Showing posts with label yamato takeru. Show all posts
Showing posts with label yamato takeru. Show all posts

Monday, January 19, 2015

Oi Shrine

Oi Shrine is a small village shrine on the shore of the Nakaumi. It is listed in the Izumo Fudoki and therefore must be at least 1300 years old. In the Fudoka it was called Oisha and the kami enshrined was Okuninushi. However the main kami is now Amaterasu, along with Amenokoyane, Nakatsutsu (one of the Sumiyoshi kami), Yamato Takeru, & Homuda Wake (Ojin), along with Okuninushi.

It woud be interesting to know why this whole slew of Yamato kami came to supplant the local Okuninushi, but I can find no information as to when or why this happened.

There is a small Inari shrine next to the main shrine, and, like all the shrines in the region, altars to the local Kojin, in this case 4 in total. Before the twentieth Century these would have been out in the local communities, but the government, in their bid to strengthen their new Shinto religion, closed many of the local shrines and forced the local people to move their altars/shrines to a central shrine more often than not enshrining a "national" kami.

It is obvious that these Kojin altars are the site of much more activity than the main shrine.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

The Month of Little Sleep part 7


Last saturday the villages of Matsukawa had their matsuris, so we started out in Tsuchi, home to one of the best kagura groups in the area, and the teachers of our own villages kagura group.


The night opened with a ceremonial dance, Suzu Kagura, bell kagura. I dont remember ever having seen it before, and the two main sources on Iwami Kagura in English dont mention it, but those books were based in Hiroshima and Masuda and so dont know much of the detail of kagura in our area. The name of the bells that are used are kagura suzu.


Next the kids performed Shiobarai, the dance that purifies the space. Like everything the Tsuchi group does it was tight and fast,,,,,


Next up, Iwato, and while I find it one of the less interesting dances a few moments in this performance grabbed my attention, like when Tajikarao did some wild leaps in front of the cave.......


Around midnight we headed down the valley to the Suwa Shrine in the village of Kamikawado,... not so much a village rather a collection of farms strung along a narrow valley. The village doesnt have a kagura group so our villages were performing here...... Iwato, one more time.....


And one more stop on our way home at the shrine in Ichimura where the dance Yamato Takeru was underway. Ive always found this dance strange because it celebrates the defeat of local leaders by the Yamato, kind of like Native Americans or the Welsh celebrating their subjugation. So deeply has the national identity overidden local, tribal identities....

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Ube Shrine

Ube Shrine is located a little south of Tottori City and was/is the Ichinomiya, first-ranked shrine, of the former Inaba province. In the Meiji period is was classified as the second rank of government supported shrines.

The main shrine building and a picture of the enshrined kami, Takenouchinosukune, were printed on the 5 yen note in the early twentieth century. He is usually depicted with a full, long beard. (very handsome if I do say so myself :)

Within the grounds is a massha, secondary shrine, Kofu Shrine that enshrines, among others, Takemikazuchi, Yamato takeru, Izanagi, and kukurihime.

The main kami, Takenouchinosukune, was of royal descent and served 5 emperors and is most well known for serving the mythical Empress Jingu on her mythical invasion of the Korean Peninsular. He lived to be almost 300 years old, and a set of rocks in the shrine grounds is supposedly where he left a pair of shoes.

28 Japanese clans claim descent from him, most notably the Soga and the Katsuragi.

Now he is known as a guardian of children and while we were there several ceremonies were held for kids even though it was a few weeks after the "official" shichigosan.

Friday, October 29, 2010



The seventh kagura matsuri for us this month was at Kakushi in Gotsu. Being in a town there were lots of people there and lots of stalls. There were lots and lots of kids running around. It was a Monday night but because of the all night matsuri all the local schools were closed next morning.

First dance we saw was Shioharae, the purification of the dance space. We came here about 6 years ago and Kakushi had their own kagura group, in the more traditional 6-beat style. Tonight Tsuchi kagura group were playing. Tsuchi pay the faster 8-beat style. Actually Tsuchi were the teachers of my own village kagura group.


Next up was Hachiman. The Kakushi shrine, like many round here, is a Hachiman shrine. Last year when we did the rounds of the matsuris it seemed that everywhere we turned up they were dancing the Iwato dance. This year it seems to be the Hachiman dance.

Hachiman danced alone, and fought a single demon.


Next up was Yamato Takeru. There are a whole series of myths/legends/stories about the exploits of the prince known as Yamato Takeru, mostly concerned with his subjugation of tribes outside Yamato control in Kyushu, Izumo, and the East. On his way east he is given a sacred sword by his aunt who was the Head Priestess as the Ise shrine. This is the sword that Susano found in the tail of the 8-headed serpent Yamata no Orochi, and gave to his sister Amaterasu the Sun Goddess, ancestor of the Yamato imperial line.


In the East he is almost killed when his enemies lure him alone into a grassy plain. They light the dry grass all around him but he uses the sword to cut down the grass around him and he creates a firebreak. Since this episode the sacred sword, one of the three Imperial Regalia, has been known as Kusanagi, the grass-cutting sword.