It’s not every day that one is walking down the street and finds a playground that once used to be an execution ground for Christians.
The text on the sign reads as:
Former Kirishitan execution site and burial ground for people who had no living relatives
In 1661, during the era of the Edo Shogunate’s “Prohibition of Kirishitan (Christianity) Policy”, the second-generation lord of the Owari feudal Clan, Mitsutomo Tokugawa began to carry out mass arrests of Kirishitan (Christians) and in 1664 executed over 200 arrestees at the Senbonmatsubara execution ground, formerly located here.
However, just one year later, Mitsutomo Tokugawa moved the execution ground to Kawarakeno and erected the Seiryo Hermitage (existing Eikoku Temple) in its place, to pray to Buddha for the repose of the souls of those executed.
Additionally,more than 1,400 people who died leaving no living relatives behind were buried here during the period 1860-1871.
On the left side of the photo you can catch a glimpse of a small cemetery.
Further on down the road is a park and playground, that used to be a testing ground for swords… on criminals.
The sign reads:
Site of Anatomy on “Otameshi-ba” (Execution Ground)
In the winter of 1821, the first dissection of a human body in the history of Nagoya was carried out by a physician, Ishiguro Seian. The place was an execution ground where brand new swords were tried out in beheading the sentenced.
Tameshigiri is a practice popularized in the Edo period, the 250 year-long period of peace that followed the Warring States Period (sengoku jidai). During the Edo period warriors had to come up with alternative ways to test their skills as the glory of the battlefield was no longer attainable. Tameshigiri was one such trial. Later, many Imperial Japanese Army officers got in trouble for doing tameshigiri in Manchuria and Occupied Korea.