A very famous 1000 year old ginkgo tree at the Tsurugaoka Hachiman shrine in Kamakura fell in a recent storm. There is a very interesting story about this very old tree. The tree is famous because of an event that took place in the year 1219. In 1219, Shogun Minamoto no Sanetomo was assassinated by Minamoto Kugyô. From the stories I’ve read, apparently Kugyô hid behind this very ginkgo tree in order to assassinate Sanetomo which he succeeded in doing. Kugyo was captured and beheaded the next day. Sanetomo was the 3rd Minamoto shogun during the Kamakura bakufu and it was following his assassination that the Minamoto never again had effective power. From that point forward, the true power behind the Kamakura shoguns was held by the regents of the great Hojo clan.
I don't know if Minamoto Kugyô really did hide behind this great gingko tree but it is an amazing story from one of the great events in Japanese history so it is sad to see this tree finally meet its end here in the year 2010.
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