Thursday, December 10, 2020

New Thatch for Yamada Daio Shrine


Since I moved to the Japanese countryside more than 18 years ago, almost all of the thatched farmhouses in my area have disappeared. However, along the upper reaches of the Kuma River in the mountains of Kumamoto there are still a lot of shrine and temple buildings with traditional thatched roofs.

The skill of thatching has not been lost as I discovered when visiting Yamada Daio Shrine. The scaffolding was still up but it seemed that the rethachting of the roofs had been finished.

As far as I could make out the main kami enshrined here was a wealthy local landowner. It was unclear whether he was a vassal of the ruling Daimyo  or a farmer who grew wealthy later/.

Though what is called Shinto has managed to reinvent itself as a "nature" religion, much of its roots lie in deifying political power.


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