,
but lines 1 and 2 belong together ...

MORE - discussion of the special use of kireji by
. Matsuo Basho 松尾芭蕉 - Archives of the WKD .

. WKD : ogi 荻 (おぎ) common reed .
Miscanthus sacchariflorus
kazakikigusa 風聞草(かざききぐさ)
nezamegusa 寝覚草(ねざめぐさ)
ogihara 荻原(おぎはら)field with common reed
hamaogi 浜荻(はまおぎ)common reed on a beach
kigo for all autumn


ほのかなる鶯聞きつ羅生門 / / 羅城門
honoka naru uguisu kikitsu Rashoomon

fainter and fainter
I hear the bush warbler -
Rashomon Gate

. Konishi Raizan 小西来山(1654 - 1716) .

- reference -


Rashomon Gate -
ghost stories invade
my cold attic

Gabi Greve
after having finished the above entry :o)





Chen-ou Liu, 劉鎮歐 said...

Dear Gabi:

I think your haiku above doesn't create the cutting effect.

The reason is simple: the haiku is NOT cut into the TWO worlds. It merely flows from a ghostly world to another, and its suggestive power mainly relies on the reader's understanding/appreciation of the invisible, unarticulated world indicated in L1 (this "shift" is weak)

I wonder if the following revision might work better:

"Rashomon Gate"
on my attic wall
shifting shadows



1 The poster can be accessed at http://goo.gl/MCPTO

2 L2 works effectively as a pivot, bridging the two worlds)

Gabi Greve said...

Thanks for the link to the Rashomon movie!

Pouring rain splashing off the dilapidated wreckage of a once-majestic and still striking Japanese city gate sets a gloomy tone. The camera moves from roof to base, to that classic long shot featured on the DVD cover of blasted timbers jutting out chaotically, remnants of a fierce battle, no doubt. Two forlorn men, one dressed in laborer's attire, the other in a priestly robe, sit in numbed confusion as a stranger bounds through the mud, entering the frame from just in front of the lens and joining his new companions to wait out the storm. Drawn in by their puzzled expressions, he chides them for their heavy emotions when he learns they are overwhelmed by the circumstances surrounding just one man's death. Clearly this has been a time of devastation and misery that they've been fortunate enough to survive, for now at least. Impatient with their ponderous musings, the stranger takes it upon himself to tear a few loose boards off the wall in order to start a fire. But one of the men, a woodcutter, chooses to relate his account, hoping that perhaps the fresh but cynical perspective of this outsider might help him make sense of what he's just heard.

More by David Blakeslee

Gabi Greve said...

Shuten Dooji 酒呑童子 Shuten Doji "Sake Child" Demon
Shuten Dōji 酒顛童子, 酒天童子, 朱点童子 Saka Doji

There is a lot of material about this popular Sake Drinker Yokai Monster,
from the hanga of old to the manga of new.


Gabi Greve said...

Yosa Buson

雲の峰に 肘する酒呑童子かな
kumo no mine ni hiji suru Shuuten Dooji kana

Shuten Doji
rests his elbows
on billowing clouds . . .

Gabi Greve said...

羅生門の妖鬼 Rashomon no Yoki
Movie from 1956 by Kiyoshi Saeki Kiyoshi


Gabi Greve said...

Miyako no Yoshika 都良香
(834 - 879)
He is Nr. 14 of the
. 日本の仏仙人16人 - The 16 Buddhist Immortals of Japan .
When Miyako no Yoshika passed through the Rashomon Gate in Kyoto, he composed the beginning of a new poem:
From the roof of the gate there was a voice continuing with the second part of the poem:
This must have been the voice of the Demon of Rashomon Gate.