Samurai school sold to Tokyo buyer

The operator of a funeral home group has sold a samurai-style school and tourism facility in Fukushima to an individual in Tokyo.

The Nisshinkan was the Aizu clan school and produced the 305 Byakkotai samurai that fought in the Boshin War from 1868 to 1869. The school’s planning began in 1798 under the advice of the chief retainer of the Aizu domain. The first school building was completed in 1803 on the western side of Aizu Wakamatsu Castle.

It was considered the leading school in Japan, complete with a large swimming pool and an astronomical observatory. Students were limited to sons of Aizu feudal retainers. The children were obligated to attend the school from the age of 10, studying literature, etiquette, and martial arts until the age of 15. 

The first school buildings were destroyed by fire in the Boshin War in 1868. Only the trace of the former astronomical observatory remains.

Based on surviving blueprints, a replica of the school was rebuilt in 1987 at a new location about 8 kilometers north. The total construction cost was around 3.4 billion Yen. The building was designed for tourism purposes, with a museum, dojo hall, training, and accommodation facilities. It was even used as a filming location for several period dramas. 

In early 2020, the seller had attempted to donate the property to the city but negotiations had stalled. The new owner originates from the city and plans to retain the staff and continue operations.

Source: The Fukushima Minyu Shimbun, April 16, 2022.

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