in the streets of old Edo,
what blood and meat was spilled then…
…when swords equalized and ended
the lives of whole nations of men.
The blood must be traveling still…
…past the corpse-rich soils of Tokyo
and ever downward towards
the Earth’s own living, glowing bones.
This jizō guards over Kozukappara, one of the most historically filthy and notorious execution grounds from Tokyo’s Edo Period (although it ceased operations at the beginning of the Meiji Restoration). The statue caught my eye as I was leaving Minami-senju Station one hot September day on my way to photograph the living, although it can be convincingly argued that they don’t live well.
I didn’t linger here long, and at the time I didn’t know the significance of where I was. To me it was just an impressive statue in a Japanese graveyard. And normally I feel peaceful and calm in Japanese graveyards, but those feelings eluded me here. Perhaps it was the hot and oppressively muggy weather in Tokyo at the time. But very rarely when I am standing in a place and judging it do I feel like the place is judging me back. I had that feeling here, and even the presence of the jizō didn’t make me feel welcome.
(Pictures taken near Minami-senju Station, Tokyo in September, 2013)