Shisei-byou (Confucius shrine) and Kume-mura

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Confucius and the Shisei-byou

Explanation on Confucius is as follows

Who is Confucius?

Confucius (B.C. 552 – B.C. 479)
From the Chunqiu era in Lu China (China’s current Shandong Province), Confucius was one of the great philosophers and one of the four great sages of the world. He initially had his sights set on being a politician and took a ministerial position in Lu. After failing in ideal state governance, he left his position and began a wandering journey. Upon his return to Lu, he devoted himself to the academics and education of his disciples. His philosophy and teachings were compiled and later formed the foundation of Confucianism, now known as “the Analects.”

Confucius Shrines in China

The Confucius Shrine calls out terms like “seibyou”, “bunbyou”, and “koubyou.” Originally the shrine was Confucius’ former residence, established as a shrine a year after his death on the order of Duke Ai in the State of Lu. The Emperor Wu of Han dynasty established Confucianism as the state religion (B.C. 139 – ). And then Koubyou (Confucius shrine) in Qufu almost completed its construction during Ming and Qing dynasties. It is considered as one of the three prominent palaces in China (along with the Hall of Supreme Harmony and the Gougong Dai Temple). During the Northern and Southern dynasties, there was a major uptick in the building of Confucius shrines. And then during the reign of Tang Tai Zong, there was a decree to build Confucian shrines in major cities, which resulted in the spread of such shrines throughout China.

Confucius Shrines in Japan

Historical records indicate that a Sekiten ritual was conducted in Daigaku-ryo in the year 701. This presumably was the first Confucius shrine in Japan. Confucianism was highly valued in the Edo period and Confucius shrines were built by the Bakufu shogunate and feudal governments as places to learn and study. The Yushima Seido was constructed by the Tokugawa Bakufu shogunate government after relocating the Seido (sacred hall) which was housed in the residence of Hayashi Razan. Confucius shrines were built in Shizutani School (Okayama), Taku Seibyou (Saga), Ashikaga School (Tochigi), and Aizu-han School Nisshin Kan (Fukushima). Sekiten rituals are still observed in these institutes.

The Confucius Shrine in Ryukyu

A Kume Confucius shrine stood near the Izumizaki Bridge of Naha but it was burned down in a battle in WWII. A statue of Confucius is located there now, a gift from Taipei, Taiwan. Kung Te-cheng, who is the 77th generation from Confucius’ direct lineage, attended the unveiling ceremony.


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