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update:January 20, 2016

Gokokan Onari Mon (Gate)

 

Gokoukan Onari Mon (Gate of Honor), also called Kuro Mon (Black Gate) because the gate is painted black, is the gate of the Gokoukan school, which was Omura-han’s first public school. Only the lords and their children could pass through this gate.

Gokoukan’s forerunners were consecutively Shugikan, established in 1670, and Seijuen, established in 1694. These schools were in Sakurada just outside Kushima Castle. However, only the royal children could attend these schools. The 9th feudal lord, Sumiyasu Omura expanded the school in 1790 and named it Gokoukan. Gokoukan means the house of five disciplines: Those disciplines were loyalty to leaders, filial piety, roles of husband and wife, respect of elders, and trust in friendships.
Gokokan was a rarity of its time because both the samurai class and other working classes’ children were accepted. The school educated many children until 1872 when it was moved to Honkyo-ji in 1831.

The former location of Gokoukan is the current day Omura Elementary School. Now only the gate remains and it is located in the very far, northeast corner of the school property. Kuro Mon is still used today. The new 1st graders of Omura Elementary enter through this gate at the beginning of the new school year in April and the 6th graders exit the gate after graduating in March.