I learned that this was a Korean shrine but nobody could explain the history behind it.
Yes, ok, it is a Korean shrine but what is a Korean shrine doing in Japan? Is there a large Korean community nearby?
To find the answer I had to do a simple Google search and found the answer – not in Wikipedia since there doesn’t seem to be an entry – on the Japan visitor website which had this nice summary.
Countries with such ancient histories continually fascinate me. I’m also astounded that most local people don’t know, or even bother to look up, the history. I have an insatiable desire to want to know the origins, the reason for, and the history behind the places I visit. By visiting this place I learned there was a large, ancient kingdom in Korea called Goguryeo that was completely destroyed. Refugees from this calamity settled in Saitama and built the temple I was visiting. Learning this made me want to know more about Goguryeo.
To imagine entire an entire kingdom overrun and destroyed is something I don’t think most American people could fathom today. We sit comfortably in a very strong empire and our concerns lie in what T.V. show to watch, or which coffee to order – not in the fear of being conquered and slaughtered by the neighboring country. We consider our jets flying over other countries to be normal and status-quo. An American could not comprehend a Chinese fighter jet flying over our airspace – friendly or not.
I find learning about history and the reasons behind the way things are now to be absolutely fascinating. I only wish a conversation about history would be more frequent in our society than which sports team got the ball over the line the most.