Takayama Hikokuro (高山彦九郎)
Hikokuro TAKAYAMA (June 15, 1747 - August 4, 1793) was a thinker who had fostered a theory of reverence for the Emperor at the end of Edo period. His father was Masanori TAKAYAMA and his mother was Shige. His elder brother was Masaharu TAKAYAMA. His first wife was Shimo and his second was Saki. His children included a son named Gisuke and some daughters. He was one of the 'Three bizarre characters of Kansei' including Shihei HAYASHI and Kunpei GAMO. His name was Masayuki.
Hikokuro was born as the second son of country samurai Yoshizaemon TAKAYAMA in Hosoya Village, Nitta District, Kozuke Province (now now Ota City, Gunma Prefecture).
His informal name was Masayuki. Shigehae TAKAYAMA was said to be his ancestor. Shigehae was from the Takayama clan, which was derived from the Taira Chichibu clan and he was one of the Sixteen Cavaliers of Nitta. At age 13, he read the 'Taiheiki' (The Record of the Great Peace) which made him revere the Emperor. At age 18 he left a note, left his family and led an itinerant life preaching the theory of reverence for the Emperor. He provided various people with companionship, such as Ryotaku MAENO, Gentaku OTSUKI, Yukoku FUJITA, Yozan UESUGI, Tanso HIROSE and Masasada KAMACHI. He made an attempt to visit Ezo (Hokkaido), but he was not successful. He stayed at Tomokazu IWAKURA's residence in Kyoto and had an audience with Emperor Kokaku to present a turtle, which signifies auspicious circumstances. He wrote a poem about the joy he felt when he met the Emperor. His poem became famous and was selected for the Aikoku Hyakunin Isshu.
It was a great honor to be summoned by the Emperor, who governs this whole country.
Hikokuro encountered the incident Songo Ikken and was treated well by the court noble Naruchika NAKAYAMA; however, this caused the roju (member of shogun's council of elders), Sadanobu MATSUDAIRA, and the bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun), to grow wary of Hikokuro. After he traveled around Kyushu in 1791, he wanted to be taken into the care of Satsuma Domain but he was rejected. He was later taken up in Hita, Bungo Province for a while. After this he fell under the scrutiny of the bakufu. In 1793, he committed suicide at the residence of his friend, Kazen MORI, in Kurume, Chikugo Province. He was 46 years old.
He had written dairies for many years and those a great effect on loyal supporters of the Emperor, such as Shoin YOSHIDA. Along with Sontoku NINOMIYA and Masashige KUSUNOKI, he was lauded as a model for moral training in prewar education.
The bronze statue, bowing the knee to the Imperial Palace (mistakenly called Dogeza), is in the east end of Sanjo Ohashi Bridge (Sanjo Keihan), Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture. The first statue was built in 1928, having the Lotus Sutra and the pillar which had enshrined his spirit in Ise-jingu Shrine. Heihachiro TOGO wrote on the statue's pedestal. However, the bronze statue was surrendered according to the Metal Recovery Act of 1944. The current statue was rebuilt in 1961. The second statue was moved somewhat to the west and the 'Monument of the statue of Hikokuro TAKAYAMA' was built on it's place.
His tomb is in the Henjo-in Temple on Mt. Komyo, Teramachi, Kurume City, which is 400 meters away from where he committed suicide.
Takayama-jinja Shrine was dedicated to Hikokuro in Ota City, Gunma Prefecture.