Historic Japanese Ceilings Made With 400 Year Old Samurai Blood

In some temples throughout the city of Kyoto there are ceilings made with wood stained by the blood of warriors. The blood dates back over 400 years to a historical event that took place after the end of the feudal age.

In the 1590s the rule of the entire area of Japan was consolidated under Toyotomi Hideyoshi. After Hideyoshi’s death, the rule was taken over by his nephew but his authority fell into disarray, leaving him prone to challengers. One of these challengers was Ieyasu Tokugawa, who commissioned a loyal samurai — Torii Mototada — to protect a castle while he continued on his conquest.


Mototada refused to abandon his post once it became under attack, and eventually surrendered after thwarting off a large number of attackers. Mototada and his faction of samurais committed suicide with honor by thrusting their swords into their stomachs. The blood saturated the wooden floor, imprinting the shapes of various body parts including hands, faces, and feet.

Eventually the castle was destroyed and the materials were used to build other temples around Kyoto. The blood stained floorboards were specifically used in the ceilings of many of the temples, and can still be seen today.

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