The Resting Place of the Fallen Flowers of Yoshiwara
October 30, 2008 6:42 PM   Subscribe

浄閑寺—Jokanji, the "Throw Away" Temple "From the street, it looks like many other Tokyo temples, but behind the new main building is an old cemetery that has one particular point of interest, a crypt and monument to twenty-five thousand prostitutes interred there."
posted by gomichild (14 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
posted by PlusDistance at 7:02 PM on October 30, 2008


When showing off NYC to out-of-towners, I always make sure to point out that there are an estimated 20,000 people buried under Washington Square Park.
posted by [NOT HERMITOSIS-IST] at 7:16 PM on October 30, 2008 [2 favorites]

Ooooh my goodness - thanks for the link [NOT HERMITOSIS-IST].
posted by gomichild at 7:46 PM on October 30, 2008

thanks, very interesting...
posted by HuronBob at 8:11 PM on October 30, 2008

I love to look at places where people place their dead. It's a good thing, considering I live next to a very large cemetery,

When thinking of forgotten souls buried and dead, I always think of Old Town San Diego, where you walk on the road that covers the graves of the dead ("El Campo Santo Cemetery--
used between 1850 and 1880. Here lie many of the most famous early San Diegans. Now smaller than its original size, some graves lie beneath San Diego Avenue and Linwood Street

A cemetery is a very interesting concept, when you think about it. How quickly are we forgotten!
posted by librarylis at 9:39 PM on October 30, 2008

This is great. I love graveyards in big cities, they tend to be beautiful islands of quiet and comforting smells.

While I still lived in Mexico, every Dia de los Muertos we would take some foreign tourist to see some midnight plays in one of the old cemeteries. The plays are usually funny, making fun of death and the dead. It was cool to see how different people reacted.

The rest of the year, cemeteries are nice places to walk around, have a picnic and drink a few beers or smoke a joint. My high school was close to a large cemetery, and there is where we would go drink or have a nap between classes. You could meet people there every day.

When I was living in London, I was always near a cemetery, and I would do the same, eat lunch there, go for walks, read books. It was very uncommon to meet other people, and that made it extra good in such a crowded city. For months I worked in a Japanese restaurant just in front of a very old church, with a small graveyard, where I would go eat stolen cold soba and cucumbers, and drink the, also stolen, sake that comes in individual glasses with pictures of naked ladies who have been dead for 200 years.

When I lived in Portland and in a small town in Florida, I tried to do the same, but every time I would be bothered by guards or groundskeepers, and I would get weird looks. Now I live in San Francisco, SOL with graveyards. When I lived in the Inner Richmond I went to the Columbarium, but it is not welcoming at all.

What do Tokyo residents do in graveyards? Do they visit only to take pictures? Do they eat and drink there? Are graveyards scary places or peaceful places?
posted by dirty lies at 11:48 PM on October 30, 2008

What do Tokyo residents do in graveyards? Do they visit only to take pictures? Do they eat and drink there? Are graveyards scary places or peaceful places?

During the cherry-blossom season, there's lots of drunken revelry in the graveyards in Tokyo mainly because that's where there's room to have outdoor parties. Otherwise they're pretty quiet places for family to visit with/worship their ancestors.
posted by gen at 3:15 AM on October 31, 2008

Once a year to see the cherry sad.
posted by RussHy at 6:55 AM on October 31, 2008

Beautiful. Thanks.

posted by nax at 7:03 AM on October 31, 2008

Just for all the nerds and the morbid in the group, the reason that the crypt smells like the catacombs in Paris is because cremation does not actually produce "ashes" particularly in older, traditional cremation using wood or coal fires. Calcium, calcium phosphate, and other minerals are very difficult to burn and have a high melting point therefore what remains after cremation is bone fragments which must be crushed down (cremulated). These fragments are essentially the same as the whole bones mouldering in Paris.

OK, nerd moment done. What a tragic tale. I'm glad that the forgotten souls at least have a monument that people seem to actually care about even if no one cared about these women while they lived.
posted by Pollomacho at 7:38 AM on October 31, 2008

The memorial to Nagai Kafu he mentions in passing is actually very moving too.
Young people of this world
Do not ask me about this world's
Art or arts of any times to come.
Am I not a child of Meiji?
When those ways became history, were buried,
The dreams of my youth vanished too
The last of Edo's ways are become smoke.
Meiji culture, too, is become ash.
Young people of this world
Do not speak to me of this world's
Art or arts of any times that may come.
I could clean my clouded glasses
But what could I then see?
Am I not a child of Meiji?
Am I not a child of long-ago and long-gone Meiji?
(The middle part consists mostly of clever allusions to Meiji-era artists that doesn't translate well into English.)
posted by No-sword at 7:41 AM on October 31, 2008 [1 favorite]

Beautiful and haunting. Thanks for the post!
posted by grapefruitmoon at 8:22 AM on October 31, 2008

Mortality. I am left wondering if this life is a cruel joke, or a wonderful gift. Or both; the cruelty made exquisite by the wonder and beauty of this short life.
posted by Xoebe at 9:05 AM on October 31, 2008

Humbling. Good post.
posted by terpia at 1:50 PM on October 31, 2008

« Older 2008 AD: Horace Rumpole makes an FPP   |   What's that in dog sock-puppet years? Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments