Yushima Tenjin Shrine, c. 1910.

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Yushima Tenjin Temple, Tokyo, c. 1910.

Yushima Tenjin Temple, Tokyo, c. 1910.

From the wiki: “The Tenjin shrine network enshrines 9th-century scholar Sugawara no Michizane. Sugawara had originally been enshrined to placate his spirit, not to be worshiped. He had been unjustly been exiled in his life, and it was therefore necessary to somehow placate his rage, believed to be the cause of a plague and other disasters.

“Yushima Tenman-gū Shrine is a Shinto shrine in Tokyo, Japan devoted to Tenjin, the Kami of Learning, and which is located not far from Tokyo University. It is a frequent site of prospective students hoping to pass the entrance exams there in April. Prospective high-school students hang messages written on wooden tablets called ema, left in hope that lofty exam scores will gain them admission to the prestigious university.

“Built in 458 for another kami, Ameno-tajikaraono-mikoto of Japanese myth associated with strength and sports, the shrine was then expanded in 1355 to enshrine the kami Tenjin as well. Currently both kami are enshrined at this temple. The shrine was later rebuilt in 1455 at the behest of local warlord Ota Dokan, and enjoyed greater popularity during the Edo Period when it was visited by Confucian scholars.

“Due to Tenjin’s frequent association with plum trees, Yushima Tenmangu maintains an extensive grove of plum trees, and holds a yearly festival called ume matsuri in February or March depending on when the trees bloom.”

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