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LastUpDate: February 28, 2013
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Hakata Culture vol.73


Sofukuji Temple―Final Resting Place of the Kuroda Clan


Sofukuji Temple—Final Resting Place of the Kuroda Clan image

NHK has announced it will air “Gunshi Kanbei” (Kanbei, the Strategist), a serial drama depicting Kanbei Kuroda, the founding father of Fukuoka, next year. Kanbei (aka Yoshitaka) was born in Himeji, Harima Province (now Hyogo Prefecture). Later, he became a monk and assumed the name of Josui. Josui and his son Nagamasa were awarded Chikuzen Province (now part of Fukuoka Prefecture) for their role in securing victory at the Battle of Sekigahara, thus commencing the history of the Fukuoka Domain.

The graves of Josui and Nagamasa are located at Sofukuji Temple in Chiyomachi, Hakata Ward. The spacious graveyard at the far end of the temple grounds is the final resting place for many of Hakata's renowned merchants and politicians, but there are several large tombs in the area beyond the Tosuimon Gate―these are the graves of Josui, Nagamasa and four other feudal lords of Fukuoka.

Sofukuji Temple, which was built in 1240 in Dazaifu, was moved to its current location by Nagamasa around 1600 to serve as the family temple. The temple's Sanmon Gate also has deep ties to the Kuroda Clan: it was originally the Honmaru Omote-Gomon Gate, or main gate, of Fukuoka Castle. The Karamon Gate was made from the remains of Najima Castle (in Higashi Ward), the first castle the Kuroda family built before erecting Fukuoka Castle. In addition to these resplendent tombs, the temple grounds are also home to several jizo statues, which are objects of worship for the general public. Local citizens come to pay their respects to the jizo on a daily basis.

The stately graves of these feudal lords are definitely worth a visit. March 20 marks the anniversary of Josui Kuroda's death. Every year the Tokokai, a group of people with ties to the Kuroda family, hold a Buddhist memorial service on this day. Volunteers who apply in advance and the general public may attend the service. If you are interested in the Kuroda Clan, you should pay a visit to Sofukuji Temple.



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黒田家代々の墓がある崇福寺

 来年のNHK大河ドラマは、福岡藩の藩祖・黒田官兵衛孝高(かんべえよしたか)を主人公にした「軍師官兵衛」に決まりました。官兵衛は播磨国(兵庫県)姫路に生まれ、後に出家して如水(じょすい)と名のります。関ヶ原の戦いでは息子・長政とともに功績をあげて筑前国(福岡県)を与えられ、福岡藩の歴史が始まります。

 如水・長政親子の墓があるのが博多区千代町にある崇福寺というお寺です。境内の奥に広がる墓所には博多の豪商や政治家など、多くの著名人が眠っているのですが、さらに奥に進むと藤水門(とうすいもん)で仕切られた広々とした一角に、ひときわ大きな墓がいくつも建っています。如水・長政親子をはじめ歴代藩主6名がここに眠っているのです。

 崇福寺は1240年に太宰府に創建されたお寺ですが、黒田長政が1601年に現在地に移して黒田家の菩提寺としました。黒田家とは大変ゆかりが深く、山門はかつての福岡城の本丸表御門を移築したものです。また唐門は、黒田家が福岡城の前に築いた名島城(東区)の遺構を利用しています。こうした格式の高さの一方で、境内には庶民が信仰するお地蔵様がたくさん並び、地域の人々が毎日参拝に訪れています。

 堂々たる歴代藩主の墓は一見の価値があります。また3月20日は黒田如水の命日にあたります。黒田家ゆかりの人々が集まって活動している藤香会では、毎年この日に法要を行っています。事前の清掃ボランティアや法要には一般も参加できます。黒田家に興味がある人は一度訪れてはいかがでしょうか。