Joe Neejima/新島譲

Joe Neesima is one of the most important educators in Japan and is known as a founder of Doshisha University(同志社大学)in Kyoto.

When he was 22, he left Hakodate secretly for the United States of America. The then government, Tokugawa Shogunate had a national isolation policy and prohibited its citizens going in and out from Japan. But he was interested in the West and risked his life to board an American vessel named "The Berlin" in 1864.

He studied at Amherst College and Andover Theological College. He wondered why Christian countries in the West were so powerful and sought the secret of their power. He came back to Japan ten years later and taught Christianity in Japan.

His Japanese name was Shimeta, but the captain of the ship named him Joe, Joseph Hardy Neesima. Later he applied this English name.

You can find his statue on the way from redbrick warehouses to old pier. If you walk from the statue to Midorinoshima reclaimed land, you can find a monument which was erected to commemorate his departure. The monument is regarded as like a Mecca for students of Doshisha University

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Tag : personage

Cape Tachimachi/立待岬

The other day, I read an essay written by a student from China. He was impressed that he could see the part of Honshu, a main island of Japan, from Cape Tachimachi.

Cape Tachimachi is located at the foot of Mt. Hakodate and juts out into the sea. On fine days, you can see Shimokita and Tsugaru Peninsulas in Honshu.

The name “Tachimachi” is an interpretation of an Ainu word, “Piushi”, which means the place on the rock, waiting for fish with a lance.

In the end of 18th century, a battery was built to keep guard on foreign ships.
During warfare, this cape and Mt. Hakodate were used as military bases and people couldn’t enter the area.

It commands a fine view on sunny days and you can enjoy cool sea breeze in summer.

If you live in Japan and you love TV dramas, there is other way of enjyoing this place. This cape is often used as a location when a 2-hour suspense drama is shot in Hakodate. A view of a vertical cliff seems to match such kind of drama.

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Tag : Scenic place

Hakodate Hachimangu Shinto Shrine/函館八幡宮

Situated at the foot of Mt. Hakodate, this shrine has been loved and worshiped by local people. It enshrines three deities, an ancient emperor of Japan, a patron deity of navigation and a patron deity of shipmen.

Originally this shrine was built at the corner of a box shaped castle built by Masamichi Kono in 1445. Later, the shrine was moved several times and finally moved to today’s site. The main building was completed in 1913 with a style that was developed in Kamakura era (1192-1333).

In its precincts, there is a tall Japanese cypress tree that is more than 150 years old. Besides, there is a pond in which rare toads called Ezo hikigaeru live.

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Tag : Shrine