Ishikawa Takuboku, a famous poet, once wrote a poem about a beggar walking around, muttering something precious and virtuous to himself. The beggar named Manpei was a popular figure who lived in Hakodate during the Meiji and early Taisho years.
He was a man of great spirit, and a good sense of humor, and he was never known to ask others for aims. Every morning he searched through garbage cans for food and wrote a simple description of each household he visited like a diary.
For instance, “November 1, 1906. Fine. First I went to rummage through the garbage can of Yamada Kunihiko (Mayor of Hakodate). Mr. Yamada’s wife, living a most civilized life, is as can be expected. Finding a piece of pork fat with some radish peelings in the garbage, I suppose she is now learning Western cooking…”
When Fujioka Sobei, who was an iron master in Osaka, came to Hakodate on business, he asked Manpei to light his cigarette. He was rebuked for his impoliteness to have asked “Without taking off his hat” by Manpei.
Fujioka was so deeply impressed by Manpei’s character that after Manpei died in 1915 Fujioka built a grave stone for the repose of Manpei’s soul with the help of his friends in Hakodate.
Sister Marie Onesime, a pioneer of social welfare services in Hakodate, rests here in peace
In May 1878, Sister Marie Onesime and two other sisters were sent from the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Paul de Chartres in France. Here in Motomachi, they established an orphanage, a medical clinic, and a school for children. Their contribution to the social welfare services brought them the Legion d’honneur ( the Medal of Honor ) from the President of France in May 1928.
These three sisters, who were the founders of Hakodate Shirayuri Gakuen, and six other sisters are buried in this cemetery.
The Tokugawa shogunate began its direct rule of the eastern part of Ezo ( now Hokkaido ) in 1799 and then expanded this area to include the western part 5 years later. It ordered two clans, the Nanbu clan ( now Iwate Prefecture ) and the Tsugaru clan ( now Aomori Prefecture ) to guard Ezo. Each clan dispatched 500 samurais to Ezo to fulfill this duty. The Nanbu clan located its headquarters in Hakodate and set up its branch offices in Nemuro, Kunashiri and Etorofu. Later on, those samurais went back to their hometowns because Ezo was returned to the Matsumae clan by the shogunate in 1821. The shogunate, however, ruled Ezo again in 1854 and re-ordered some clans in the Tohoku area to protect and develop Ezo. More than 600 Nanbu samurais performed their duties and were in charge of the area from Hakodate to Horobetsu ( now Noboribetsu ).
After the shogunate was overthrown and the Meiji regime was establishied, the new government designated Hakodate as the capital of Ezo and the samurais staying in Ezo returned home.
While performing their duties away from their homes, many Nanbu samurais were killed or died of sickness. A group of concerned citizens from Morioka city in Iwate Prefecture have begun activities to console those samurais who died in Hakodate since 1906. Seeing the ruined gravestones scattered around Hakodate, the people gathered them together in this cemetery in 1937. Now 12 Nanbu samurai tombs can be found here.
THE GRAVE OF AN EXTRA EDITION NEWSPAPER DISTRIBUTOR
In June 1894 (Meiji 27) Shinano Sukeji came to Hakodate. He dressed in red from hat to “tabi” socks.
One day in November of the same year, during the Sino-Japanese War (1894-5) Sukeji distributed Hokkai Newspaper’s extra edition news to the citizen on the street and thus made a name for himself as “An extra edition newspaper distributor.” Eventually, he was called “Akafuku” , or “Mr. Red Clothes.”
The reason he dressed in red was because in Bushido, the spirit of samurai, the Chinese character “Sekishin.” or “red heart” represented “sincerity.”
After the Sino-Japanese War, old Sukeji made great effort to visit well-known generals and admirals in every corner of the country to ask for their writings and signatures in celebration of this victory.
He became well known for his eccentric habits, and the local newspaper introduced him as a man of unusual character.
Jokyo Horikawa, previously named Houkei, was the second son of a chief priest of Ganjoji Temple. Ganjoji Temple was a branch of Honganji Temple of the Jodo-shin sect at Kawauchimura in Mutsu (now Aomori Prefecture).
Houkei came to Ezo (now Hokkaido) in 1841 for the first time to study the religious situation in the district. Upon finding out that there weren’t any temples of the Honganji sub-sect in Ezo, he built a branch in Otaru after being given permission in 1857. He also built a place for people to rest and sleep at Jizou-cho (now Higashikawa-cho) in Hakodate. This place is now called Hakodate Betsuin (branch) of Honganji Temple of the Jodo-shin sect.
In 1859 Houkei let farmers in Hokuriku District settle in Shimizu-gou (now Kamiiso-cho) to cultivate new land. In the same year, he let them dig a canal, supplying drinking water from the Kameda River, and supplemented the insufficient water supply in Hakodate. The canal, called the Ganjoji River or the Horikawa River, was 2,900 meters long and was crossed with 8 bridges. It was a large-scale construction project, costing over 7,300 ryo, which resulted in the urban area expanding eastwards. When a new water supply system was completed in 1889, the canal was filled in.
In 1876 an English man named John Milne was invited to Japan by the Engineering Ministry to teach mining engineering and geology at Kobu University and Tokyo Teikoku University. Becoming interested in the study of earthquakes in Japan, he invented a seismometer and made seismological observations all over Japan. He is now known as one of the fornders of seismology in Japan, and helped establish the Seismological Society of Japan in 1880.
In 1877 he came to Hakodate to conduct geological research. The following year he returned to Hakodate to survey the shell mounds of an ancient indigenous settlement. In 1881 he married Tone, the eldest daughter of Jokyo Horikawa, in Tokyo and in 1895 he returned to England with her.
After his death in 1913, Tone’s health deteriorated and she returned to Hakodate, where she lived until she passed away in 1919.
The tombstones for Mr. and Mrs. Milne and Jokyo Horikawa are here in this graveyard.