Short short with English summary$B!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!(B
I visited the Ise Shrine. The Ise Shrine is the family shrine of Emperor of Japan.
The shrine is a nice neat complex of wooden architectures. There are many cathedrals, shrines and temples in the world. All of them try to be as big and tall as possible and to stand eternally. But the Ise Shrine was planned to be rebuilt every 20 years. The first shrine was built approximately 1,500 years ago. So the shrine has gone through total renewals more than 70 times. The 20 years interval between renewals is very short. The shrine has never been a poor shackle. Horyu-ji in Nara, UNESCO World Heritage registered, is also a 1,500 years old wooden temple, world oldest wooden temple without renewals.
To do a total renewal every 20 years is an unnatural tradition. Using timbers from 60/100 years old tree stems mean expensive, wasting natural resources. There must be some reason, rational explanation. For example; the craftsmen and the administration would learn the project through the experiences. They will work for the same project twice or three times in their career. Another example; the project with an interval of 20 years would reminds the believers and communities the importance of the Shrine. The most convincing explanation for me is that the Emperor would be forced to collect money for the renewal. This would give the family a strong motivation to establish taxation system i.e. stronger political power and armed forces.
The renewal system of the Ise Shrine doesn$B!G(Bt mean to take down, clean up and build on the same site. The former shrine shall be kept while the new shrine is under construction. After the completion of the new shrine the former shrine shall be taken away and the clean open site is going to wait for the next renewal 20 years later. Actually this is a brilliant solution. Through the under construction period, you have a full scale model standing side by side. You can control everything; timber order / delivery, sizes and numbers, all the technical solutions for carpenters etc. Practically the project can be done without architect or architectural drawings.
When I imagine that the constructions, the renewals, have repeated for 1,500 years, I wonder how the first construction was done. It may be reasonable that there was an example, a model to trace or to imitate which came from the continent, China / Korea. Or it could be so that there were quite numbers of Ise shrine type buildings in Korea and China.
There must have been a lot of similar architectures in the Chinese continent. If we don$B!G(Bt find any cases, those buildings must have been taken down and utilized piece by piece as building material or as firewood. And finally those buildings were totally disappeared.
We have not only Horyu-ji but also many other old fine old wooden architectures. The Shoso-in in Todai-ji with Emperor$B!G(Bs treasure have been perfectly kept till today. In Japan, the balance between the governing side and the governed side has reached to the critical points many times but left slight marginal space to let some of the inflammable things survive.
Often we learn our history in the national frame and step by step as piled up boxes. But the real history of our world has been very dynamic in the time and space. Many different people came to the islands of Japan, from south, from west and from north. They also made journeys out from Japan to abroad. Actually there are many archeological ruins in Japan left without close study. If we open those ancient tombs, so called Emperor$B!G(Bs, we might find how intensive and friendly contact we have had with the people of Korea and China.