Kyoto, Japan


The Mimizuka (耳塚, "Ear Mound", often translated as "Ear Tomb"), an alteration of the original Hanazuka (鼻塚, "Nose Mound") is a monument in Kyoto, Japan, dedicated to the sliced noses of killed Korean soldiers and civilians as well as Ming Chinese troops taken as war trophies during the Japanese invasions of Korea from 1592 to 1598. The monument enshrines the severed noses of at least 38,000 Koreans killed during Toyotomi Hideyoshi's invasions. The shrine is located just to the west of Toyokuni Shrine, the Shinto shrine honoring Hideyoshi in Kyoto.

Traditionally, Japanese warriors brought back the heads of enemies slain on the battlefield as proof of their deeds. Nose collection in lieu of heads became a feature of the second Korean invasion.: p. 195  Originally, remuneration was paid to soldiers by their daimyō commanders based on the severed heads upon submission to collection stations, where inspectors meticulously counted, recorded, salted and packed the heads bound for Japan. However, because of the number of civilians killed along with soldiers, and crowded conditions on the ships that transported troops, it was far easier to just bring back noses instead of whole heads. Hideyoshi was especially insistent upon receiving noses of people his samurai had killed as proof that his men really were killing people in Korea.

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