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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

THE SEARCH IN AKITA PREFECTURE

As pictures can more enjoyably replace words, let me insert a few photos reporting on the pleasures and frustrations of roots searching. The first photo shows Hiromi and Pearl next to the Shinkansen that took us to Akita.

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The second, above, is Hiromi exhibiting how to eat Inaniwa Udon, a local specialty.

Yuya Hatanaka, reporter for the Akita Sakigake Shimpo (the local newespaper) joined us at the Daisen City Office to interview us about the Search for Kenjiro's Grandmothers. He was sufficiently intrigued that he then drove us to the oldest temple in the area, where we thought Fuka Nakayama's koseki was located. Well, we learned two important things. Buddhist temples only keep a record of when important people die, and nothing else. Worse, this first temple did not have any information, so the priest kindly called various other temples and found one for our next visit, the nearby Ganryuji.

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Chief Priest Ryo Sen Hino, me and next priest Kenichi Hino at the Ganryuji are shown below. Their family has governed this Buddhist temple for 415 years. The current one is #18 and Kenichi will be #19. They said that floods have wiped out some of their records, but they did find information about the Nakayama family.



On the grounds of this temple is the headstone of the Fuka Nakayama family, we think.



Yuya then dropped us off at the Akita City Folklore Center to seek any tales of female samurai. We found nothing, but then tromped off to the Satake Samurai Museum, where the staff looked through their books and could not locate a female samurai named Takahashi or Nakayama.

So, what did we learn?
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1. Shinto shrines have no records.
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2. Buddhist temples 0nly keep records of when people die.
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3. City offices only retain records for 80 years. Kenjiro's grandmothers were born almost 200 years ago.

Thus, as they lived so long ago, we are left with potential folk tales and people who might know something. Newspaper reporters from Hokkaido (Sakurai, see blog of yesterday) and Akita (Hatanaka) interviewed us, so it is possible that someone who has a clue might yet read these articles and communicate. There is, thus, hope.

I have concluded that both of Kenjiro's grandmothers never made it to Sapporo, but lived in Akita and/or nearby Senboku/Daisen Cities, or Kariwano. There is also a tale of Tatsuko, the Dragon Princess of Lake Tazawa, a short distance from Akita. That could be a future search target. We are gaining the counsel of Professors Ikuko Iwasaki and Hideharu Takahashi, both of Akita Prefectural University. Pictured below is a photo of the group having an aloha dinner at a traditional, but modern, Japanese restaurant, called I Enjoy.


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The Dow Jones Industrials recovered 128 to 7970. World markets were mixed: down in the Orient and up in Europe. Oil remains below $50/barrel and gold dropped a buck to $884/toz.
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