Friday, November 14, 2008

Sotoura Konpira Shrine, Matsubara, Hamada.

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Sotoura is a small settlement at the head of a small inlet by Matsubara in Hamada. The small Konpira Shrine is built on top of a rocky outcropping.

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The roof of the honden is odd!... the chigi (cross pieces) are aligned at 90 degrees to each other. I've seen this one time before, and if memory serves me well it was also a Konpira shrine. I have no idea if it means anything, but am still trying to find out.

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Konpira is a very popular kami, known mostly as a protector of journeys, kind of like St. Christopher. As most journeys in ancient Japan were by sea, it's not surprising that they can often be found in coastal villages..

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Like most Japanese Kami, Konpira has gone through many identities and forms. Originally a Hindu god, for most of the past Konpira was a Buddhist god. In the late 19th Century when the government created the new state religion of Shinto they changed its name to Kotohira, though most people still use the name Konpira. The government also decided that Kotohira was really an ancient Japanese Emperor, ... a lot of emperors werte enshrined by State Shinto, though that was not traditional.

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