Kaminarimon

The south face of the Kaminarimon. A statue of Fūjin stands on the right and that of Raijin on the left.

The Kaminarimon (雷門, "Thunder Gate") is the outer of two large entrance gates that ultimately leads to the Sensō-ji (the inner being the Hōzōmon) in Asakusa, Tokyo, Japan. The gate, with its lantern and statues, is popular with tourists. It stands 11.7 m tall, 11.4 m wide and covers an area of 69.3 m2.[1] The first gate was built in 941, but the current gate dates from 1960, after the previous gate was destroyed in a fire in 1865.

History

The Kaminarimon was first built in 941 AD by Taira no Kinmasa, a military commander.[2] It was originally located near Komagata, but it was reconstructed in its current location in 1635. This is believed to be when the gods of wind and thunder were first placed on the gate.[2] The gate has been destroyed many times throughout the ages. Four years after its relocation, the Kaminarimon burned down, and in 1649 AD, Tokugawa Iemitsu had the gate rebuilt along with several other of the major structures in the temple complex.[3] The gate burned to the ground in 1757 AD and again in 1865 AD. The Kaminarimon's current structure was dedicated in December 1960 AD .[1] Ninety-five years after the last fire, Konosuke Matsushita, the founder of Matsushita Electric Industrial Company (now Panasonic), was asked to rebuild the gate. With monetary donations from Matsushita, the gate was rebuilt in 1960.[4]