- Posted March 12, 2014 by
Smart Monkey “Ko-ume" Performing at the Yushima Tenjin Shrine in Tokyo!
A few days ago while in Tokyo, I visited the Yushima Tenjin Shrine (湯島天満宮). This shrine is not so far from Ueno park and a favourite of students who come to pray for good luck with their examinations. It was also “plum blossom” season and the Yushima Tenjin Shrine is famous for its ume matsuri. While there, a lady was performing with a monkey, called Koume or Little Plum (小梅). I have been to many shinto shrines, but never seen anything like this. She also mentioned that during the Sakura season the name of the monkey changes too,Ha!
Perhaps it has to do with Sugawara no Michizane (菅原道真, August 1, 845 – March 26, 903), he was a scholar, poet, and politician of the Heian Period of Japan. He is regarded as an excellent poet, particularly in Chinese poetry, and is today revered as the god of learning, Tenman-Tenjin (天満天神). Being that the monkey is so smart it can do all these tricks, just like Michizane, who was a brilliant man. I don’t know, you be the judge of that. Enjoy the show!