February 27, 2020 (JST)
Prof. Kanō's Villa in Abiko
By Roberto Pedreira
Jigoro Kano (Kanō
was an active man. When he needed a rest, he went to his second home, or villa (bessō,
別荘) in Abiko (我孫子),
in Chiba-ken. At
the time, it was a "country estate." He built it in 1911, complete
with a farm, or plantation (野園). Kanō's villa is gone now, but Abiko
hasn't forgotten him.
Abiko was a village
（町) when Kano had his villa there. It's a city (市) now, but still
in the middle of nowhere, despite being 30 minutes by Joban Line from
Ueno Station in Tokyo. There isn't a lot to do in Abiko which is probably why
liked it. There is a miniscule cultural center. There are some small bars and
convenience stores and fields and splendid views of the national
topographic treasure, Mt. Fuji (富士山). Abiko was popular among
writers. With few or no distractions, it was, apparently, a good
place to write. In 2010 the Abiko City Physical
Education Committee (我孫子市教育委員会)
put up some plaques to memorialize one of their most illustrious former
residents. Below are six recent
views of Abiko City.
1. View of Mt. Fuji (富士山). Abiko
was then a village (町) rather than a city.(市). As seen from 天元神山.
2. 達必力 (left); i鏡為入以 (right). The writing
is in the Chinese kanbun (漢文) style, read right to left. The
Japanese kunyomi pronunciation would be
つとむれば必ず達す(left); and 人以て鏡と為す (right).
The approximate meanings are "accomplishment through effort" (left),
and "learning from the example of others" (right).
3. The main attraction is the driveway
leading to the plaque. Prof. Kanō's house is gone.
4. Plaques were put up by the Abiko City Physical Education
Committee in March 2010..
5. Shady trees, possibly remnants of
Prof. Kanō's botanical park (野園).
6. Lake Teganuma, shallow but home to carp and eels.
Thanks to 服部勝
for sharing these pictures
and some background details from his day-trip to Abiko in 2015, and to 近藤洋子
for clarifying the meaning of the kanbun
in picture 2. (近藤洋子
is the esteemed translator of many of GTR's interviews with various Japanese and
Brazilian heroes including Sakuraba Kazushi and Helio
Gracie; see Interviews for more).
(c) 2020, Roberto Pedreira. All rights reserved.
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Gracies Pt. 2
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Judo Challenge 2 July 27, 1988
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