A couple of months ago in class we were discussing the topic of famous Japanese writers, and specifically those who focus, or focused, on Japanese history and in the class one of my students mentioned to me that one of the most famous historical Japanese writers of all time had been born just a couple of stations down from Smiths School of English in Fuse (スミス英会話布施).
This famous writer’s name was… Shiba Ryotaro 司馬遼太郎 and his former house, along with a memorial museum, was located about a 10 minute walk from Kintetsu Kawachi Kosaka Station近鉄河内小阪駅.
I was surprised to learn that such a famous writer had been born right in our neighborhood so I decided I had to check it out!
Kawachi Kosaka 河内小阪 is a lively area, typical of East Osaka,（東大阪）with an extensive shopping arcade stretching out into several directions from the station. I found many interesting shops along with something else very amusing which I will write about in another posting.
First you must enter the shopping arcade which you see in this picture. It’s easy to spot because Shiba Ryotaro Memorial Museum is written right above in kanji. 司馬遼太郎記念館
The museum is located in a residential area of Kawachi Kosaka (河内小阪) about 10 to 15 minutes on foot from Kawachi Kosaka Station. 近鉄河内小阪駅Entrance is 500 yen for adults; you will be instructed by the very friendly guys at the gate to put your coins into the machine. The grounds are very lush and beautifully kept and upon entering you feel like you have entered a different world. You can view Shiba Ryotaro’s (司馬遼太郎) house, and some rooms, from the outside, though you are not allowed to enter but the highlight of the experience is the Shiba Ryotaro Memorial Museum. It is a futuristic-looking building from the outside but upon entering you feel like you have stepped back in time. 司馬遼太郎記念館
I felt the most spectacular part of the museum was the wall library which stretches 11 meters high, and about twice as wide, and contains over 20,000 books. With the help of these books Shiba Ryotaro (司馬遼太郎) wrote over 500 historical novels, essays, and many other works. It truly is amazing to look at this tremendous collection and see countless books with his name written on them. Unfortunately taking pictures inside the museum is not allowed so you will have to go there in person to see this.
After admiring this display you can sit in a very comfortable theater room and enjoy a nice documentary of Shiba Ryotaro (司馬遼太郎) which leads you though the various stages of his life. Following the documentary I made my way out to the grounds and enjoyed the garden.
Before leaving I stopped to chat for a few minutes with the guys at the gate who offered to take some pictures of me at the museum and they further explained to me about the life of Shiba Ryotaro. Very friendly guys and they even tried out some of their English!
In the end I felt very happy that I had the opportunity to visit the Shiba Ryotaro Memorial Museum (司馬遼太郎記念館) as it enabled me to learn a little more about Japanese history and about a very famous Japanese writer which all Japanese people are familiar with. I was told by the guys at the museum that all people in Japan have read at least one of his books during their lifetime. I was surprised at their claim but they said “without a doubt!” I said I would ask my friends!
So, is it true? Ask your students and see what they say about Shiba Ryotaro.
If you are ever out here in East Osaka I recommend you stop by Kintetsu Kosaka Station and check out Shiba Ryotaro Memorial Museum. 近鉄河内小阪駅 。司馬遼太郎記念館
For some very interesting details about this man’s life please check out this link:
Alessandro “Alex” Stanciu
Smith’s School of English Fuse
月謝制 の スミス 英会話 布施 校