In a country where divorce was once taboo, a 600-year-old temple in Japan has offered women a safe haven from abusive or unhappy marriages. The Matsugaoka Tokeiji Temple, also known as the Divorce Temple, was founded in 1285 by a Buddhist nun named Kakusan Shido-ni. It was originally intended as a convent for women in need, but it soon became known for its role in granting divorces.
During the Edo period (1603-1868), divorce was difficult to obtain, especially for women. Under Japanese law, a husband could divorce his wife for any reason, but a wife could only divorce her husband if he committed adultery or abandoned her. This made it very difficult for women to escape abusive or unhappy marriages.
The Matsugaoka Tokeiji Temple provided a way for women to escape these oppressive unions. To obtain a divorce, a woman would simply enter the temple and shave her head. This act symbolized her break with her old life and her commitment to a new life as a Buddhist nun. Once she had shaved her head, the temple would issue her a divorce certificate.
The Matsugaoka Tokeiji Temple was a popular destination for women seeking divorce. Over the years, it is estimated that thousands of women sought refuge at the temple. The temple’s role in granting divorces helped to empower women and gave them a voice in their own lives.
Today, the Matsugaoka Tokeiji Temple is no longer a functioning convent. However, it remains a popular tourist destination and a reminder of the important role that it played in Japanese history. The temple is a symbol of hope for women who are seeking to escape abusive or unhappy marriages. It is a reminder that even in the most difficult of times, there is always a way to find peace and freedom.
Some Facts About This Temple
- The temple is located in the city of Kamakura, in Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan.
- It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- The temple is open to the public for tours.
- There is a small museum on the grounds of the temple that tells the story of the temple and its role in granting divorces.