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yotsuya: ghosts and salary men in tokyo
Yotsuya: Ghosts and Salary Men in Tokyo
posted by John Spacey, Japan Talk, June 19, 2012
Yotsuya was one of the earliest Tokyo neighborhoods to grow a large population thanks to its location at one of the western gates of Edo Castle.
Today it's an upscale residential and business district known for its ghosts, graves and salary men.
Ghost Story of Yotsuya (Yotsuya Kaidan, 四谷怪談)Yotsuya is the location of a Japanese ghost story: Yotsuya Kaidan. It's perhaps the most famous Japanese ghost story. Yotsuya Kaidan began as a Kabuki play but has been adapted to countless artworks, books, anime, manga, short stories, TV shows and movies.
The story is long and elaborate and has countless variations. It's about a woman Oiwa whose husband Lemon marries another woman (from a high family) to get ahead in life. Oiwa dies in an accident shortly after learning she had been deceived. The story is centered around Oiwa's ghostly revenge on her husband.
As with many Kabuki plays, the Ghost Story of Yotsuya is loosely based on historical events. Myogyoji Temple in Sugamo (near Yotsuya) is supposedly home to Oiwa's grave. There have been countless productions of the Kabuki play over the years. It's a tradition for the actors and crew to visit the grave to ask permission for the performance before opening day. It's said that terrible things beset any production of Yotsuya Kaidan that doesn't pay proper respects to Oiwa.
Ninja GraveHattori Hanzo (1542 ~1596) a monk, ninja and samurai is buried in Sainen-ji temple cemetery in Yotsuya. The temple also has a 14 foot spear that belonged to him.
Hattori Hanzo played an important role in helping Tokugawa Ieyasu (a Shogun) unify Japan. He makes frequent appearances in modern pop culture.
Salary Man PlaygroundYotsuya is a business district that's filled with izakaya and odd bits of nightlife. It's a salary man playground.
Residential AreaYotsuya is considered an excellent residential district. Land in the area is expensive. The Imperial Palace is just next door (the Imperial Palace is considered the center of Tokyo).
Yotsuya has plenty of green space.
It's a good spot for spring hanami. Sakura are found along the moat of the Imperial Palace in Yotsuya.
Sophia University (上智大学 Jōchi Daigaku)Yotsuya is home to Sophia University — well known for it's international atmosphere and excellent liberal arts programs.
It's a medium sized private university that's amongst the most difficult in Japan to get into.
LocationYotsuya is sandwiched between Shinjuku (Tokyo's biggest neighborhood) and the Imperial Palace.
Yotsuya is ranked #2 of 19 best Tokyo neighborhoods for kids
Yotsuya is ranked #7 of 8 best Salary Man neighborhoods in Tokyo
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