Showing posts with label engi shiki. Show all posts
Showing posts with label engi shiki. Show all posts

Saturday, October 29, 2022

Misetaireiseki Shrine & the Myth of Empress Jingu

Misetaireiseki Shrine & the Myth of Empress Jingu

Misetaireiseki Shrine & the Myth of Empress Jingu.

Heading south from Rikitake I come to the most substantial shrine of the day that is obviously much  more than just a village shrine.

Misetaireiseki Shrine & the Myth of Empress Jingu.

According to the legend, Emperor Chuai, the 14th "emperor", was unusual in several respects. He was the first emperor who was not a son of an emperor. He was also based in Kyushu rather than Yamato in central Japan. According to the Kojiki and Nihongi he reigned in the late 2nd century, but these dates have been known to be out by centuries since the Edo period but are still adhered to in much official literature.

He is said to have had a temporary palace at this spot during his military campaign to subdue the Kumaso tribe. His "wife", later known as Jingu, had a vision and suggested he not attack the Kumaso but rather invade Korea, but he scoffed at the idea.

In the ensuing battle the Kumaso were victorious and Chuai was mortally wounded by a poison arrow. Fearing that news of his death would demoralize the troops, Jingu put on Chuai's armour and led the troops to success. Further north at what is now Kashii Shrine, she announced Chuai's death and then led her troops on an invasion of Sila on the Korean peninsula.

There is absolutely zero historical evidence of such an invasion, but in the 20th century, the Jingu myth was used to justify the occupation of Korea.

According to the myth, she took with her a stone containing the spirit of Chuai, and on her return left it here and founded the shrine to protect Korea.

According to the myth, for the three years of the Korea campaign she was pregnant with Chuai's child and gave birth on her return to a son who became Emperor Ojin. This is where historians divide the Yayoi period from the ensuing Kofun period.

It looks as if the Yayoi period is characterized by immigration and cultural and technological import from southern China, SE Asia, and even the pacific islands, whereas the Kofun period is marked by massive influx of Korean culture and technology......

The third photo is of the rock around which the shrine is based.  The 6th photo is inside the Awashima Shrine in the grounds. Misetaireiseki Shrine is one of only a few shrines in the Chikugo region that were listed in the Engi Shiki, which means it used to be quite important.

Thursday, January 27, 2022

Kokubunji Byakuraku Shrine

Kokubunji Byakuraku Shrine

Coming into Niima at the end of my third day walking along the Iwami Kannon Pilgrimage I stopped in at the local shrine.

The name was quite intriguing, as kokubunji were the series of "national" monasteries established in the Nara period, one being established in each of the provinces, and I have visited the site of the Iwami Kokubunji in Shimoko near Hamada.

However, it turns out that the provincial capital was in fact originally here in what is now Niima, before being moved to Hamada. I had never known that before. So it turns out theshrine was built in the grounds of the earlier kokubunji.

The main kami of the shrine is Ikazuchi, a thunder god most well known as the kami of the famous  kamigamo shrine in Kyoto/

The shrine has now been combined with a Hachiman Shrine.

Within the grounds are several smaller shrines including an Imamiya and an Inari.

The shrine is listed in the tenth century Engishiki, which means it received offerings from the cetral government.


Friday, December 28, 2018

Tsunomaki Shrine

On the 20th day of my walk around Kyushu I was attracted to splashes of color on a hillside. This was Tsunomaki Shrine, and the hillside had been denued of trees and replaced with Azalea bushes which, along with some cherry trees, were blooming.

The shrine has been here for a long time as it is listed in the Engi Shiki, a tenth Century document that listed shrines receiving offerings from the central government.. The kami now enshrined here include Amenominakanushi, Takamimusubi, and Kamimusubi, all kami that the Kojiki lists as creators of the universe, but which only became enshrined in shrines in the late 19th Century when the government removed all traces of Buddhism as well as local deities.

The shrine is known for protection of livestock and includes a memorial to the cows that were slaughtered during a recent outbreak of Foot & Mouth Disease

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Nibehime Shrine

Nibehime Jinja

On the third day of my walk along the Iwami Kannon Pilgrimage I started the day at Shizuma with a visit to the main shrine in the village. To all outward appearances just a small village shrine, with a large shimenawa in Izumo style. However this was a relatively important shrine in the past.

It's listed in the Engi Shiki, a tenth Century document that, amongst other things, lists all the shrines in Japan that were receiving official offerings from the central government in Kyoto. The shrine also has some interesting kami enshrined here.

The main kami is Haniyasuhime, the female of the pair of kami known as kami of the soil. According to one version of the myth the two kami were created out of the feces of Izanami after she was killed by the kami of fire. The agricultural reference is pretty obvious.

Another couple of female kami are enshrined here also, Oyatsuhime and Tsumatsuhime, both daughters of Susano who arrived near here from the Korean Peninsula along with a Susano son, Isotakeru. All three landed not far from here near the village named after Isotakeru, Isotake. The three kami are known for spreading the seeds of useful trees they brought with them.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Kurami Shrine

Kurami Shrine is yet another small shrine with an ancient pedigree. It is listed in both the Izumo Fudoki and the Engi Shiki. Izumo has more shrines listed in the Engi Shiki than any other provinces other than the home provinces of Yamashiro, Yamato, and Ise, an indication of the importance of Izumo in ancient times. The previous group of shrine I had visited today all had a strong yamato influnce in the kami enshrined, and it would be interesting to find out what the historical reasosn were for this. At Kurami we are a back to more Izumo kami.

The primary kami here is Takaokami, formed from the blood that dripped from Izanagis sword after he slew Kagutsuji, the kami of fire that killed Izanami. There are, of course, numerous versions of the story but the most common suggest it is a kami with connection to water and rain and is also considered the main kami of Kifune shrines.

The secondary kami is Hayatsumuji, and he seems to be a kami of wind. There is a mention of him in connection with Amewakahiko, the second emissary sent by Amaterasu to ask Okuninushi to cede Japan to the Yamato and who, like the first emissary chose to stay with Okuninushi. After  Amewakahikos death his body was carried back to the High Plain of Heaven by Hayatsumji.

Other kami enshrined here are Tsurugihiko, a son of Susano but not mentioned in Yamato myths. A shrine to him near Matsue claims he is a kami prayed to for safe return from war. Susano is enshrined here as well as Ukanomitama, another child of Susano most commonly eqauted with Inari, Also enshrined here is Takeminakata, the son of Okuninushi who was against the ceding of the land to the Yamato and who is the primary kami of Suwa shrines.

In the grounds were two aktars to Kojin, neither of which seemed particularly fresh.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Take Shrine

Take Shrine, another small village shrine on the shore of Nakaumi, gives the appearance of being abandoned. The grounds have not been kept up and there are no signs of activity. However, it was once a fairly important shrine, being listed in the Engi Shiki, which meant it received offering from the imperial government. Behind the shrine are two altars to Kojin, but they look as if the rope serpent has not been replaced for several years.

The 2 kami enshrined here are Takemikazuchi and Futsunishi, 2 martial kami associated with the ceding of Japan to the Yamato. The Kojiki has Takemikazuchi being the kami that Amaterasu sent down to Japan to ask Okuninushi to cede the land. the Nihonshoki says it was both takemikazuchi and Futsunushi. The Izumo Fudoki mentions only Futsunushi. So why the disparity?

In a nutshell, the Kojiki is really just a family history, a justification for the ruling clans divine right to rule Japan. At the time of its writing one of the most, if not the most, powerful clan was the Nakatomi/Fujiwara, who by this time had appropriated Takemikazuchi as one of "their" kami. The Nihonshoki was the official national history in Chinese style. It is much larger and contains many, many variations on the stories, reflecting the diversity of "histories" that existed at that time just as "Japan" was being formed out of many regional polities. The Fudoki were local gazeteers written to compile local histories, legends, and features.

The Kojiki was pretty much ignored for a thousand years until the Edo Period when National Learning scholars began to analyze the language of it. It really came to prominence with the rise of State Shinto and its focus on the Imperial family.  As noted above, the Nihon Shoki, sometimes called Nihongi, is much more detailed and therefore took longer to be completed but in my opinion is a far more interesting read. The Fudoki are almost completely lost, but the Izumo Fudoki is complete and is largely the reason why Izumo legends are so well known. Futsunushi, mentioned in the Izumo Fudoki was associated with the Mononobe Clan, the ancestor of which is buried near Izumo. The Mononobe were destroyed by the Nakatomi in their rise to power. I think this brief explaination shows why the three different versions of the myth exist.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Manai Shrine

Manai Shrine is another of the 6 shrine pilgrimage around the Ou District of Izumo. It is also listed in both the Izumo Fudoki and the Engishiki.

Prior to the Meiji Period it was known as Izanagi-sha, which tells us who the primary kami is. It is not far from Kamosu Shrine, another shrine connected to Izanagi's flight from Yomi.

Also enshrined here is Amatsuhikone, one of the 5 male kami created by Susano out of Amaterasu's jewels. The most well known of the 5 is Amenooshimimi, the father of Ninigi.

There are three secondary shrines in the grounds, though no information is available about who they enshrine except one has some small foxes suggesting Inari.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Iya Shrine

Iya Jinja

Iya Shrine is a very ancient shrine, said by some sources to be the oldest shrine in Izumo. It is listed in the Izumo Fudoki, menstioned in the Nihon Shoki, and listed in the Engi Shiki. It is one of the "Six Shrines of Ou", Ou being the old name for the district and the site of government in the Nara Period.

The primary kami is Izanami, and near here is the entrance to the underworld (Yomi) where her husband/brother Izanagi fled from after visiting her there. Also enshrined here are Okuninushi, his son Kotoshironushi whose main shrine is across the lagoon at Mihonoseki, and Sukunabikona a sidekick of Okuninushi who "built" the country with him.

The third layer of kami enshrined in the main honden is Takeminakata, the son of Okuninushi who didnt't want to cede the land the the emissary of Amaterasu and who is the main kami of Suwa shrines, and Futsunushi, the ancestor of the Mononobe who was the emissary from Amaterasu.

There are some secondary shrines in the grounds including two Ebisu shrines and a Tenmangu, but the most interesting is the Karakuni shrine. Karakuni means "Korea", and there are quite a few of them in the Izumo area, and they enshrine Susano and his son Isotake. According to Izumo mythology they both came to Izumo from the Korean Penisula and also made visits back there, something that is widely ignored by the nationalists here.

There is also an altar to Kojin and an Inari shrine, but I will post on them next.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Otaki Shrine

Still within site of Nogi Shrine, yet another shrine with an ancient pedigree, being listed in both the Izumo Fudoki and the Engi Shiki.

I came in through the rear entrance so the way to the buildings was through a nice piece of woodland.

Like all the shrines in the area there was a zuijinmon as well as an altar to Kojin, the rope snake.

Otaki Shrine is a Gosha, 5 shrines collected into one place. The primary kami is Kunitama which seems to be a generic name for the kami of the land. Next up is Otanomikoto, a descendant of Sarutahiko who either gave the land for what became Ise Shrine, or led Yamatohime to the place while she was searching for a new home to enshrine Amaterasu. Also enshrined is Isotakeru and Inari.

Secondary shrines within the grounds are a Tenmangu, Atago, & Hiyoshi.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Kumano Taisha

Kumano Taisha

Kumano Taisha was the most important shrine in Izumo for centuries before Izumo Taisha supplanted it in the late Heian Period. Empress Saimei ordered the shrine built in the mid 7th Century. Before that the shrine was the mountain behind it.

The kami is Susano, which is not surprising since it is located in the heart of Susano country. There are numerous other shrines within the compund, the two major ones being to Izanami, Susano's "mother", and Kushinada, his "wife".

No one can know for sure why Saimei ordered its construction, but it seems likely to me that she was engaged in attempt to unify the provinces under Yamato control to fight against the threat of Sila. She died leading an army in Kyushu on the way to the Korean Peninsula to help their ally (relatives?) in Paekche who was threatened by Sila. After her death the Yamato forces suffered a humiliating defeat by Sila so it is not often mentioned in histories.

An unusual building with a thatched rood and walls covered in cedar bark houses sacred fire-making tools used in rituals at Izumo Taisha, the fire made from the tools is used to cook rice to be offered to the gods. Before Meiji the fire would also have been used to cook the food for the new head priest rituals.

The annual Sankasai ritual is when the priests come from Izumo Taisha to borrow the fire-making tools. They bring with them a long rice cake as an offering. The Kumano priests complain about the rice cake and insist it should be made according to their specifications, but eventually relent and make it themselves as it is too far for the Izumo taisha priests to go back to make a better cake, but the Kumano priests insist that next year the Izumo priests must make a better cake.