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Tsuyunoten Shrine in Osaka

The true love story of Ohatsu and Tokubei

Close to JR Osaka station in Umeda, Tsuyunoten Jinsha is a unique, fascinating shinto shrine, famous for an event that took place here in 1703, both romantic and tragic. Ohatsu, a courtesan, and Tokubei, an assistant manager at a soy sauce shop, were secretly in love, but the owner of the shop decided to appoint Tokubei as a manager, and tried to make him marry another woman. Both Ohatsu and Tokubei were involved with betrayals and financial issues later on, and ended up committing suicide. The lovers' story was later retold in 'Sonezaki Shinju', a famous Bunraku puppet play.

According to historical documents, the shrine was founded on a small island near Osaka Bay, and was known as the site where the deity Sumiyoshi Sumuchisone was worshipped. It's not known exactly when the shrine was built, but it's estimated to have been during Emperor Kimmei's 6th-century reign; the shrine is definitely included on a 1097 map of Naniwa (the name of the area that has since become modern Osaka). Between 1894 and 1907, the first Osaka train station and the Hankyu Umeda station were built, and Tsuyunoten Shrine became known as the protector of these two central areas in Osaka, Umeda and Sonezaki.

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