Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Nobara Hachimangu


The Hachiman shrine in Nobara near Arao in Kumamoto is a fairly typical local shrine, though the entrnce gate is larger than most. The banners suggest that a matsuri has recently, or will soon, be held.

I previously posted about the two pairs of komainu I found here, There was a pretty big tree in the grounds, but otherwise not much else to see. However, I read that there are several small burial mounds within the grounds.

Since arriving in Japan I have read continually that "shinto" considers death very taboo and will have nothing to do with it, leaving such things to the Buddhists to deal with, however, in Izumo, here in Kyushu, and also on Shikoku I have come across shrines built on top of or in close proximity to ancient burial mounds/

The shrine was founded about 1,000 years ago at the end of the Heian Period. Hachiman shrines are the most common village shrines in Japan. The Hachiman cult was originally based in northern Kyushu, and did spread in Kyushu in ancient times.

However, it was when Hachiman was taken up to Nara to protect the new "national" temple of Todaiji, that it began to spread more widely. When an oracle proclaimed that the true identity of Hachiman was in fact Emperor Ojin, the cult became much more powerful.

Some hachoman shrines claim to be derived from the original in Usa, Oita, but apparently two thirds of Hachiman shrines in Japan claim to be derived from Iwashimizu Shrine south of Kyoto and not directly from Usa.Not all Hachimans are equal it seems. There is no mention of the origin of this particular Hachiman shrine, though I do know of Hachiman shrines in Kyushu that went all the way up to Iwashimizu to bring back the "divided spirit" from that shrine rather than get it from the much closer Usa hachman.


Post a Comment