Kumano Nyakuoji Shrine is one of three Kumano shrines in Kyoto as well as Imakumano Jinja and Kumano Jinja and is located in the South end of Path of Philosophy. It is known as one of the three “Kumano” of Kyoto. It became a guardian shrine in “Nyakuoji” area. It was established by ex-emperor Go-Shirakawa in 1160 as a guardian shrine for Nyakuoji Temple. The Muromachi shogunate and warrior families of that time patronised this shrine, which was renowned for its beautiful cherry blossoms. Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa held a great cherry blossom party here in March 1465.
The autumn tint of “Nyakuoji Mountain” in the shrine back is beautiful.
The grave of “Jo Nijima” who is the founder of “Doshisha university” is in the top of a mountain of “Nyakuoji Mountain”.
Ashikaga Yoshimasa (足利 義政, January 20, 1435 – January 27, 1490) was the 8th shogun of the Ashikaga shogunate who reigned from 1449 to 1473 during the Muromachi period of Japan. Yoshimasa was the son of the sixth shogun Ashikaga Yoshinori.
A Kumano shrine (熊野神社) is a type of Shinto shrine which enshrines the three Kumano Mountains: Hongū, Shingū, and Nachi (Kumano Gongen (熊野権現)). There are more than 3000 Kumano shrines in Japan, and each has received its kami from another Kumano shrine through a process of propagation called bunrei (分霊) or kanjō (勧請). The point of origin of the Kumano cult is the Kumano Sanzan shrine complex, which includes Kumano Hayatama Taisha (熊野速玉大社) (Wakayama Prefecture, Shingu), Kumano Hongu Taisha (Wakayama Prefecture, Tanabe), and Kumano Nachi Taisha (Wakayama Prefecture, Nachikatsuura)
Joseph Hardy Neesima (新島 襄 Niijima Jō, 12 February 1843 – 23 January 1890) was a Japanese educator of the Meiji era, the founder of Doshisha University and Doshisha Women’s College of Liberal Arts.
Neesima was born in Edo (present-day Tokyo), the son of a retainer of the Itakura clan of Annaka. His childhood name was Niijima Shimeta (新島七五三太).
In 1864, laws on national isolation were still in effect in Japan, and Japanese people were not permitted to travel overseas without government permission. However, Neesima had read extensively on various rangaku topics, and was determined to come to America. At the age of 21, he entreated Captain William T. Savory, of Salem, Massachusetts, commander of the brig Berlin, for safe passage to the United States, in order to further study Western science and Christianity. Captain Savory agreed to help him, so long as Neesima came on board at night, without assistance from the ship’s crew. Knowing Neesima could be executed if apprehended, Savory hid Neesima from customs officials in his stateroom. He then secured Neesima’s passage from China to the United States on the Wild Rover, commanded by Captain Horace Taylor of Chatham, Massachusetts. The Wild Rover was owned by Alpheus Hardy.
When he arrived in Andover, Massachusetts, he was sponsored by Alpheus and Susan Hardy, members of Old South Church, who also saw to his education. He attended Phillips Academy from 1865 to 1867 and then Amherst College from 1867 to 1870. Upon graduating from Amherst, Neesima became the first Japanese person to receive a degree from a western college.
In the meantime, in 1866, he was baptized and from 1870 to 1874 he studied at the Andover Theological Seminary. In 1874, he became the first Japanese to be ordained as a Protestant minister.
When the Iwakura Mission visited the United States on its around-the-world expedition, he assisted as an interpreter.
Neesima attended the 65th annual meeting of the Congregational church in Rutland, Vermont in 1874, and made an appeal for funds to start a Christian school in Japan. With the support and funding received, he returned to Japan, and in 1875 founded a school in Kyoto, which grew rapidly and became Doshisha University. He was assisted by his wife Neesima Yae and brother-in-law Yamamoto Kakuma, who were also active with the local Christian community in Kyoto.
In 1889, Amherst College honored him with an honorary doctorate, the first ever awarded to a Japanese person. He died in Oiso, Kanagawa Prefecture, and was buried in Kyoto.
In 1907, he was honored as one of six great educators of the Meiji period, before the assembly of educators of the entire nation held by the Imperial education conference, the education conference of Tokyo prefecture and the Tokyo City board of education.
He was honored on a Japanese postage stamp in 1950.
In his honour, Niijima Gakuen Junior College (新島学園短期大学 Niijima gakuen tanki daigaku) was founded. It is a private junior college in Takasaki, Gunma, Japan. Similarly, there is Niijima Gakuen Senior College, which has close links to Doshisha University.