Thursday, April 4, 2019

Sakurahachiman Shrine, Kunisaki

Late afternoon on Sunday 25th of November, 2012, I arrived in the small port town of Kunisaki on the East coast of the Kunisaki Peninsula. Yesterday I started my walk at Usa Hachimangu on the West side of the peninsula. Usa hachimangu s the origin of the Hachiman cult and head shrine of all Hachiman Shrines in Japan, by one count the most common shrines.

Before heading to my room for the night I visited the Sakurahachiman shrine in the town. Like many Hachiman shrines in north Kyushu it was painted red and white. Not the vermillion of Inari shrines and shrines with an imperial connection, but a darker red. It was founded in 720,  when the Hachiman cult was a north Kyushu phenomenon and a few decades before it spread to the capital in Nara and from there throughout Japan.

The shrine was founded by the head priestess of the Usa shrine to pray for success in the battle for control of southern Kyushu between the government forces led by the Yamato against the Hayato. Believed to be an Austronesian speaking people, the Hayato, and the Kumaso people, had long resisted Yamato attempts to control them and outnumbered the Yamato immigrants in south Kyushu.

The war was decisive and the Hayato were forced to settle in what is now the Kyoto area, along with other immigrant clans, and Yamato control now covered all of Kyushu.


Post a Comment