Showing posts with label isotake. Show all posts
Showing posts with label isotake. Show all posts

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Karakamishiragi Shrine & a serious revising of myth-history


At the far western edge of the village of Isotake is the small fishing port, and next to it a small, fairly standard, little shrine with modern torii, standard, modern komainu, and the large thick shimenawa typical of the region. What is interesting is the name Karakamishiragi Shrine which translates as "gods from Silla Shrine", Silla being one of the countries that made up the Korean peninsula before becoming unified.

The kami enshrined here are Susano and two of his daughters, Oyatsuhime and Tsunatsuhime. His son, Isotakeru, gave his name to the village, but curiously is not enshrined here. According to the local records they all arrived here from Silla and established what later became known as Izumo Culture. It also says they travelled back and forth between here and Korea with local kami, transferring technology.

This is quite different from the mainstream, official version of the mytho-history which has Susano descending directly to japan from the High Plain of Heaven. That version is the one in the Kojiki which nowadays is touted as the oldest book in Japan, but to be quite frank is a very revisionist, political rewriting of the myths to suit a small group of powerful clans who had seized power just before writing the kojiki.

Visiting this shrine not long after moving to the area set me off on a trail of discovery as I followed the local legends and myths that tell quite a different story than the mainstream which became fixed in the early days of the Meiji Period when national myths were needed by the political leaders....It also led me  to a more detailed exploration of Susano, the kami largely dismissed by the mainstream myths in favor of his sister Amaterasu.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Isotake Beach

Isotake Beach

Day three of my walk along the Iwami Kannon Pilgrimage, and to get from the outskirts of the village of Isotake to the harbor and main part of the village I decided to cross the main road and walk along the beach.

We have a lot of nice beaches in the Iwami area, and this one is not bad.

As is normal there was some stuff washed up. Mostly floats and bits of rope... stuff from fishing boats usually.

Isotake is named after Isotakeru, one of the sons of the great Izumo deity Susano. According to the myth Susano and Isotakeru arrived here from the Korean Peninsula, and the shrine at the harbor has more details...

Of course it wouldn't be a Japanese beach without tetrapods...

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Into Isotake


Early on the 3rd day of my walk along the Iwami Kannon Pilgrimage I reached the coastal village of Isotake. Looking inland I could see Mount Sanbe where I had spent the night of my first days walk.

Isotake is named after Isotakeru, a son of Susano, said to be brother to the sun goddess Amaterasu. There are of course numerous versions of the ancient myths, but round here the story is that Susano and Isotakeru arrived in Japan from the Korean Peninsula at this spot. At the far end of the village is a  fishing port with a shrine whose records tell this story.

A common sight all over rural Japan are collapsing buildings. Once a traditional building is abandoned it doesn't take long for nature to begin the recycling process.

The narrow road through the village was formerly the Sanin-do, the main road that extended all the way from Kyoto. The village has now been bypassed by Route 9, a modern road. Soon it too will be superseded by a 2 lane expressway a little inland carried on tall concrete pillar and through lengthy tunnels.

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.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Sokinoya Shrine

Sokinoya Jinja

Sokinoya Shrine is listed in the Engi Shiki so it is at least 1,000 years old. It's located at the base of the hills south of Naoe in Hikawa.

Halfway up the steps is the store room holding the rather elegant mikoshi and other valuable equipment.

The main kami enshrined is Kihisakamitakahiko, and there is absolutely no information on him except that this area was once called Kihisa so he was probably the leader of the area. This rock in front of the shrine is reputed to be where he stood and prayed in the direction of Izumo Taisha across the plain below.

Visible behind the rock is a small shrine to Sarutahiko. It was moved here from its original site at a large rock outcropping further up the mountain. There is also a Kumano Shrine in the grounds.

For me, the most interesting secondary shrine in the rounds is the Karakuniidateho shrine. Karakuni means "from Korea", and there are numerous Karakuni shrines around Izumo and Iwami that enshrine Susano and his son Isotake that are manifestations of the legend/myth that Susano and his son arrived here from the Korean peninsula.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Mefu Shrine


Mefu Shrine is yet another shrine in Matsue that is listed in the 8th Century Izumo Fudoki which means it was in existence for about 1,000 years before Matsue was built.


It is located not far from the station, on the south bank of the waterway that connects Lake Shinji with Nakaumi and the sea, so its not surprising that the main kami is Haya Akitsuhi the kami of inlets and straits,created by Izanagi and Izanami.


A secondary group of kami are Isotake and his 2 sisters Oyatsuhime and Tsumatsuhime, the three children of Susano that came to Japan with him from Korea.


Behind the main honden are a couple of shrines to Funadama, the kami of boats, and Konpira the kami of safe journeys


Other smaller shrines include Ebisu, Wadatsumi, the dragon kami of the sea, and an Aragami. The shrine is noted for a fine pair of komainu.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Isotake Guro

Monday was Tondo Matsuri in my village, but it was cold and rainy so we gave it a miss. Photos from last years Tondo can be seen here.


Instead we went up the coast a little to the fishing village of Isotake where they have a version of Tondo Matsuri that is unique in all of Japan. For their Tondo they erect a 10m wide bamboo structure called a "Guro".


You may think it looks very Mongolian, and you would be right as it is acknowledged that its roots are from the mainland. This area has a strong connection to the mainland through the korean kingdom of Sila. A few kilometres away is the spot where Susano and his son Isotake arrived here from Korea. The shrine behind the Guro recounts how many local "kami" travelled back and forth with Susano to the mainland to learn skills.


The structure is built almost completely out of bamboo, covered with mats. Inside fire burn and the villagers gather for the next 4 days.


The tall central bamboo, similar to other tondo matsuris, is for the kami Toshitokujin, the kami of the new year, to descend into the guro. Toshitokujin, like much that is called shinto now, has its roots in Daoism.


Over the fires mochi is toasted. It was freezing outside but very warm inside.


On friday the guro, along with all the new years ornaments, will be ceremonially burned as with other Tondo matsuri's.