Minami-Senju Station

 

Minami-Senju Station is a railway station located in the Arakawa Ward of Tokyo. It is served by the Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line (with two elevated side platforms), the JR East Joban Line (with an elevated island platform), and the Metropolitan Intercity Railway Tsukuba Express (with two underground side platforms).

 

The Minami-Senju area is located in the southeastern part of Tokyo's northern ward of Arakawa. It is one of the poorer sections of the city with mainly laborers living in the area. The reason for the impoverished residents in the area goes back to the Edo period (the history of the area goes back to the fourteenth century) the Edo rulers believed that the evil forces came from the northeast. Minami-Senju being located in the northeast of Edo, came within the region, and as a result only poor laborers lived there. Although it still remains predominantly poor, the area has seen some major developments in the recent years.

 

Kozukappara Execution Grounds

 

Minami-Senju is mainly known for its Kozukappara (sometimes written as Kotsukappara) Execution Grounds. Located just 3 minutes from Minami-Senju Station, the grounds were one of the three sites of Edo, where the Shogunate (1650-1873) executed criminals. It is believed that more than 200,000 people have been executed at Kozukappara. In the 1700s medical students and doctors also studied anatomy here by dissecting the executed bodies. Executions were stopped during the Meiji period to convince Western powers for equal treaties with Japan. Today, a large part of the grounds, which were once the size of a football field, are covered by railway tracks.

 

Located next to the grounds is Enmeiji Temple . Its history also goes as far back as that of the Execution Grounds. The temple grounds were used to bury the bodies of those executed . sometimes just barely covering them with sand so birds and animals could pick on the remains. A Buddha statue, called the Kubikiri Jizo or the Neck chop Jizo , stands in the temple compound. This 3.6 meter high statue was erected in 1741 to offer solace to the executed ones.

 

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