One day in Kamakura with great NIGAOE artists (Part 3)

By TERRY - Last updated: 火曜日, 1月 19, 2010 - Save & Share - 5 Comments

     This is Part 3 of  the report about  my visit to Kamakura  last autumn  with two great caricature artists who are my  friends.  As for the first part of the report, please read Part 1.  

 And as for the second part of the report, please read  Part2.


   After having departed from near the entrance area of  the Tsurugaoka Hachimangu shrine in two rickshaws,  first we went to Kamakura Shiritsu Onari Shougakkou(/鎌倉市立御成小学校,  Kamakura City-Run Onari Elementary School)  near the West Exit of  Kamakura  Station, passing by a famous swordsmith workshop and store of  hardwares, ” Masamune Son Touken Kaji Tsunahiro”(/正宗孫刀剣鍛治綱廣) that is “Masamune Kougei Bijyutsu Seisakujyo”(/正宗工芸美術製作所, Masamune Technical Art Works).

  This store and workshop is run by Mr. Tsunahiro Yamamura who is the 24th  generation descendant of  Masamune who was a legendary great master smith of sword forging from the end of  the Kamakura Period to the Nanboku-chou Period ,  in the mid 14th century. As Kamakura was the seat of  Kamakura Shogunate and kind of a capital city of warriors in the Kamakura Period(said to be 1192-1333),  there were many excellent swordsmiths in this area. In addition, lands in Kamakura contained  rich iron sand, which was the primary ingredient of  swords and metal weapons and caused  flourishing activities of swordsmiths in those days.  Therefore, still today we can find some famous shops and botteghe of  Japanese samurai(warrior) swords in this area.  DSCI0439DSCI0442masamuneDSCI0441


  And now, we stopped  in front of  the entrance gate of  Onari Elementary School.DSCI0447

 The seasoned rickshaw-puller explained  the background of the school and I reinforced him. The school used to be an imperial cottage until 1931 ,and was donated to Kamakura Town(currently Kamakura City) to be a elementary school. There is a stone monument which is thought to be a record of  that  school’s land  was a place of  court or other offices of the Kamakura Shogunate in the Kamakura period.TOMOKOさんデイブさんと鎌倉(2009.11.25)デイブさんからの写真その17

The Japanese word ” onari ” means ” a visit or appearance of  a monarch ” .  As the school place was deigned to be given to the town by the-then emperor, such a name was given,too.  The calligraphic letters on the wooden school nameplate on the school gate were written by Kyoshi Takahama(/高浜虚子, a very famous Japanese haiku poet 1874-1959, who mainly worked in kamakura and buried in a grave in Jyufukuji temple(/寿福寺)  in Kamakura) . 

 Yet there is another monument  in the school yard which is for extolling the goodness of  Tsugihiko Majima(/間島弟彦), who  donated  a huge sum of money with his testament in order to build a  library for Kamakura Town, which was  actually built  in 1936.  He was a member of  Kamakura Doujin Kai(/鎌倉同人会, a coterie society of Kamakura), which had been founded by cultural figures, such as Count Hirokichi Mutsu(/陸奥広吉, a diplomat  whose father was a well-known minister of foreign affairs of the Meiji government and an apprentice of Ryoma Sakamoto/坂本龍馬), and Viscount Seiki Kuroda(/黒田清輝, a famous western-style painter and a lord of  the House of  Lords as well) in 1915. The purpose of the society was to preserve historical and cultural assets in Kamakura and actually it has spent a lot of money to protect, maintain, or mend temples, shrines, old roads,and  so forth for almost one century up until today.  

To tell the truth, my great grandfather who had been a diplomat  was one of the founders of  the society and was the second president.  He was a close friend of  Mutsu who was the first president, and also was a relative of Kuroda.  As my great grandfather was the president when the monument  for Majima  on the school yard was built by the society, not only Majima’s name but also his name is engraved on the monument.  Majima was a well-known banker as well as a poet, who also donated huge amount of  money through his testament exercised by his wife to build a library for Aoyama Gakuin University that he had graduated from. That “ Majima Kinen Toshokan”(/間島記念図書館, Majima Memorial Library) was completed in 1929, which still stands as a symbolic building known as ” Majima Kinen-kan”(/間島記念館, Majima Memorial Building) on the university’s campus in Tokyo.

 My mother, who is a granddaughter of  the second president of  the coterie society of Kamakura , and  myself  are its members, which commemorates its 95th anniversary in this year of  2010.  Personally, I am so happy to have been a member of  a society which was founded  by my own great grandfather, his friends, and his relatives and to have been able to explain these historical back stories to my friends as a pro guide-interpreter and a genealogist.

 To my joy, not only Dave-san and Tomoko-san but also our two rickshaw-pullers,who were  professional guides of  Kamakura as well, seemed to take interest in my explanation over the monument , the coterie society, and my family’s back stories.

 Then, we left the school and departed for the next stop-off.

    ( To be continued to Part 4)

Posted in Old and New Cultural Scenes in Japan, Travel • Tags: Top Of Page
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5 Responses to “One day in Kamakura with great NIGAOE artists (Part 3)”

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Time 21/01/2010 at 08:39

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Comment from Césare Majima
Time 10/11/2015 at 20:32

Hi Terry, my name is Césare Majima and I live in Brazil. My father came to Brazil in 1964 and I have bornt in 1970 in this country. I have grown up here in Brazil always listening the stories from my father that his family was famous in Japan, specially in Kamakura where he has bornt and in the Aoyama Gakuin in Tokyo where he and my mother were studied before coming to Brazil. I loved your story and taking the opportunity I will print it to show to my son who is very interested in Japan and about his ancients. Yes, and my name is also written “Majima” using the “Aida” no “ji”.

Comment from TERRY
Time 10/11/2015 at 22:17

Hi,Césare Majima-san. Thank you four your kind comment.I am so happy to learn people like you read our articles on this Tenkai-japan website. You may be a descendant of Tsuguhiko(or Otohiko) Majima(間島弟彦)who donated money to build the Kamakura Town Library and built library in Aoyama Gakuin Universaity(青山学院大学)in Tokyo. Tsugihiko Majima was my great grandfather’s friend and his wife’s brother was a painter who was an apprentice of Seiki Kuroda(黒田清輝)who was my ancestor’s relative. Tsuguhiko’s father, Fuyumichi Majima(間島冬彦)was also a well-known banker, politician and a poet.If you like to know more about them, it might be helpful to refer to the biography of Tsuguhiko Majima called “Shoden-Majima Tsuguhiko”(小伝間島弟彦)( wekipedia is here;(
Unfortunately, most of data about the Majima family are available only in Japanese and not in Portuguese or English. But we will be quite happy if you kindly tell your son and other people around you about those historical people as a part of genealogy and culture of our countries. 

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