Showing posts with label sumo. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sumo. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Shisojima Tenmangu


Shisojima is a small farming settlement in southern Fukuoka near the Homan River.

The village shrine is yet another Tenmangu, very common in the area as Dazaifu Tenmangu is only about 10 kilometers upstream.

There was a small sumo ring for children, but it looked as if it hadn't been used in a while.

Since the early Meiji period a Shishimai, Lion Dance, has been performed here at the festival in September.

A secondary shrine in the grounds is said to enshrine Gozu Tenno, the original kami enshrined at Gion in what is now known as Yasaka Shrine. Over time Gozutenno became identified with Susano. It is said excavations at the shrine here unearthed evidence of Korean settlement.

Many Tenmangu and Tenjin shrines have a statue of an Ox, deriving from the legend that the location of Sugawara Michizane's tomb ( the current main hall of Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine), was decided by the ox pulling the cart carrying his deceased body.

If you look closely you can see that this komainu is male.......

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Sumo Shrine. The legendary origin of Sumo


This small shrine, located a little off the yamanobenomichi in Sakurai, Nara, is the legendary site of the first Sumo match between humans. The mythical origin of Sumo is in a contest between kami in Izumo. Izumo features in the legendary origin too, as the Sumo Shrine enshrines a man from Izumo, Nomi no Sukune, who was the victor in this first bout.

The story is set during the reign of the Great King Suinin who ruled over Yamato during the early 4th Century. There was a braggard named Kuehaya who lived over in Taima, across the Nara Plain at the northern end of the Katsuragi Mountains, who claimed that he was the strongest man in the world. Suinin heard that in Izumo was a man who was stronger, so Suinin invited Sukune to come and fight Kuehaya.


Sukune easily defeated Kuehaya, who died by having his ribs broken and his testicles smashed. I would guess that if contemporary Sumo went back to the traditional rules it would probably reverse its decline in popularity. In return for victory Sukune was given Kuehaya's land and invited to stay in Yamato and serve Suinin. Kuehaya and his fellows became the first makers of Haniwa.

Postscript: It seems there is some kind of unwritten law in Japanese media that forbids the use of the word "sumo" without prefacing it with the phrase "Japan's ancient sport of...". I guess that is to distinguish Sumo from the really, really, really, ancient sports of Roman wresting or Greek wrestling.