Sunday, September 9, 2012

Akiyoshi Hachimangu


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Akiyoshi Hachiman Shrine in the mountains of Yamaguchi is a fairly typical village shrine. The shrine records date back to the Muromachi period ( 1337-1573) the time Hachiman became the tutelary deity of samurai. There was a major rebuilding in 1771, but the current buildings only date back to 1898.

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The shrine is a branch of the original Usa Hachimangu in northern Kyushu, which is a little unusual in that most Hachiman shrines are branches of the Iwashimizu Hachimangu near Kyoto, itself a branch of Usa Hachimangu. The main kami are Ojin and his mother Jingu, though there are some interesting secondary kami.

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The statue of an Ox suggests Tenjin. Tamayorihime is listed. It may be referring to the Tamayorihime that is connected to the Kamigamo shrine in Kyoto, but it may refer to any other "divine bride", that is to say a woman who has been impregnated by a kami. Jinushigami is also listed. Jinushigami is a kami of a piece of land, but seems to be connected particularly to land that has been "opened up" and turned from wilderness into agricultural land.

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The temple bell at the shrine most probably came from Shofukuji, the temple that occupied the same site as the shrine. It would have been destroyed in early Meiji with the shinbutsu bunri, separation of buddhas and kami.

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The most interesting kami enshrined here, for me at least, is Kudara no kuni Mikado. Kudara was the Korean kingdom in the SW of the Korean Peninsular. Mikado means ruler, so the kami is a ruler of Paekche, the Korean country that had the closest ties to the Yamato rulers, and quite possibly the line of rulers from Ojin might well have been Kudaran.

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I have seen rabbits carved into the centre of lintels at shrines and I thought it meant the shrine was constructed in the year of the rabbit, but I have never seen any of the other zodiac animals carved in the same position so that seems unlikely. One more mystery to solve....

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This ema shows a treasure ship with 2 dogs. This almost certainly was left at the shrine in a Dog Year....

4 comments:

  1. dogs themselves are a treasure ;-)

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  2. I didn't get to go there when I visited Mine City / Akiyoshi Cave.
    I really like the ema! :) I've rarely seen any with dogs on them!

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  3. Brilliant photos, particularly like the ones of the light on the decaying mikoshi

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  4. C'est passionant; merci Jake de partager et d'expliquer ces merveilles*****
    Les photos sont superbes***
    Je suis heureuse de voyager et d'apprendre grace à toi.
    Je te souhaite une belle journée.
    Paule d'Ipernity

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