This is a true story of a boy who once died and was born again to another family having a memory of his previous life.
Where will we go after we die?
Will we pass into nothingness after death?
About 200 years ago, Atsutane Hirata (1776-1843), one of the greatest Japanese scholars had interest on an afterlife.
Atsutane Hirata (1776-1843)
Hirata is conventionally ranked as one of the Four Great Men of Kokugaku (nativist) studies of Japan, and one of the most significant theologians of the Japanese Shinto religion.
Actually, he was one of the leading scholar of Japan at that time.
His work more often influenced religious groups than the government in the Empire of Japan.
By the way, Hirata had a great interest in the spirit world.
What will happen to us after death?
Thus, Hirata collected evidences of the spirit world from all over Japan.
On June 1823, Hirata published “Chronicle of the Rebirth of Katsugoro” based on his interviews with a boy, Katsugoro Koyata (1814-1869).
Katsugoro was a son of a farmer of Tama District, Musashi Province (in present-day Higashinakano, Hachioji city, Tokyo) Japan.
Interestingly, Katsugoro had a strange memory of his previous life.
In 1822, one night, Katsugoro said to his family,
I was a child named Tozo of a family living in a Hodokubo village (in present-day Hodokubo, Hino, Tokyo).
When I was 6 years old, I died from smallpox.
Then, he told them his amazing experiences after death to rebirth.
Furthermore, Katsugoro told the detail of his previous life in Hodokubo village.
Surprisingly enough, Katsugoro’s story about his previous life was later corroborated by the previous family and villagers of Hodokubo village.
So, Katsugoro’s rebirth became a hot topic among Japanese intellectuals at that time.
On August 1823, Hirata presented “Chronicle of the Rebirth of Katsugoro” to Emperor Ninko, the 120th Emperor of Japan and Emperor Kokaku, the 119th Emperor of Japan.
Emperor Ninko (1800-1846)
Emperor Kokaku (1771-1840)
Thus, the rebirth of Katsugoro became a hot topic even in the Imperial Palace.
So, this is a true story based on a research of a first-class Japanese scholar.
Katsugoro, an Amazing Boy Having a Memory of His Previous Life
On November 1822, an 8-year-old Japanese boy, Katsugoro was playing with his brothers and sisters around a rice field.
Suddenly, Katsugoro asked his brother, Otsujiro a strange question.
Before you were born to this family, where were you and who were your parents?
Otsujiro replied to Katsugoro sending a questioning look at him.
How am I supposed to know that?
Then, Katsugoro asked a similar question to his sister, Fusa.
How about you?
How do we know where we were and who our parents were, before we were born?
You asked me something weird!
Fusa exclaimed excitedly.
They astounded by Katsurogo’s strange words and disagreed with him.
Nevertheless, Katsugoro did not seem to be convinced with his brother’s and sister’s words.
So, Katsugoro asked his sister, Fusa again.
Don’t you know where you were before you were born, do you?
So, do you know it, Katsugoro?
I remember it well.
In my previous life, I lived in Hodokubo village.
My previous father’s name was Kyubei.
I was a child of Kyubei and my previous name was Touzou.
His sister’s and brother’s exchanged stunned looks.
They thought that Katsugoro lost his mind or he was kidding.
So, Fusa said to Katsugoro,
This must be some kind of sick joke!
I’m telling mom and dad about you!
To hear his sister’s words, Katsugoro got flustered.
No! Please don’t!
Katsugoro apologized to Fusa.
Please don’t tell mom and dad!
He cried and begged.
So, I won’t tell mom and dad.
But if you do a bad thing and you don’t listen to me, I’ll tell you mom and dad.
Do you pinky swear?
I pinky swear.
Thus, the matter is settled for the time being.
Katsurogo’s Confession to His Parents about His Previous Life
Since then, every time Katsugoro has a fight, Fusa told him,
I’m telling (mom and dad) on the matter!
Then Katsugoro quickly went quiet and obedient.
Katsugoro’s parents and grandmother wondered why he could never go against his sister, Fusa.
So, they asked Fusa.
Come on, Fusa!
Are you hiding something?
Fusa shook her head.
No, I’m not hiding anything.
Fusa never told them the secret of Katsugoro.
However, the parents were worried.
Did Katsugoro something bad without telling us?
One day, while Katsugoro was away, the parents asked Fusa and forced her into confessing.
Fusa could not stand it any longer.
I’m sorry I did not tell you.
I’ll tell you the whole truth!
Katsugoro told me that he was reborn to this family.
For some reason, he remembers a memory of his previous life!
Was Katsugoro reborn?
Does he have a memory of his previous life?
After that, Katsugoro’s parents deepened their doubt.
So, one day, they coaxed Katsugoro into confessing.
Then, Katsugoro reluctantly began to tell them his secret.
To tell the truth, before I was born to this family, I was a child of a man, Kyubei of Hodokubo village.
In the previous life, my previous mother’s name was Oshizu.
But, when I was little, my previous father, Kyubei died.
Katsugoro’s parents and grandmother were very surprised to hear his confession.
Then, a man named Hanshiro came to my house and he became my step father.
Hanshiro doted on me but I died when I was 6.
After that, I got inside my current mother’s tummy, that is, your tummy!
Then, Katsutoro pointed his finger at his mother’s stomach.
In this way, I was born again to your family.
This is what happened to me before my birth.
To hear his amazing confession, Katsugoro’s parents and grandmother were at a loss for words.
Japanese Government Acknowledged the Rebirth of Katsugoro as True
Katsugoro’s story about his previous life was too detailed and accurate for a children’s made-up story.
Actually, Katsugoro’s confession turned out to be true.
Surprisingly enough, Katsugoro’s story was later corroborated by the previous family and villagers of Hodokubo village.
The rumor of Katsugoro’s rebirth spread to the capital city, Edo (the former name of Tokyo).
I hear that there is a strange boy who has a memory of his previous life!
Sadatsune Ikeda (1767-1833), a Japanese feudal lord also heard the rumor about Katsugoro’s rebirth.
Ikeda was one of the descendents of Ieyasu Tokugawa (1543-1616), the founder and first shogun of the Tokugawa shogunate of Japan.
Ikeda went to Katsugoro’s house to interview him.
Katsugoro was so dreadful that he could not speak anything, because Ikeda was a feudal lord and a person of noble ranking.
So, his grandmother told Ikeda the story she heard from Katsugoro.
On March 1823, Ikeda published a book “The Story of the Reincarnation and Previous Life of Katsugoro” based on the interview.
Ikeda’s book gained great popularity among many Japanese intellectuals such as writers and scholars at that time.
In this way, Katsugoro became a hot topic as a boy who remembers his previous life.
Denhachiro Okado, the feudal lord of the Nakano village, where Katsugoro lives, happened to hear the rumor about Katsugoro’s rebirth.
So, Okado called Katsugoro and his parents to Edo in order to question them about Katsugoro’s reincarnation and to judge truth or falsity.
After the detailed and full investigation, Okado compiled a report and submitted to his superior, Sato Minonokami, the head of the guard of shogun.
As a result, Japanese government acknowledged as follows.
Katsugoro’s rebirth and his memory of his previous life is true.
In this way, Katsugoro’s rebirth has been officially gained government approval.
It is unparalleled in Japanese history.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
Someday, your child may reveal a secret to you.
He (She) says,
To tell the truth, before I was born to your family, I was a child of another family.
I have a memory of my previous life.
So, I’ll tell you the truth!
And, you will know his (her) amazing previous life.
Published on May 26, 2019
Written by OTAKUPAPA
- Hirata Atsutane (June 1823). “Chronicle of the Rebirth of Katsugoro“
- Hino City Local Museum (2015-2018). “The Story of Rebirth of Katsutoro“
- Katsugoro Koyata in Wikipedia.