The family temple of the Oguri clan and the grave of Oguri Tadamasa
The Tōzenji (東善寺) temple belongs to the Sōtō Zen school of Buddhism (曹洞宗 Sōtō-shū), the largest of the three traditional sects of Zen in Japanese Buddhism. It is located in Kurabuchi Village, formerly known as Gonda Village, nowadays part of Takasaki City, Gunma Prefecture, and was founded in 1633. Of historic significance as the family temple of the Oguri, bannermen (旗本 hatamoto) of the Tokugawa, it is the final resting place of the magistrate Oguri Tadamasa.
The fief of Gonda was bestowed upon the Oguri family around 1705 and was the second largest village under their tenure, providing a steady income from lumber. Although the contact between bannermen and their fiefs was traditionally not very close, there is evidence of personal ties between the village, the temple and the Oguri family.
In "Meiji Restoration Losers", Michael Wert elaborates on those ties: according to a memorial tablet found at the the Tōzenji, the sixth-generation Oguri Masahige completely renovated the temple, while the eighth-generation Oguri Nabeshirō lived in Gonda with the Makino family, local sake brewers, most likely to reconvalesce in the country. He died in 1744 at the age of only 28. Documents in possession of the temple also revealed that the eldest son of the ninth-generation Oguri completed his training as a monk and might have spent some time at the Tōzenji before passing away at the age of 29.
The Oguri family and the Tōzenji share the same kamon (emblem): the maru-ni tatsunami (丸に立波, "standing waves in a circle"):
The Embassy at the Washington D.C. shipyard: Vice-Ambassador Muragaki Norimasa (left), Ambassador Shinmi Masaoki (middle), and Oguri Tadamasa (right).
Boshin War. Several of Oguri's retainers accompanied Oguri's wife and her family on their flight to Aizuwakamatsu. On April 7, 1868, Mataichi was arrested by imperial troops and executed at Takasaki Castle along with other retainers without ever having learned that his adoptive father had been beheaded just a day earlier.
Aizuwakamatsu, when Oguri's family had fled from the approaching Tōsandō troops. Later, Oguri's wife and Kuniko were taken care of by Minomura Rizaemon, a businessman who made the house of Mitsui the biggest trading house in Japan. Minomura was a close acquaintance of Oguri and a former family servant. When Minomura died in 1877, Ōkuma Shigenobu took them in and helped Kuniko find a husband, Yano Sadao.
The visit to the graveyard on the hill adjacent to the temple is free, the admission to the small Oguri museum and its annex is JPY 100.