Showing posts with label sarutahiko. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sarutahiko. Show all posts

Sunday, August 14, 2022

Tennenji Temple & Misosogi Shrine


Located above  the Kawanaka Fudo Magaibutsu, Tennenji Temple and Misosogi Shrine are in essence the same place.

They are fairly rudimentary structures, one with a thatched roof. A flood in 1941 washed the original temple away and there have been no resident priests since then and the remaining statues have been looked after by local people.

These 4-5 meter long torches are in readiness for the Shujo Onie fire festival in early February where dancers dressed as demons dance with fire to bring good fortune. These fire festivals take place at several sites around the Kunisaki peninsula. The one I visited at Iwatoji Temple can be seen here.

Next door is a museum devoted to the Shujo Onie festival but which also houses many of the ancient statues from the original temple.

The shrine building has a male-female mask combination. This is fairly common at many shrines, and most would say that the red-faced mask with the long nose was a Tengu, but I think it is a Sarutahiko mask as it is not wearing the tokin, the small black hat that yamabushi wore.

Sarutahiko is considered one of the origins of Tengu. According to the ancient myths, Sarutahiko guided the Yamato heavenly deities down to Japan and later married Uzume and that leads to the combination of masks seen here....

Uzume later became the model for the Otafuku character.....

The shrine, and temple, have their inner sanctuaries under overhangs in the cliff face....

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Tengu Masks in the Kirishima Mask Museum

Kirishima Mask Museum

The mask museum in Kirishima was called "Tengu-kan", and obviously there were a lot of masks of tengu on display. Most of which were the red-faced long nose variety.

Probably the earlier version of Tengu was more birdlike in appearance, like the one in the top center of the photo below. The long nosed version is probably derived from Sarutahiko, the earthy kami who helped lead Ninigi and his entourage from the High Plain of Heaven. he later married Uzume and a mask of Sarutahiko and Uzume are often found together at shrines, often linked to fertility.

Tengu are often connected to Yamabushi, the mysterious mountain monks who practised austerities and magic in the remote sacred mountains. A distinguishing feature is the tokin, the small black headgear worn on the top of the forehead. It is said this was to protect the head while walking through the forest. It was also used as a drinking vessel.

The museum is located near the entrance to Kirishima Jingu Shrine up in the mountains of northern Kagoshima and if you are visiting the area and like masks then is a must see.

Buy Handmade Masks From Japan

Friday, April 8, 2016

More Monkeys of Koshinsha


I am intrigued by the eclectic collections of figures left at various kinds of "folk" altars around Japan.


So here are some more of the monkeys left at Koshinsha in Nogata.


Toys and dolls can often be found alongside icons from Shinto, Buddhism, Hinduism and even sometimes Christianity.


Sarubobo dolls and ema were also prevalent.


Monday, April 4, 2016

Some monkeys at Koshinsha


The popular form of Koshin worship is now associated with the famous three monkeys and also with Sarutahiko. Statues of monkeys are therefore often found at Koshin sites.


At the Koshinsha in Nogata there were dozens and dozens of them, though my favorite must be the one in the first photo. A very happy monkey.


The eclectic collections of statues and dolls left by devotees at sacred sites popular in what is called "folk" religion around Japan intrigue me.


The figure below, a monkey carrying a gohei. a purification wand, is something I have seen a few times before.


Friday, April 1, 2016

Koshinsha, Nogata


Koshinsha is a site dedicated to the Koshin faith. Origiunally Chinese Taoist in essence it was introduced into japan from Korea in the 8th Century.


Adherents stay awake all night every 60 days on Ko Shin days to stop 3 "worms" from leaving their body and reporting to a god about their good and bad behaviour.


Koshin faith became influenced by Buddhism, and in the middle of the Edo period by a branch of Confucian Shinto that equated the faith with Sarutahiko. In Meiji it was discredited as "superstition" though it has survived a little. There is also a small Inari shrine in the grounds.


At some point in its history the symbolism of the three monkeys became a part of it, and that is its most common identity today.


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, January 13, 2013

Sarutahiko Mask


Winter is the time I finally get to finish some of the masks I have been working on. This one is Sarutahiko.

According to the National Myths he was an Earth kami who guided Ninigi and his party, including Uzume who Sarutahiko later married, on their descent to Japan.


Sarutahiko masks are very common at shrines as he is most commonly known as a phallic kami, related to Dosojin, the phallic stones found at village borders and crossroads. His mask is often paired with Uzume/Otafuku.


Sarutahiko masks and Tengu masks are often conflated, and in Iwami the same mask is often used to represent both. usually though a tengu mask will be wearing a "tokin", a small hat-like box worn on the head of yamabushi.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Month of Little Sleep part 6


After the round of ceremonies at Nakano Omoto Matsuri it was time for more dancing and first up was some very young kids dancing Hachiman.....


Bothe the 2 heroes and the 2 demons were very young kids and they did a really great job...


Next up a couple of older kids danced Shoki...


Then to the other end of the age scale.... an elderly gentleman danced the first part of Yachimata. This was the first time I have seen this dance and the only reference I can find to it says it is danced by Uzume and Sarutahiko. Yachimata is the crossroads between the High Plain of Heaven and Japan and it is here that Ninigi, Amaterasu's grandson, and his entourage meet Sarutahiko on their derscent from heaven to begin their rule of Japan. This old gentleman is obviously not Uzumne, so maybe he is Ninigi.....


The second part of the dance belongs to Sarutahiko....


A break from the theatrical kagura brings us to the Four Swords dance. I have read that originally this dance and Kenmai were once the same dance but then split into 2 separate parts.


The dance increases in tempo and excitement and the audience is well aware when difficult, acrobatic sections have been performed well.....

It was around 2am and there was lots more to come but I was suffering from a bad cold so took my leave early.....

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Masks of Shikoku


During my Shikoku Pilgrimage I actually visited far more shrines than I did temples. One of the things I was hoping to see at the shrines were masks but I was disappointed that compared to shrines in my area or in Kyushu for example there were actually very few masks. These first ones I posted before in the post on Ichibacho Hachimangu, and they remain the strangest looking masks Ive seen in Japan.


On Day 4 at a shrine in Tokushima City I found this Sarutahiko mask.


After my typhoon adventure in the mountains of Tokushima I was invited into a shrine matsuri near temple 22 Byodoji. One of the village men modelled one of the small Sarutahiko masks they had.


On the next day I reached the Tokushima coast at Yuki and found this pair of Oni at a shrine there.


2 weeks later after having walked all the way through Kochi I came across this fine pair of Tengu masks.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Oasahiko Shrine

A more than 15 meters tall torii marks the beginning of the 800 meter long approach road to Oasahiko Shrine. The road itself is lined with dozens of stone lanterns.

The exact date of the shrines founding is unkown, but it is listed in the Engishiki of the early tenth century, and the shrine grew in importance during the next millenium.

In the middle of the main shrines compound is a huge Camphor tree believed to be over 1,000 years old.

The main kami enshrined here are Oasahiko no Okami and Sarutahiko. Oasahiko is the enshrined name of Ame no Tomi, an ancestor of the Imbe clan who was sent by the mythical Emperor Jimmu to find land suitable for hemp cultivation.

Hemp was a very important plant in Japan until Shogun Macarthur outlawed it during the occupation.

Hemp is not mentioned at all at the shrine, and in fact the importance of hemp in Japan has been almost completely removed from history.