Showing posts with label ichikishimahime. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ichikishimahime. Show all posts

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Sohachiman Shrine

Located in Nakanuki, near Sone in Minamikokura, Sohachiman shrine is quite a popular shrine in the area and is known particularly for prayers for a long life and also for enmusubi, finding a partner.

As a Hachiman shrine the main kami enshrined here is listed as Homuda Wake, the name of Emperor Ojin, but unlike most other hachiman shrines it does not list his mother, or father, or wife. It does however enshrine the three Munakata goddesses, Takirihime (Tagorihime), Ichikishimahime, and Takitsuhime.

However the main focus for visitors to the shrine is a massive boulder, split in two, called Suzuiwa, which enshrines the goddess Iwanagahime, one of two daughters of Oyamatsumi offered to Ninigi, the grandson of Amaterasu and mythical ancestor of the imperial line.

Ninigi rejected here because she was not as pretty as her sister, and in response she vowed that from now on the lives of the emperors as well as all other humans would be as brief as the blossoming of the cherry blossoms. This is why she is prayed to for longevity. The fact that the rock is split into two parts, one male the other female, is the reason people come here to pray for enmusubi.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Junisho Shrine

Junisho Jinja

Junisho Shrine is another small village shrine on the banks of the Nakaumi just about 1k north of Oi Shrine. Junisho means "twelve places" and refers to the 12 different kami enshrined here.

The first two are Izanagi and Izanami, the brother-sister, husband-wife, pair who really are the most important of the Japanese kami. It was they who created the Japanese islands and populated them with a whole pantheon of kami.

Among the kami created by Izanagi and Izanami perhaps the most important are the siblings Amaterasu and Susano, both also enshrined here. Amaterasu is often called the most important Japanese kami, but that is really just a hangover from State Shinto, her importance being that the imperial family claim descent from her. In real terms Susano is more important. He "descended" to Japan long before the descendants of Amaterasu, and there are far more shrines in Japan to Susano and his lineage than there are for Amaterasu and her lineage.

Between them, by "trial of pledge", Amaterasu and Susano created the  Gonansan Joshin, 5 male and 3 female kami, 6 of whom are enshrined here. The three females, often called the Munakata Kami, were kami strongly connected with travel between Japan and the Korean Peninsula. They are Tagitsuhime, Takiribime, and Ichikishimahime. The three male are Kumanokusubi, Ikutsuhikone, and Amenohohi. Its not clear why 2 of the eight are not enshrined here, nor why the only kami enshrined here, Konohanasakuyahime, that is not part of the obvious grouping of twelve.

There is also an altar/shrine to Kojin.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Shichifukujin The 7 lucky gods

All of these statues of the 7 lucky gods of Japan are at Taizo-Ji, a temple at the southern end of the Kunisaki peninsular. This first one is Daikoku, usually equated with Okuninushi, though originally a Hindu deity, Mahakala, a war god. In japan he is associated with agriculture, rice farming and the kitchen. He is usually depicted carrying a magic mallet, standing on a pair of rice bales and with a sack of treasure over his soldier.
The reason these statues are silver is that they are covered with little silver papers that visitors purchase from the temple and apply to the statues while making their prayers/requests. On the silver paper are bonji, a japanese version of an ancient sanskrit script.
This is Fukurokuju, god of wisdom and longevity and sometimes credited with the power to revive the dead. He is a manifestation of the southern Pole star and is linked to a myth of a Chinese Taoist sage. He is a later addition to the seven, replacing Kichijoten.
Benzaiten, a Hindu deity called saraswati, is usually depicted holding a Biwa, Japanese lute, and is associated with all that flows,... water, words, music etc. Often equated with the shinto kami Ichikishimahime
Ebisu is often considered to be the only Japanese god of the seven. The god of fishermen, workingmen, and good luck. He is immensely popular and is often depicted paired with Daikoku as a manifestation of the father-son pair Okuninushi and Kotoshironushi. He is usually depicted carrying a fish.
Bishamonten is a god of war and warriors, so obviously popular with samurai. Originally Hindu, he is the leader of the Shitenno, the 4 heavenly kings of Buddhism and protector of the north.
Jurojin, another Taoist god of wisdom and longevity, often confused with Fukurokuju and said to inhabit the same body.
Hotei, known as the Laughing Buddha in the West, is probably based on a real Chinese Zen monk. He is the god of happiness and the patron of bartenders!!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Itsukushima Shrine, Setogashima, Hamada


Setogashima is a tiny island in the harbor of Hamada. The Itsukushima shrine is the only shrine on the island. The three sisters enshrined here (daughters of Susano) are known to be protectors of fishermen, so Itsukushima shrines are common in fishing villages.


The 3 home shrines of the Munakata sisters are located in north west Kyushu, one on the mainland, and the other 2 on 2 small islands. The Munakata clan were responsible for protecting the sea lanes between Kyushu and the Korean peninsular.


The shrine has no secondary shrines within its precincts, and no kagura den, so for matsuri they use the nearby Shimoyama Inari Shrine. The channel seperating Setogashima from the mainland is only a stones throw wide, so a small bridge connects it, but still a huge multi-million dollar bridge was constructed.


It's actually a very quiet, picturesque fishing village of a few dozen houses, and as one of the main harvests in this area is squid, it's not surprising to see squid drying in the sun.


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Itsukushima Shrine, Matsubara, Hamada.


This branch of Itsukushima Shrine is located in the fishing village of Matsubara in Hamada at the base of the hill upon which stood Hamada Castle.


The head shrine is the famous Itsukushima Shrine on Miyajima, a World Heritage site. The kami enshrined in Itsukushima shrines is Ichikishimahime, a daughter of Susano "born" when Amaterasu chewed up Susanos' sword and spat out three girls. Ichikishimahime's head shrine is not in fact Itsukushima, but in Munakata in what is now Fukuoka Prefecture. Ichikishimahime and her 2 sisters were kami who offered protection on the sea journey between north Kyushu and the Korean Peninsular in ancient times.


There is a small secondary shrine to Inari in the grounds.


Also a small shrine to Ebisu, another kami with an Izumo lineage. His head shrine is at Mihonoseki.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Summer Matsuri 2

Yesterday I posted about the civic matsuri's that are going on right now throughout Japan. The other type of matsuri going on now are the matsuri's based on local shrines. These matsuri's can occur at any time of the year, but they tend to be either in the summer, or in the Fall. Countryside villages will have their matsuri's in the Fall, after the harvest has been completed. In the summer it tends to be coastal fishing villages or river villages, and often these matsuri will involve boats.


The video and photos show secenes from one of my favorite matsuri's, the one at Kuromatsu, a fishing village not far from Gotsu. The kami, Ichikishimahime, is fetched from an offshore island back to the village by a procession of boats.


I will be posting more on this matsuri as it is interesting and unusual in several ways.

Another common type of matsuri this time of year is Houranenya. Last weekend there was one down in Masuda, and 2 weeks ago one in Gotsu Honmachi. During Houranenya the kami is taken to boats and then paraded along the river.
I general I tend to prefer the village matsuri's over the civic matsuris. They are village-based and therefore more intimate. The food is locally made and much cheaper, and outsiders tend to be treated as guests.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Ichiki Shrine, Ichiki


Ichiki Shrine is approached up a narrow road and flight of steps that run up the hillside from the Yato River. It's a fairly big shrine with a nice "3-legged" torii. The main kami enshrined here is Ichikishimahime, and its possible the village was named after the shrine. Ichikishimahime is a popular kami and the most famous shrine to her is probably Itsukushima Shrine on the World Heritage site of Miyajima, though her "home" shrine is in Munakata in Kyushu. According to the ancient myths she was created in a contest between Amaterasu and Susano. Susano took some of Amaterasu's jewels, chewed them up and spat out 5 male children. Amaterasu took Susano's sword, chewed it up and spat out Ichikishima and her 2 sisters. The girls were taken by Susano, and the boys by Amaterasu. One of the boys is the mythical ancestor of Japan's Imperial line.


There are numerous secondary shrines within the grounds, including Omoto, Konpira, and an interesting one to Kanayago, a shrine connected to iron production and blacksmithing that suggests this area was important for its iron.


From the shrine there are fine views across the valley to the ski slopes of Mizuho Highlands.

Interestingly, it is often said that Ichikishimahime is a child of Amaterasu, cutting out mention of Susano, and yet it is never said that the Imperial line is descended from Susano. One more example of the "hyping" of Amaterasu at the expense of Susano.