Saturday, May 31, 2008

Taishogun Shrine, Nishigamo, Kyoto

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Taishogun is short for Sei-Taishogun, which translates liberally as "barbarian fighting generalissimo", known more commonly as Shogun. Taishogun shrines, however, have nothing to do with the earthly shoguns, rather it refers to a group of kami that offer protection from the different directions. There are 4 Taishogun shrines in Kyoto, one each for the 4 directions, and this one is for protection from the north.
The shrine here was originally established by the local villagers who were rooftile makers. Taking into consideration that rooftile technology was imported from the Korean peninsular, and that this area, the Kyoto basin previously known as Yamashiro, was settled by immigrants from Korea, its a safe bet that this was a Korean shrine. The ruins of the old kilns are said to be still nearby.

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Once Kyoto was established at the end of the 8th Century, it became a Taishogun shrine as Chinese geomancy was very much in favor at that time. The main kami is said to be Susano, specifically the Susano of Yasaka Shrine in Gion, and originally the kami of Yasaka was Gozu Tenno, a Korean god who later came to be equated with Susano.

Due to its location near Kamigamo Shrine, there are tatesuna sandcones in front to the hondens.

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