The story of Akama Shrine, which sits just a few hundred meters from the Kanmon Straits in Shimonoseki, is a rather sad one. The shrine is dedicated to Antoku, the six-year-old child emperor who perished in the sea during the battle of Dan-no-ura just offshore in 1185. When it became clear that the Minamoto clan (also known as the Genji) would triumph over the Taira clan (also called the Heike), Taira matriarch Tokuko (the Emperor’s grandmother) plunged into the sea with the young Emperor in her arms. Both perished, along with most of the Taira warriors.
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