The “DATE Culture” Fostered by Masamune
The Establishment of Culture by Masamune
Upon building Sendai Castle as the political base, DATE Masamune showed deep respect towards tradition. Sendai being located in Miyagi County where the old Mutsu Kokufu (state office) was, Masamune dedicated himself to the restoration and regeneration of its places of scenic beauty and historic interest. Starting with the establishment of Yakushido hall in the site where Mutsukokubunji temple from the Nara period used to stand, he proceeded to move Osaki Hachimangu shrine to Sendai. The shrine is associated with SAKANOUENO Tamuramaro from the Heian period and was revered by the OSAKI family, who was appointed to Oshu Tandai (local commissioner of Oshu) during the Muromachi period. He also restored Matsushima Enpukuji temple, which had been known as the most famous temple in the province of Mutsu since the Kamakura period, and renamed it Zuigan Enpuku Zenji temple. For the restoration, the best craftsmen of the time were invited from the capital area, who brought in the magnificent and elegant style of the Momoyama culture, characterized by intricate carvings and vivid paintings that richly decorated buildings, as well as luxurious and gorgeous partition paintings that were painted on golden ground with thick paints rich in colors.
On the other hand, Masamune also incorporated traditional black-and-white ink wash paintings. He was thorough about employing an innovative aesthetic in designing armor and clothing. He was open to the influence of Western culture, and the culture he fostered shows his increased interest in the Western world. His artistic talent was also evident in traditional art such as waka and renga poetry, tea ceremony, noh play and incense-smelling. The culture passed down through the traditional study of the DATE family was then polished through interaction with the best educated people of the time.