Overviews and descriptions of the exhibition
Terms of the exhibition: September 12, 2019 – December 24
Overviews of the exhibition
During the Age of Civil Wars in Japan (from the end of 15th century to the end of 16th century), samurais devised stratagems and fought at the risk of their lives to expand their powers. Even though, among them, there were some samurais who composed waka (a 31‐syllable Japanese poem) or got familiar with the classics.
In the successive generations of the KIKKAWA clan, there were some memorable persons. One of them, Tsunemoto KIKKAWA, the 11th head of the clan, was the most remarkable person. Tsunemoto was active in the series of battles in Onin War (1467-1477) under Katumoto HOSOKAWA. On the other hand, he transcribed “Kokin Wakashu” (total 20 volumes of 1,111 waka collection compiled in the Heian period) and “Shika Wakashu” (total 10 volumes of 415 waka collection compiled in 1151), and also left his own waka.
Motoharu KIKKAWA who was the 15th family head transcribed 40 volumes of “Taiheiki” (Japanese historical epic, said to have been written by Kojima Houshi in the 1370s) from 1563 at the war front of attacking the AMAKO clan of San-in domain. This transcription of “Taiheiki” written with fluent brushwork has been designated as an important cultural property of Japan. Taiheiki is the military story in the Nanbokucho period (Northern and Southern Courts in Japan, 1336-1392), and it was favorite with Takamoto MOHRI who was the elder brother of Motoharu and his senior statesmen as well. Motoharu seemed to be influenced by them. After Motoharu, his descendants cultivated education, held renga-kai (a linked waka party), and got familiar with chano-yu (a tea party).
This time, under the title of “Accomplishments of Samurai Family”, forty articles including waka and books from the collected items are exhibited.
INTRODUCTION TO THE EXHIBITION OF TSUNEMASA KIKKAWA
The Family Precepts of the Kikkawas
From Hiroie (1561 – 1625) to Tsunemasa (1829 – 1867)
“The situations of the world are changing rapidly and become hurry. I sometimes feel miserable because I can’t stop them or even escape from them. However, I will keep the feudal estate as the family treasure, and will hand the family precept down to revere the exploits of my forefather, Hiroie.”
During the tumultuous period in the last days of the Tokugawa shogunate , in the two times Choshu conquest battles, Tsunemasa fought together with the Choshu domain’s troops and repulsed the army of the Edo shogunate at Geshu-guchi. That was his remarkable contribution in the war. In that situation, Tsunemasa read the admonitions of his ancestor and titled them as “Worthy Writing”. Then he composed the Chinese poem containing the meaning showed in the beginning. The ancestor indicates Hiroie KIKKAWA. Tsunemasa started to edit the family genealogy, and transcribed letters and precepts by himself. Above all, it is considered that Tsunemasa felt reverence for Hiroie’s belief, who had surmounted the threat of the destruction of the family. This experience became his motivation of his speech and behavior for the continued existence of the Choshu domain.
With Tsunemasa’s exploits, such letters and documents have been carefully handed down to posterity.
This time, under the title of “Exhibition of Tsunemasa KIKKAWA –The Family Precepts”, old documents and precepts that were inscribed by Tsunemasa are introduced. In addition to such documents, about 40 articles including related artifacts to Tsunemasa are exhibited.
INTRODUCTION TO THE EXHIBITS
This time, 36 articles including historical records, arms, etc. related to Hiroie KIKKAWA are exhibited.
Hiroie KIKKAWA was born as the third son of Motoharu KIKKAWA in 1561. Hiroie succeeded as the head of the clan by sudden death of Motonaga who was his elder brother. He supported the MOHRI clan as well as his father and his elder brother.
Although Terumoto MOHRI became the commander in chief of the west army in the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600, Hiroie considered continuation of the MOHRI clan and did not participate in the war as a proof of loyalty to the east army side. As the result, the MOHRI clan existed although its territory was diminished to the two Bocho domains. Then Hiroie moved from Izumo to Iwakuni, improved construction of the castle, formation of the castle town, and a legal system, and built the foundation of Iwakuni in the Edo period.
One of the main exhibited articles in ancient documents is “Hiroie KIKKAWA letter proposal”. The letter was written two days after the Sekigahara battle, and it describes the situation of those days in detail. Another main article in arms is a sward made by Hiromitsu with the name of “Furiwake-gami” meaning parted hair. This sward had been Nobunaga ODA’s dagger once, and the origin of its name is the reminiscence of Yusai HOSOKAWA who was Nobunaga’s vassal.
茶道具として、天正１６年に吉川広家が豊臣秀吉から拝領し、千利休がこの茶入について送った手紙も残る【茶入「大肩衛茶人」】や、戦国時代に吉川広家が黒田如水（官兵衛）より贈られた【茶釜「芦屋釜（如水釜）」】。また、室町時代の陶工・藤四郎の作と伝わる品で、蓋と袋の裏に小堀遠州の山桜を詠んだ和歌が記されている【茶壺「銘 山桜」】、６代藩主吉川経永が大奥に仕えていた高瀬より贈られ、かつて将軍家の収蔵品であった【香炉「染付香炉」唐太宗製】などを展示。さらに、室町時代に流行した闘茶の記録として大変貴重な【典籍「元亨釈書四巻 吉川経基筆写の紙背文書」】を展示します。
INTRODUCTION TO THE EXHIBITS
This time, under the title of “EXHIBITION OF TEA UTENSILS”45 tea-things selected from the collected articles are exhibited.Tea ceremonies were one of the accomplishments of samurai clan, and there are various articles which tell histories of ancestors, and ones that were given names excerpted from waka (a 31‐syllable Japanese poem).We would be much obliged if you feel familiarity with the history of the KIKKAWA Clan and the aesthetic consciousness of the predecessors through the exhibited articles.Besides, dolls displayed at Girls’ Festival that were made by Maruhei-ohki Ningyo Shop in Kyoto (Showa period) are also exhibited.
The major exhibits are as follows:
A tea caddy “Oh-katatsuki Cha-ire (Katatsuki’ is a square-shouldered tea caddy.)”
The tea caddy is the article that had been given by Hideyoshi TOYOYOMI to Hiroie KIKKAWA in 1588. A letter telling about this tea caddy written by Sen no Rikyu who was the most famous tea master in Japan is also exhibited.
A kettle for the tea ceremony “Ashiya-gama”
In the Age of Civil War in Japan (1467 – 1600), this article was given to Hiroie KIKKAWA by Josui (Kanbei) KURODA. Being associated with Kanbei who had the close relationship with Hiroie, the tea kettle was named as “Josui-gama”, and the KIKKAWA Clan has kept it as its treasure.
A tea jar “Inscription: Yama-zakura (wild cherry blossoms)”
This tea jar is said to be made by Tohshiro who was a potter in Muromachi period (1336 – 1573). The name of jar ”Yama-zakura” was derived from waka (a 31‐syllable Japanese poem) composed by Enshu KOBORI to enjoy the beauty of the blossoms, which is written down on the back side of the cover and the pouch.
An incense burner “Incense burner blue and white porcelain” Made in the period of Emperor Taizong of Tang (China)
This article was given as a gift to the 6th feudal lord Tsunenaga from Takase who served in the shogun’s harem. It is the prestigious article that had been one of the collected items of the shogunate family. This history of the incense burner has been become to be known from the autograph of authentication written on the box containing the incense burner.
Writings “Genko-shakusho (one of Japanese history books) four volumes transcribed by Tsunemoto KIKKAWA on the reverse side of the paper”
This writing is very valuable as a historical document describing toh-cha (tea-tasting contest) that became fashionable in Muromachi period.
吉川経幹展 後期 2018/9/22～12/24
INTRODUCTION TO THE EXHIBITION
This year the exhibition of Tsunemasa KIKKAWA is held to commemorate the 150 anniversary of the Meiji Restoration. The exhibition is consisting of two terms.The first term was the period from the birth of him to the First Choshu Expedition in 1864.This time, as the later term, related materials of the period from the Second Conquest of Choshu in 1866 to the Meiji Restoration in 1868 are exhibited.
Tunemasa KIKKAWA succeeded the family and became the feudal lord of the Iwakuni domain at his young age. He lived through political confusion occurred from the end of the Edo period through the Meiji Restoration.At the First Choshu Expedition, Tsunemasa made efforts to avoid the war. After that, when the order of the Second Choshu Conquest was issued, he complied with the Choshu domain’s policy of submission to the Tokugawa bakufu while keeping military preparation, and endeavored to defend the prefectural boundary. Then, in June 1868, Iwakuni had been officially granted as a Daimyo (a feudal lord) rank. However, Tunemasa already passed away in March 1867.
The successor, Tsunetake who was the heir of Tsunemasa, became the prefectural governor of the Iwakuni domain. Two years after, the KIKKAWA family has moved to Tokyo because of the Meiji government’s policy of abolition of feudal domains and establishment of prefectures. Meanwhile, he located a field office in Iwakuni and managed his real estate and other properties through it. During his whole life, he also supported educational work and disaster recovery in his hometown Iwakuni.
Chokichi KIKKAWA, Taketune’s younger brother, joined the Iwkura Mission to visit the United States and Europe when he was 13 years old. The mission was dispatched in 1871. After that he had stayed in the States for study and graduated from Harvard University. After returning to Japan, he entered the diplomatic service and then became a Lord of Parliament. He set up a branch family and supported the KIKKAWA family.
The permanent exhibition: A national treasure “Kitsunegasaki-no-tachi (sword)”
Terms of the exhibition: Oct. 1st Nov. 30, 2018
吉川経幹展 前期 2018/6/30～9/17
INTRODUCTIOON TO THE EXHIBITION
It was the Kikkawa family that substantially governed Iwakuni for a long time. However, the family was officially recognized as the Joshu-kaku (feudal lord rank) in June 1867 at length. This was the result of efforts by Takachika MORI who was a feudal lord of the Choshu domain. Takachika asked cooperation of Tsunemasa KIKKAWA to use good offices to contribute to the national affairs. At the same time Takachika made promise promotion of feudal lords, and it was realized.
Tunemasa was born in 1829 in a samurai residence called Sencho-yakata located in Yokoyama area. He succeeded the family estate in 1844, then initiated to establish a clan school “Yoro-kan” for human resources development. Four years later, the school was opened. After that, he cooperated to the commitment to the national affairs by the Choshu feudal clan, and exerted himself to avoid war at the first Choshu expedition. Two years later, he made efforts to build up defenses at Geishu-kuchi during the second Choshu expedition (Shikyo-no-eki). “Geishu” is an old name of Hiroshima prefecture and “kuchi” means an entrance.