Cherry BlossomThe origin of the Akikusa species, according to my father is that “there are two sources of the Akikusa name in Japan, one near Ashikaga and one in west Japan near the Tottori clan. Legend has it that in 1331 the Emperor of Japan, Gogaido, was exiled after attempting a coup de etat to an island off Tottori. There was a group of faithful samurais who tried to help the Emperor escape from the heavily guarded convoy but were beat off. The following morning, a message was found carved in the trees at the temple where the Emperor spent the night under guard. It said do not despair, for there will be those who will try to rescue you again. A few years later, the Emperor was pardoned and returned to the capital and he wanted to remember the rescue attempt by giving honourary names to those Samurais who tried to help. Akikusa was one of the names. So, we are royalist by tradition but I am not.”

My father researched the family tree some time ago and this legend was told by another Akikusa who worked at NHK and came from the Tottori clan. Another story was told by checking burial records near Ashikaga and it says we are descended from a Samurai called Gonkuro or Kamakura, a Samurai chief who worked at Kamakura shogunate and somehow his children or himself absconded and settled in a remote village near Ashikaga. My grandfather and father went to do this research to a village and there are still about ten Akikusa families living there and most Akikusas living in or around Tokyo come from our clan.