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Raccoon Temple and Udon

Last week, I made a visit to Morinji in Tatebayashi wishing to find my root from the 14th century.  I was unsure about the temple, but the temple is famous for a raccoon folk tale and song, and I wanted to see it anyway.  We all learn the raccoon song in kindergarten.  In the ancient time, Tatebayashi had a castle although the structure of castle was quite different from European’s.


The government office here keeps our family records only up to 80 years under the current law.  But I was lucky to see the name of my great grandfather’s father in the record.  The record reflects when the great grandfather took over the household from his father.  The great grandfather was born in 1860, and he took over the household while his father was alive.  That has been a common practice here even today. 


It was cold and drizzling, and the caretaker of the temple was out to lunch.  So I went back outside and had lunch at a restaurant.  The waitress there said their noodles were made from scratch, so I ordered a kakiage udon.  Kakiage is a mix vegetable tempura.  It was so hot and so good.  If you enlarge the attached photo, you can see steam rising from the bowl.


After lunch, I returned to the temple and talked with the caretaker.  Afterwards, the monk appeared with the temple records called kakocho.   He confirmed that I was at a wrong temple, and he said Tatebashi has about fifty temples.  Well, I shall find it.  It is less than forty nine to go.

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Hi Keiko

Hi there Keiko!

How did your search for the right temple go? That's quite a task to undertake but is also something I can see Gina and myself doing when carrying out any form of research. :) I was always under the impression that historically the Japanese Government were not very good about keeping records so doing any kind of research about families would be incredibly difficult and in many cases impossible if someone wanted to do any research older than a couple of hundred years. Do you believe this is true?

 In the UK the records are pretty good so people can often do successful research going back a few centuries. I am not saying it would be easy but the records are in pretty good order and available for those who wish to ut extra work into it.

 As for udon, your description made my mouth water. I love udon but have not eaten it more than twice in the last 22 years. As a teenager I used to work  in Nichidai's canteen in Tokyo serving udon, soba and ramen. Yummmmm!

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Thank you for this comment.  I just noticed this morning. I found out that Japan’s government office keeps only up to eighty years of koseki, family history.  Last month, I collected a little more than that luckily.  The oldest document I have now shows the time my great grandfather (born in 1860) took over the household from his father.  So that’s about 150 year worth of my family history.  But if I spend time and money, I think I can go further, maybe up to 1400 A.D. because the story I heard from my mother and grandfather and based on some published nonfiction and fiction books. For privacy issues, Japan’s government is trying to be increasingly more sensitive in revealing citizens’ records.  So I have a feeling that probably my children and grand children will have much harder time finding own roots later on.