Japan Mansion Linked to Origin of Suzuki Name Restored

The Yomiuri Shimbun
A Shinto priest performs a ceremony to commemorate the restoration of the Suzuki mansion in Kainan, Wakayama Prefecture, on Thursday.

YUASA, Wakayama — A Shinto ceremony was held to commemorate the restoration of the Suzuki mansion, which belonged to the family believed to be the originator of the common surname “Suzuki,” in Kainan, Wakayama Prefecture, on Thursday.

The wooden and tiled-roofed mansion, which was originally built in the late Edo period (1603-1867), was restored by residents through donations and will be used as a tourist facility.

“I hope it will become a sacred place for Mr. Suzuki,” said a person involved in the restoration.

The mansion is located on the grounds of Fujishiro Shrine in the city. Since the Heian period (from the late eighth century to the late 12th century), the shrine has been an important location for Kumano worship, which spread from Kumano Hongu Taisha shrine and other shrines.

It is said that Suzuki, who served as a priest, would welcome those who came to the shrine, including an emperor who abdicated and became a Buddhist monk.

It is thought that the Suzuki family spread their surname as part of their activities to spread Kumano worship nationwide.

The mansion is believed to have been a rest stop for pilgrims. However, after the head of the family died in 1942, the family line ended, and the mansion deteriorated.

The 136-square-meter mansion and garden were restored using the about ¥85 million in donations from major automaker Suzuki Motor Corp., a Tokyo-based group for people with the surname Suzuki and others.

The ceremony on Thursday was attended by Suzukis from across the country.

“I was deeply moved to see the beautiful restoration of the place where my family name comes from,” said Tokyo resident Kunio Suzuki, 75.

The public will be able to enter the mansion for ¥300 starting Saturday.