TYPE: Personal Notebook
DIMENSIONS: 5 1/2 X 8 inches (closed)
COMPONENTS: 47 fine color sketches and studies.
CONDITION: Original covers, contents complete, generally good shape for the age.
NOTES: Previously unseen and very rare.
LANGUAGE
Language: Japanese
ITEM ID: 736
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Sketches of Imperial Tombs and Burial Grounds

DATE
Year: 1888
Decade: 1880s
Century: 19th (1801-1900)
Notes: Meiji

Original album of sketches and studies of Imperial Tombs and Burial Grounds.

These tombs include the first Emperor Jinmu (神武天皇, Jinmu-tennō), who was the legendary first emperor of Japan according to the Nihon Shoki and Kojiki. His ascension is traditionally dated as 660 BC. In Japanese mythology, he was a descendant of the sun goddess Amaterasu, through her grandson Ninigi, as well as a descendant of the storm god Susanoo. In modern Japan, Jinmu’s legendary accession is marked as National Foundation Day on February 11. Amidst nationalist sentiments during the 1930s and 1940s in Imperial Japan, it was dangerous to question the existence of Jinmu.

Historians have stressed that there is no evidence for the existence of Jimmu with most scholars agreeing that he is a legendary figure. However, stories of him may reflect actual events.

The exact spot of Emperor Jinmu’s accession to the imperial throne (i.e. the foundation of Japan) was debated for centuries until in 1863 scholars of national studies claimed to have identified an area within Kashihara as the exact location.

Scholar Sven Saaler commented that, “Since Jinmu is a mythological figure, no grave of his exists. But in the Meiji era, the government decided that he is a real historical figure and in 1880 designated that this site near Mt Unebi is where his grave is. Later they built Kashiwara Shrine as a shrine to worship Jinmu.”