Ichijo Modori Bridge is a small crossing over the narrow Horikawa River that is said to be a connection point between the world of the living and the world of the dead. A bridge was first erected here in the 8th century (the current bridge was constructed in 1996) and it is a location that carries a history of bloodshed that has accumulated over the centuries. In the early 10th century, a well-known scholar’s funeral cortege was passing over the bridge when the scholar’s son (by the name of Jozo) arrived, he had been too late for the funeral. The distraught son prayed that he could speak with his father one last time. Miraculously, his prayers were answered, and the old scholar returned to life long enough for the father and son to say their last goodbyes. And from this story the bridge earned its name as The Bridge of Revival/Returning (modoru in Japanese means to return, to go back). Apparently during the second world war Japanese soldiers would visit the bridge before going off to fight, praying for a return to life should they be killed on the battlefield.
Pictured below - Ichijo Modori Bridge.
In the 15th and 16th centuries Ichijo Modori Bridge was used as an execution site during the feudal civil wars.
On January 3, 1597, 26 Catholic Christians, arrested at the order of the ruling warlord Toyotomi Hideyoshi, were brought here and in an act of gruesome oppression towards the Christian faith they had their ears cut off. They were then put on to cow carriages and paraded around the city before being forced to Nagasaki where a month later they were raised up on crucifixes and executed by being pierced with spears.
It was also at this location where the severed head of the famed tea master Sen no Rikyu was put on display after he committed ritual suicide in 1591. Sen no Rikyu had been a close associate of Toyotomi Hideyoshi but due to some differences Hideyoshi ordered the tea master to kill himself (Hideyoshi it is said later regretted this action that was brought about by his at times uncontrollable temper).
Although the history of the executions, torture of Christians, and the displaying of Sen no Rikyu’s severed head are not paranormal tales in themselves, could it be mere coincidence that such gruesome acts are drawn to this location or is it as reputed that the site is a gateway to the spirit world attracting such acts of violence and bloodletting?
The Japanese esoteric cosmologist, Abe-no-Seimei, who lived from 921-1005 is said to have hidden his Shakigami (a familiar or magical ghost) under the bridge. The legend since then is that there is magical power left over from Abe-no-Seimei around the bridge. In countless legendary stories of Abe-no-Seimei his powers were often used against the forces of evil, fighting demons, warding off curses, and to this extent he may well have left the source of his magic under the bridge to bring about some balance.
There are many other stories connected to this location and teh bridge of which we will hear more of in later blog posts.
For more tales of the historical paranormal pick-up a copy of PARANORMAL KANSAI - Mysteries & Unexplained Staories of West Japan in digial and paperback formats from all regins of AMAZON. https://www.amazon.co.jp/-/en/Phillip-Jackson/dp/B08VCQPBM4/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=PARANORMAL+KANSAI&qid=1634039818&sr=8-1