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Samurai wall doodles dating back 200 years found in quake-hit Japan town go on display

This image shows scribbles, featuring humorous drawings of samurai, on a wall at the Iida-san Jorakuji Temple's main building in Mashiki, Kumamoto Prefecture, on Oct. 6, 2021. (Mainichi/Yasuhisa Yamamoto)

MASHIKI, Kumamoto -- An exhibition held in this southwest Japan town showcases ancient artifacts, including doodles of samurai on a plaster wall dating back some 200 years, found during reconstruction work following the 2016 Kumamoto earthquakes.

    The exhibit, held in the Center for Exchange and Information Minateras in Mashiki, Kumamoto Prefecture, features 39 cultural properties and other objects discovered in the ruins of the town hall, including burial urns from the Yayoi period -- one of the oldest historical periods of Japan.

    The scribbles on a plaster wall found during restoration work at the Iida-san Jorakuji Temple's main building date back to around the first half of the 19th century during Japan's Edo period. On the wall were haiku poems accompanied with humorous illustrations of samurai, suggesting that people from this time were well-cultured.

    Five burial urns from Japan's Yayoi period which were found in the ruins of the Mashiki town hall, hit by the 2016 Kumamoto earthquakes, are seen in Mashiki, Kumamoto Prefecture, on Oct. 6, 2021. (Mainichi/Yasuhisa Yamamoto)

    A representative of the Mashiki Municipal Government's lifelong learning section commented, "It's rare to have the chance to view five burial urns in the same place all at once. You can feel not only the brushwork of the Edo people, but also their every breath."

    The exhibit will continue through Nov. 28, and visitors can enter free of charge.

    (Japanese original by Yasuhisa Yamamoto, Kumamoto Bureau)

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