Friday, April 22, 2022

Onigami Shrine Another Origin of Susano

Onigami Shrine

Yjos large rock in front of Onigami Shrine in Okuizumo is called Iwafune Daimyojin, and is said to be the stone boat used by Susano and his son Isotakeru to sail from Shiragi on the Korean mainland. If this sounds familiar, I refer you to an earlier post on Karashima Island down the coast in Iwami, which has a similar version of the myth.

Behind the rock is Onigami Shrine, not surprisingly enshrining Susano-o and Isotakeru. On the hill behind the shrine is said to be the tomb of Isotakeru.

Not far from here is Inada Shrine, dedicated to the "princss# that Susano saves from the fearsome 8-headed serpent Yamat no Orochi. A little further downstream is a shrine dedicated to her parents, and several spots on the river are said to be the lair of Orochi.

One of my first long walks in Shimane was a three day walk down the Hi Rover to Izumo Taisha in  which I hunted out sites connected to the Susano stories, though Ongami Shrine was a little too far from the river for me to visit.

If you draw a line roughly West from here to the shrines around Karashima Island, and another line North to where Matsue now sits, then in the land between those two lines are all the major shrines to Susano..... Susa, Suga, Yaegaki, Hinomisaki, and of course Izumo Taisha, which switched from Susano to Okuninushi just over 400 years ago. There are also a whole slew of smaller, mountain shrines dedicated to Susano, like Karakama Shrine.

The Yamato-centric national myths usually portray Susano as a bad boy kicked out of heaven for his offenses, and never mention his arrival in Japan from Korea. Around here though he is seen as a Culture Hero who brought things from Korea. Okuizumo is famous as the home of swordmaking and early steel and iron production. Karakama Shrine translates as Korean Forge Shrine, and suggests that iron production was introduced from Korea...... which historians say is how it happened...

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1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for the interesting background of these shrines.