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Kawachi, Hirado: The Birthplace of Zheng Chenggong

25Feb 2014 tomocchi

Have you ever heard of a man called Zheng Chenggong, or ‘Koxinga’?

About 300 years ago, he liberated theislandofTaiwanfrom the possession of the Dutch, and is known as an East Asian hero.

Not many people are familiar with the story of his birth, but in fact, this hero of East Asia was born in Hirado, right here in Nagasaki Prefecture  (ノ*゚▽゚)ノ

 

 

 

His father was Zheng Zhilong, a Chinese merchant who made his base in Hirado, and his mother was Tagawa Matsu, of Kawachi, also in Hirado, and it was here that Zheng Chenggong (known in Japanese as Tei Seikou) was born in 1624.

It is said that his mother was out collecting shellfish one day, when she suddenly went into labour, and gave birth to her son while leaning against this stone.

The stone can be found on the beach at Senrigahama in Hirado.

 

 

 

In July 2013 the Zheng Chenggong Memorial Museum was opened at the site of the young Zheng’s first home.

 

 

 

Zheng Chenggong grew up here until the age of seven, when he was summoned by his father, and crossed the sea alone to live in Anhai, in Fujian Province. He was only seven!

In the grounds is a nagi conifer (Asian Bayberry), said to have been planted by Zheng in his youth.

 

 

And there is more to this place than just being the location of Zheng’s birth.

Every year on July 14th, Zheng’s birthday, the Zheng Chenggong Festival is held.
A group from Taiwan, called the “Zheng Clan Association”, who still revere Zheng today, are invited over to Hirado to perform rituals, followed by folk dances from local residents performed in dedication to him.

Zheng Chenggong is still deified as a hero even in Hirado.

 

 

 

Now, let’s take a look inside the museum. Entry is free!

The first thing that catches your eye on entering is the statue of Mazu, Chinese goddess of the sea, who is said to protect seafarers.
You might already have heard of Mazu, as one of the events of the Nagasaki Lantern Festival is the Mazu Procession.

 

 

There are several Mazu figures in the museum, but take a look at the one in the glass case on the left.

 

 

On the occasion of Zheng Chenggong’s birth, his father Zheng Zhilong is said to have built a small shrine to Mazu in the hills behind the house and worshipped there. This figure is supposed to have come from that shrine.

 

 

This is a model of the boat that Zheng Zhilong used for overseas trading.

 

 

 

A space depicting Zheng’s family and their daily life at the time.

 

 

 

 

A portrait of Zheng Chenggong and calligraphy (reproductions)

 

 

 

 

The exhibit on Zheng’s military activities packs quite a punch!

 

 

 

 

A statue of Zheng Chenggong and his mother

 

 

 

This statue was built before the museum, and was designed by one of Zheng’s descendents.

 

 

 

 

The birthplace of Zheng Chenggong: Kawachi, Hirado. We hope you’ll drop by and enjoy the beauty of the ocean and beach at Senrigahama, along with the fascinating history of this place.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zheng Chenggong Memorial Museum

(Japanese: Tei Seikou Kinenkan)

 

Address: 1114-2 Kawachi-machi,HiradoCity

Tel: 0950-24-2331

Opening hours:8:30 – 17:00

Entry: free of charge

Closed: Wednesdays

 


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