☆Yamabe-no Akahito’s poem:
Mama-no Tekona ga
I saw it for sure,
I’d tell people on it too –
‘Tis the grave of Tekona,
Folklore maiden of Mama!
There is a folklore legend about Maiden Tekona – it’s a story handed down as an oral tradition even from before the time of Man-Yoh-Shuh.
There was a maiden in Mama (Village) who was beautiful and was diligent in her work for her family and neighborhood, especially the chore of drawing water from a nearby well, and carrying it home and for the village people.
Many men were infatuated by her kind character as well as her beauty, and tried to court her for marriage. Tekona was at a loss what to do about those proposals and was embarrassed at the thought of having to disappoint one man if she chooses another man, and Tekona’s kind heart could not decide to clear such an unbearable situation, and finally, she decided to throw herself in the sea of Mama Inlet.
Various poets heard about this sad incident and visited her grave and dedicated poems.This piece of poem by the famous poet, Yamabe-no Akahito is one, and several more will appear later.
Toward the end of Daimon Dori Street in Ichikawa City, a 15-minute stroll from Ichikawa Station (JR) , there is Tekona Reijindo (Shrine, literally?) on your right and a small lane leads you to the main hall enshrining Tekona’s soul. Although the name of place “Reijindo” gives an impression that it is a Shinto shrine, with Torii, the front gate straddling the lane, but the guidance sentence put up there reminds you that this hall is a part of the bigger temple, Guhohji, situated nearby, and thus a Buddhist temple hall, and the worshipping procedure shall be the Buddhist one, rather than Shinto one.
The grave of Tekona cited in this poem of Akahito may well form the origin of this Hall.
The Main Temple, Guhohji, is situated at the top of a stone stairway going up from the end of Daimon Dori. Up there you will be welcomed (provided you a good person!) by Daimon (Great Gate) with one each Nioh (Guardian God looking like a hulk of an angry man!) on either side of the Gate.
And you may also enjoy strolling in the Temple Grounds, large and tranquil, full of greenery.
Guiding board at the gate of Tekona Shrine, Mama, Ichikawa City, by HM October 2019. The guide board includes a copy of an Ukiyo-e drawn during Edo Era (during 17-18 centuries, much later than Tekona story) about Tekona Shrine, which dates back to 3. To 5. Century?
The front lane leading to Tekona Shrine, by HM June, 2020.