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Hofuku-ji

Hofuku-ji Review

The first American consul to Japan was New York businessman Townsend Harris. Soon after his arrival in Shimoda, Harris asked the Japanese authorities to provide him with a female servant; they sent him a young girl named Okichi Saito, who was engaged to be married. The arrangement brought her a new name, Tojin (the Foreigner's) Okichi, much disgrace, and a tragic end. When Harris sent her away, she tried, but failed, to rejoin her former lover. The shame brought upon her for working and living with a Westerner and the pain of losing the love of her life drove Okichi to drown herself in 1892. Her tale is recounted in Rei Kimura's biographical novel Butterfly in the Wind and inspired Puccini's Madame Butterfly, although some skeptics say the story is more gossip than fact. Hofuku-ji was Okichi's family temple. The museum annex displays a life-size image of her, and just behind the temple is her grave—where incense is still kept burning in her memory. The grave of her lover, Tsurumatsu, is at Toden-ji, a temple about midway between Hofuku-ji and Shimoda Station.

    Contact Information

  • Address: 18–26–1 Shimoda, Shimoda, Shizuoka-ken, 415-0021
  • Phone: 0558/22–0960
  • Cost: ¥300
  • Hours: Daily 8–5
  • Location: Izu Peninsula
Updated: 08-19-2013

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