Hello Kitty & Shinto ハローキティと神道

Department store display for Sanrio’s Hello Kitty goods. Shinto-like elements: 1. Back display in the shape of votive prayer tablet (絵馬 ema) with a Shinto shrine bell to ring when making a prayer  2. Hello Kitty doll costumed as a shrine maiden (巫女 miko)  3. Small case with image of Hello Kitty as shrine maiden performing a purification ritual  4. Pen case for success in studying and passing exams  5. Votive prayer tablet for writing a wish

Hello Kitty Display

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Hand and foot shrine 手足の神社

At the Mikata Ishi Kannon Shrine in Fukui prefecture, people offer prayers to cure various ailments connected to hands/arms and feet/legs. They write their names and prayers on minature wooden votives in the shape of an arm or leg. In the past they would have offered their own hand carved votive. But now the votives are supplied by the shrine. Crutches on display attest to the healing power of the enshrined deity. Some visitors even dedicated their prosthetic limbs.

Ishi Kannon Shrine

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Protecting the protector お地蔵を守る北陸

Jizo shrine (2)

As seen from this example from Toyama, a stone roadside shrine has been completely covered with a straw matting and a plastic blue sheet to protect it from snow during the winter months.

Whereas in many parts of Japan the roadside statues of the Buddhist saint named “Jizo” is left open to the elements, the people of the Hokuriku region (Fukui, Ishikawa and Toyama prefectures) express their strong devotional ties to Buddhism by wrapping up the Jizo statues and shrines.

Jizo shrine

On the drive leading up to a farmhouse sits an old, moss covered stone shrine enshrining a stone statue of Jizo. The usually exposed front is covered with straw matting to protect the inside statue from the winter snow. This will be removed with the change of the seasons.

Jizo shrine (closeup)

A closeup of the above photo. Even care is taken to ensure that Jizo is able to see out of the shrine by cutting a small window in the protective covering. Perhaps this is evidence of the local people’s strong affection for Jizo.

 

Setsubun 節分

On February 3rd in homes throughout Japan, family members will walk through the rooms of their home throwing beans (mamemaki) in a purifying ritual. While tossing the beans family members will shout  oni wa soto, fuku wa uchi (demons out, good luck in) as if to bring about fortuitous luck in the upcoming year. It is common for one person to

mame (Small)

A bag of beans. While in some parts of Japan the beans used are soybeans, in the Tohoku region peanuts are commonly used. Pictured here is a bag of soybeans.

play the role of the oni (demon) in this ritual. Often the father of the household is relegated to this job. During this period of seasonal change, like others, was believed to have been a time when evil spirits and monsters gathered, and caused plagues and other disasters. Family members will also eat an amount of beans in accordance with their individual ages sometimes adding one. The addition of one bean may be a symbolic assurance of living another year or may reflect kazoedoshi (a traditional method of counting age in which the one year is counted for time in the womb). Beans are eaten so as to ward off evil and increase resistance to illness.

 

oni

When purchasing beans at a store, a paper mask of an oni (demon) is provided as well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Article: Folk performance 論文:伝統芸能

An article (in Japanese) examining the traditional folk performances names has been earlier published in the journal of the Folklore Society of Aomori Prefectures.

「中野神楽におけるイエの祭り―三戸郡南郷村中野地区の事例から―」という論文を青森県民俗の会の 『青森県の民俗』 第四号に2004年に載せられました。ここで、改めて紹介します。

論文の抜粋

一、はじめに

イエを舞台に行われてきた信仰に基づく行事や祭りは、戦後民法によるイエ制度崩壊の影響を受け、近年の農村においても希薄になった感がある。そのようにして古い習慣がすたれつつある現代ではあるが、青森県三戸郡南郷村において、今もなお年に一回開催される春祈祷は、人々の紐帯の機会となっている。

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Article: Shrine system 論文:四十八社

An article (in Japanese) examining the one villages shrine system was previously published in Tohoku University’s journal The Bulletin of the Tohoku Culture Research Room.

「島守四十八社にみる地域と信仰―三戸南郷村島守地区の事例から―」という論文を 『東北文化研究室紀要』に載せられました。ここで、改めて紹介します。

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Article: A shaman’s protectorate deities 論文: 日本シャマニズム

An article (in Japanese) examining the acquisition of protective deities by a woman who was to become has been earlier published in the journal of the Folklore Society of Tohoku .

「津軽のカミサマの成巫過程―守り神を手がかりに―」という論文を東北民俗の会の 『東北民俗』第36輯 に載せられました。ここで、改めて紹介します。

論文の抜粋

一、はじめに

日本列島の最北端、津軽地方にはカミサマと呼ばれる民間宗教者が多数活躍し、この地方の信仰風景において無視できない存在となっている。カミサマは「霊感」と呼ばれる特殊能力をもつ点から、地域社会において祈祷師あるいは霊媒者といった社会的役割を果たしている。

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Questionnaire: Where they dwell 大学生に対するアンケート(どこに宿る)

This is a questionnaire given to university students.  大学生に対するアンケート.

Do you agree with the following:  あなたの意見は、次のような考え方と一致しますか.

Question  問い

  1. Deities reside in mountains and rivers, trees and plants and the like. 山や川、草や木にはカミが宿っている.
  2. If you do not purify (bless) automobiles, boats, airplanes and the like an accident will occur.  自動車や船、飛行機などはお祓いをしないと事故が起こる.
  3. The rice deity resides in the rice plant.  稲には稲のカミがいる.
  4. The deity of the rice paddy resides in the rice fields.  田園には田のカミがいる.
  5. Calamity will befall you (you will be cursed) if you mistreat or kill animals.  動物をいじめたり殺したりするとたたりがある.
  6. Calamity will befall you (you will be cursed) if the spirit/soul of those who have died (the dead) are not given prayers and offerings.  亡くなられた方(死者)の霊魂に供養しないとたたりがある.
  7. Nature has a “life” and is itself living.  自然は「いのち」をもって生きている.
  8. Everything on earth exists to be used (to serve) humans.  地球上の全てのものは人間に利用されるためにある.
  9. People are one part of nature.  人間も自然の一部である.
  10. It’s possible to have a strong attraction to anime characters bordering on love.  アニメ・ゲームなどのキャラクターに大きな魅力として感じ、恋に近い感情を抱くことはあり得る.

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