Lost at sea 失せ物

Anchors, knives, and other tools, having fallen into the depths of the ocean water, present a problem for fisherman. It breaks the taboo against dropping metal objects into the sea, something that is likely to enrage Ryujinsama, the serpent like water deity. Laying on the bottom, reflecting light, these lost articles known as usemono 失せ物 could scare of the fisherman’s catch. So what to do? Renderings of the lost articles are drawn and offered at the local shrine in order to appease the protectorate deities of the sea.

Usemono shrine

Shrine building.

usemono-1

Hand drawn prayer offerings for a lost knife and hook are posted on the walls. 

usemono-2

Commonly lost objects are anchors. We also see that more than one object may be lost.  Note that the name of the ship is always written, but the dedicator’s name or the date are optional.

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