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2020/02/08

Kashima Jingu Part Two

This is a part two entry of Kashima Jingu. For those who missed the first entry, please visit this.




The enshrined deity of Kashima Jingu and Nakatomi clan

In part one entry, I described that "Takemikazuchi (タケミカヅチ) is commonly regarded as the enshrined deity of Kashima Jingu." whereas Kashima Jingu, of course, officially declares that the enshrined chief deity is Takemikazuchi. It is, however, not crystal clear because Kashima Jingu was not depicted in two Japan chronicles (Kojiki and Nihon Shoki). 
On the other hand, in Hitachi Fudoki (= Chronography in Hitachi province/常陸国風土記) compiled in A.D. 713, the name of the enshrined deity of Kashima Jingu is outlined "Kashima no Amano Ohkami (香島の天の大神= Eminent deity of Kashima)", who descended from the heaven (= territory reigned by Amaterasu called Takamagahara) earlier than the grandson of Amaterasu, Ninigi (ニニギ), did (tenson kohrin/天孫降臨). After all, Hitachi Fudoki did not annotate "Kashima no Amano Ohkami" to be identical to Takemikazuchi.

The first official articles describing the Takemikazuchi being the enshrined deity of Kashima Jingu are Kogo Shui (古語拾遺) compiled in A.D. 807 and Kasugasai norito (春日祭祝詞) in Engishiki-jinmeicho (延喜式神名帳). Kasugasai norito (春日祭祝詞) was said to be compiled when Kasuga taisha (春日大社) was founded in A.D. 768 (older than Kogo Shui). I will elaborate on it below.

How come Takemikazuchi has become an official enshrined chief deity of Kashima Jingu???

The rise of the Nakatomi clan (中臣氏) probably could account for this. Let me briefly review who Nakatomi clan was. 
Along with Inbe clan (忌部氏), Nakatomi clan was responsible for conducting the national rites. The clan claims themselves to be the descendants of Amenokoyane (アメノコヤネ), a deity who was the first to send "norito (祝詞)" when Ameterasu hid herself away behind Amano Iwato (Heavenly door made of rock). For those who are interested in this incident, please visit Amanoyasugawara entryIt is also presumed that Amenokoyane is the offspring of Takemikazuchi because his alternative name, Amatariwake (天足別命), is identical to that of Takemikazuchi's son. 

During Emperor Sujin's reign (B.C. 97- B.C 30), Kashima deity bestowed the divine message to Kamukikikatsu Ohnakatomi (大中臣神聞勝命), who soon advocated Emperor Sujin to donate Kashima Jingu armed weapons. The additional divine message was delivered to Ominosayama Nakatomi (中臣臣狭山命) during Emperor Keikoh (景行天皇)'s reign (A.D. 71-130), who donated Kashima Jingu three ships. The Mifune festival (御船祭) that still takes place every 12 years (on the 2nd of September) even in the 21st century delineates the process of welcoming the messengers sent from Emperor Keikoh.


Kamatari shrine located in the middle of the residential area
In the 7th century when Kamatari Nakatomi (中臣鎌足) who grabbed political influence after Taika reform (大化の改新) at 645, a new family name, Fujiwara (the most distinguished clan in ancient Japan), was granted from the Emperor Tenji to Kamatari when he passed away in A. D. 669. 

It should be noted that the project of compiling Japan chronicles (Kojiki and Nihon Shoki) was initiated by Emperor Tenmu (天武天皇)'s order. Kamatari's son, Fuhito Fujiwara (藤原不比等), had a great influence upon the project because his oldest daughter, Miyako Fujiwara (藤原宮子), is the wife (= Empress) of Emperor Tenmu. She delivered a son, who later on became the Emperor Shohmu (聖武天皇). The meaning of "Fuhito" is "incomparative=invincible! Yeah, his first name explicates his personality and the power he'd grasped. The more political power Fujiwara clan won, the higher divinity Kashima Jingu rose. Well, to be more precise, Fuhito was allegedly able to implement to bestow Takemikazuchi a more prestige in chronicles. History is recorded based on the winner's point of view, you know.  


Kamatari shrine enshrining Kamatari Nakatomi
I repeat. Kashima Jingu was the one out of only three shines called "Jingu".  Even in Fuhito's era, Kashima Jingu was an ancient, distinguished and honored shrine for enshrined deity's military attainments of conquering the new territories (northern part of Japan). It is not surprising to suspect that Fuhito made some cosmetic changes in official chronicles that Fujiwara clan was descendent from Amenokoyane, who is presumed to be a son of Takemikazuchi. Kamatari was rumored to be originated from Hitachi province (sort of hearsay evidence though). In a local newspaper in Hitachi Province (Hitachi fudoki issued in A.D. 713) in which Fuhito had no influence on editing, the chief deity of the prestigious Kashima Jingu was not Takemikazuchi but "Kashima no Amano Ohkami (Eminent deity of Kashima)". In 768, Kasugasai norito (春日祭祝詞) was released from Kasuga shrine that is owned by Fujiwara clan, stating that Takemikazuchi was the enshrined chief deity of Kashima Jingu. It took them 53 years to identify Takemikazuchi the ideal deity enshrined in Kashima Jingu. 

That way, the formula "Kashima no Amano Ohkami=Takemikazuchi" was established.


From Isle of redolence (香島) to the isle of deer 
(鹿島)- Kashima


In 768, Fujiwara clan founded Kasuga Taisha (春日大社) in Nara by carrying the spirit of Takemikazuchi on white deer's back. Besides, Futsunushi, Amenokoyane and Himegami (Koyane's wife) were enshrined there, too. The four deities are collectively called "Kasuga deity (春日神)"


Image from Wiki
That feat took almost a year and the offsprings of the holy white deer flourished. Yes, deer you can meet, touch and give snacks at Nara park originated from Kashima. Unlike their cousins in Nara, deer settling in Kashima Jingu are not free to roam around. Around 30 deer are tamed in the garden.



After the success of the long journey of transferring the spirit of Takemikazuchi, deer is considered to be a holy animal (subordinate to the high-ranking divine spirits) in Kashima Jingu. In the 5th century, Kashima was originally described in Kanji as "香島 (Isle of redolence)". Later on, the kanji was changed to 鹿島 (isle of deer).


The statue of deer

Emperor Jimmu and Futsumitama sword

As described in part one entry, Takemikazuchi appears in Japan chronicles three times. When the Emperor Jimmu made up his mind leaving Himuka (current Miyazaki Prefecture) and headed for the eastern part of Japan, Nara, to conquer (called "Jimmu Tohsei (神武東征)"), his troops faced big trouble after trouble. When they were stuck at Yoshino (southern part of Nara prefecture), Takemikazuchi gave Takakuraji (高倉下) a command to deliver a holy sword called "Futsumitama (フツミタマ)" to Jimmu, which resulted in the triumph of Jimmu's troops. Out of Emperor Jimmu's gratitude to the support from Takemikazuchi, Kashima Jingu was founded on the first year of Jimmu's reign (B.C. 660). 

Futsumitama, originally owned by Takemikazuchi, is dedicated at Isonokami Jingu (石上神宮). It was never returned to Kashima Jingu after all. 



Image from Kashima digital museum
As an alternative,  the gigantic 2.71 meter-long holy blade named "Futsunomitamano tsurugi (韴霊剣)", registered as National treasure, used to be preserved in the main hall of Kashima Jingu. In fact, Kashima Jingu was the place to worship a holy sword.

The layout of the main hall

Toward where does the deity look?



Once again let's ponder at where the enshrined deity is gazing. By looking at the layout of the main hall and the orientation of the sanctum, it appears that the enshrine deity looks toward the Okunomiya (= inner shrine/奥宮) where the fierce spirit, aratama (荒魂) of Takemikazuchi, was worshipped (whereas merciful spirit/nigitama is enshrined in the sanctum of the main hall).


Okunomiya

In appears to me, just by looking at the layout of Kashima Jingu, that Okunomiya is a gatekeeper for safeguarding the "Kaname-ishi (pinning stone/要石).




it is commonly regarded that, back in olden days, people presumed that the earthquake struck when the catfish living underground made moves. To prevent earthquakes, the whim of that underground beast must have been subdued. That's what the Kaname-ishi is all about; to pin the monster underground. The concave-shaped boulder looks like a pebble, however, only the tip of rock-berg is surfaced. Nobody knows the actual size. 

Around Edo period, it was believed that underground catfish causing the earthquake became docile thanks to Takemikazuchi and Futsunushi's divinity. But this narrative sounds quite poetic to me, which made me feel like exploring what truth was behind it...


Kaname-ishi

According to the Nihon Shoki, Takemikazuchi descended to the Hitachi province that had been the hostile ground under the sway of the local power organized by Kagaseo (香香背男). BTW, is it just a coincidence that two "Ka/ga (香)" of "Kashima" are on his name??? It seems to me that his name implies that he is the bloke (o=男) living and/or born in ka (=香; abbreviation of Kashima???), who is against (se=背) the Amaterasu administration.
According to the Kashima Jingu's article, Takemikazuchi descended onto the Iwakura (sacred stone/磐座). He and Futsunushi dispatched Takehazuchi (建葉槌命) to exterminate Kagaseo. BTW, Takehazuchi is enshrined at Takafusa shrine located just in front of the main hall of Kashima Jingu and traditionally back in olden days visitors were told to pray at Takefusa shrine first, then the main hall. There must be a reason but it was lost in translation...


Takafusa shrine (right), enshrining Takehazuchi (建葉槌命) and Kari-den (left)
Later on, the commentaries of that war to eradicate Kagaseo's municipal power turned into the legend that Takemikazuchi and Futsunushi pinned the misbehaved catfish (a symbol of Kagaseo?) with kaname-ishi. The word earthquake might insinuate the Kagaseo's rampage??? 




All in all, it can be interpreted that Takemikazuchi, as skilled Admiral, sent troops to Kashima by a battleship, settled the general headquarter to the place where Kaname-ishi is embedded and pitched the military base camp on the place where Jingu's main hall is currently built. His division eventually wiped out the local opponents. Mission complete.

That being said, it seems to me that Kashima district was the battlefront like wall-street in Manhattan and the Kashima Jingu was built to commemorate the triumph of the Admiral "Kashima no Amano Ohkami".

Thank you for reading to the end.

Fin



2020/01/11

Kashima Jingu Part One

Do you know Ibaraki Prefecture (Wiki here)?


If you know nothing or very little, don't worry. Even the Japanese are not familiar with Ibaraki.

Every year Tokyo-based think-tank named "Brand Research Institute Inc. (ブランド総合研究所)" conducts the local brand survey among 1,000 municipalities (786 cities + Tokyo's 23 wards + 191 towns and villages) and 47 prefectures. Polls collected from around 30,000 anonymous individuals on the web are statistically analyzed by weighted sampling. Hence, the power of brand of the area is numerically converted into "attractiveness" felt by consumers towards each area. Here comes the summary of statistics.

Ibaraki ranks the lowest in the survey for six years (article here)!!!

I personally am familiar with Ibaraki and its products solely because I was born in their neighbor prefecture, Tochigi prefecture, which also ranks among the worst 5 every year! 


The first red torii of Kashima Jingu


Takemikazuchi in Japan chronicles


Kashima Jingu (鹿島神宮) is the most prestigious shrine, Ichinomiya (一の宮), in Hitachi Province (current Ibaraki Prefecture) and the headquarter of Kashima shrines distributed to all over Japan.


Takemikazuchi (タケミカヅチ) is commonly regarded as the enshrined deity of Kashima JinguTakemikazuchi appears in Japan Myth, Kojiki (古事記), three times:
1) Kamiumi (=the birth of the gods: 神産み), 
2) Conquering Ashihara-Nakatsukuni (葦原中国平定), and
3) Emperor Jimmu's conquering eastern part of Japan called "Jimmu Tohsei (神武東征)"


During Kamiumi ceremony conducted by Izanagi (イザナギ) and Izanami (イザナミ), Izanami was burned to death (due to burning her private part off) when she gave birth Kagutsuchi (カグツチ), a deity of fire. Having eye-witnessed Izanami's corpse, Izanagi lost his temper, grabbed the sword named "Totsuka-no-tsurugi" (とつかのつるぎ)/Ameno-ohabari (あめのおはばり or alternatively called Itsuno-ohabari/いつのおはばり) and stabbed Kagutsuchi (= his son) into death. When Kagutsuchi's blood splattered to the rock, three deities were born from there. Alternatively, it is said that eight deities related to fire, thunder, and sword were born. Either way, that's when Takemikazuchi was born.


Kashima Daimyojin (鹿島大明神) =Takemikazuchi

In the chapter entitled "Transfer of the land (= Kuni yuzuri/国譲り" of Nihon Shoki (another Chronicle of Japan), describing the incidents during conquering Ashihara-NakatsukuniTakemikazuchi, together with Futsunushi (フツヌシ), descended to Izumo province where they "negotiated" with Ohkuni (a ruler of Izumo) and his three sons to abandon their nation. The negotiation resulted in a triumph that enabled Amaterasu to have Ashihara-Nakatsukuni under control.

That's why Kashima Jingu has a close relationship with Katori Jingu (香取神宮), worshipping Futsunushi (フツヌシ) as a chief deity. You may notice that two shrines have the term "Jingu (神宮)". Before the Meiji restoration, the permission from Emperor (勅許) was essential for shrines to be called Jingu. In Engishiki-jinmeicho (延喜式神名帳) compiled in A.D. 927 that listed all the then-existing  2861 shrines, only three shrines held "Jingu". The remaining Jingu was, of course, Ise Grand shrine (= Ise Jingu/伊勢神宮), enshrining Amaterasu (アマテラス) whose direct descendants are the Japan Royal family. Needless to say, Katori Jingu is the Ichinomiya in Shimousa Province (下総国). When one more shrine, Ikisu shrine (息栖神社), is combined with Kashima Jingu and Katori Jingu, they are collectively called "Togoku sansha (= three prestigious shrines in Eastern part of Japan/東国三社).



Geographical relevance of three prestigious shrines in East of Japan


Image from Wiki with modifications. The three prestigious shrines locate to constitute "near" rectangular equilateral triangle (dotted lines) 

In Kojiki chapter that corresponds to "Transfer of the land" in Nihon Shoki depicting Futsunushi as an accompanying deity of Takemikazuchi, the accompanying deity is Amenotorifune (アメノトリフネ), who is one of the deities enshrined in Ikisu shrine. Three shrines (well one shrine and two Jingu) are located at bays of ancient inland sea called "Katori-umi (Katori sea/香取海)". More importantly, three shrines geographically constitute a rectangular equilateral triangle, Japanese Wiki says (it's not perfectly formed though).


Utagawa Hiroshige's Ukiyo-e (Image from Wiki), illustrating the Kashima first torii by the Katori sea bayside


In Edo period, visitors launched a boat by the bay and walked to Kashima Jingu.  The first photo on this entry I took is the current 1st Torii, which is the biggest one (18.5 meters tall from a bed) standing in the water.



Mysterious Mitarashi Pond


The same route yet the opposite direction  


Back in the ancient era, it appears that visitors who arrived at the bay rowed a boat further up along the river that ran close to Mitarashi pond (御手洗池) in the precinct of Kashima Jingu (encompassing 70 hectares). 


Rear visitor's path covered with sand

The ancient visitor's route is highlighted in red (map below). "Mitarashi (御手洗)" means "washing hands". The pond could have served as chozuya (手水舎), a water ablution pavilion for a ceremonial purification rite. At present, the visitor's route is the opposite. Visitors approach from the west entrance where the second torii is built (highlighted in blue).




Kashima torii


The current second torii, made of cedar trees (500 years old tree for hashira, 400 years old for kasagi, and 250 years old tree for nuki), was built in 2014 because the previous one that was made of granite was collapsed on March 11th, 2011. Yes, that was when the Tohoku Earthquake struck the northern part of Japan!!! It's not only the second torri that was destroyed but also torii in Mitarashi pond and several more. Kashima Jingu suffered.


Kashima-style torii gate

This type of torii is called "Kashima torii".


Images fro Wiki with editing. Nomenclature on the left and Kashima torii on the right
"The kashima torii (鹿島鳥居) is a shinmei torii without korobi, with kusabi and a protruding nuki"Wiki says. However, it's not so articulate to you, isn't it???

Kashima torii is characterized by the following:
1) Hashira (pillar) and kasagi are cylinder-shaped
2) Nuki is rectangular-shaped with both ends protruding beyond hashira

Once again please take a closer look at photos of first and second torii. Does it make sense?

BTW, the kamebara  (= base stone) of the current second torii (white part in the photo I took) is from the previous torii and wooden torii was built upon the stone. Only the base stone remained after the 3/11 earthquake.




Romon Gate
Romon gate founded on A.D. 1634 was registered as the Important Cultural Property of Japan. The name of the shrine hung on the gate was written by the admiral of the fleet Heihachiro Tohgo (東郷平八郎).


Haiden hall facing north and the gate (not torii) in front of haiden hall

Eighth wonder


Oddly the haiden hall and the main hall (both registered as the Important Cultural Property of Japan) are oriented toward the north that is quite unusual. This could be due to the fact that both Takemikazuchi and Futsunushi deities were dispatched to Katori inland seasides to conquer tribes against Amaterasu, whose territory was the northern part of Japan. To support this, several Kashima shrines to which the spirit of Takemikazuchi was transferred were distributed to the northern part of Japan already in 8th century.


The distribution of Kashima shrines (red circles) in current Miyagi and Fukushima prefecture (Image from Wiki), described in Nihon Sandai Jitsuroku compiled in A.D. 901. Blue circle indicates Shiogama shrine (Ichinomiya in Miyagi prefecture), enshrining Takemikazuchi and Futsunushi.


In front of haiden hall, there is torii, however, this is not Kashima torii because kasagi is rectangular. The volunteer local guides call it a gate. Well, it's just another type of torii but it's just a gate. Nobody knows why the gate is there.

Here is the oddest part (at least to me). The enshrined deity in the sanctum of main hall orients toward the East! 
The layout of the main hall (Image grom Japanese Wiki with editing. Enshrined deity resides in sanctum facing to the East (arrow). It is partitioned into two by three doors.

What does it mean? 

It means visitors praying in front of haiden hall do not pray to Takemikazuchi face-to-face! We are told that the main hall orienting to the north is explained by the missions of Takemikazuchi for watchdogging the power against Amaterasu. 

That does not account for the orientation of Takemikazuchi....

Well, Takemikazuchi is not the only shy deity not facing prayers. Here is another odd deity, Ohkuni enshrined in Izumo OhyashiroOhkuni and Takemikazuchi met in person while negotiation (Kuni-yuzuri/国譲り). When Ohkuni agreed with Takemikazuchi that Ohkuni would abandon his territory, Ohkuni asked Takemikazuchi to build for himself a magnificent palace (Izumo Ohyashiro) – rooted in the earth and reaching up to heaven. According to this narrative, it's not a bad idea to imagine that designers building Izumo Ohyashiro applied the same principle to building the Kashina Jingu's honden, I presume.


The layout of Izumo Ohyashiro main hall. Ohkuni stays at the sanctum, facing to the west. In front of him, five deities face to the south. Ohkuni's son, Wakafutsunushi, is the only one showing the face to prayers.


There are seven wonders about Kashima Jingu, however, the orientation of Takemikazuchi is not included in the list. Personally, I find it the most mysterious wonder of them all.


Komainu dogs can be seen nowhere in Kashima Jingu


In many shrines, a pair of komainu dogs can be found. However, there are exceptional shrines, which involve Meiji Jingu (明治神宮), Ise grand shrine (伊勢神宮) and so on. Actually, there are wooden statues of komainu dogs showcased in the museum of Kashima Jingu  (currently it's closed). As described above, a pair of komainu dogs are in the main hall building! This is also the case in Meiji Jingu
Historically komainu, originally as a lion, was introduced to Japan in the 6th century (during Nara period). Shrines founded earlier than that and didn't change the style till now (i.e. Ise grand shrine) don't own komainu dogs. Shrines such as Kashima Jingu or Meiji Jingu follow the old-fashioned style of komainu exhibition (= keep dogs inside the house -just like Chihuahua owner does). Kashima komainu dogs are invisible to visitors. Besides, they are well-behaved and quiet, nobody notices them unless you know the layout of the main hall. It became common in Edo period for shrines to have a pair of komainu dogs for guarding the entrance, the honden hall, or inner shrine (just as we can see in many shrines today). 
The fact strongly indicates that Kashima Jingu is, indeed, quite an old shrine!


Shall we visit Ibaraki prefecture?


According to the survey, not so many people are keen on heading for Ibaraki prefecture. In other words, there are still a countless number of intriguing places and things to be discovered and shared on the web by visiting the least attractive prefecture of lovely Ibaraki!!!

To be continued...


2019/12/31

Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year

During winter in Japan, myriad of illuminations take place all over Japan to cheer visitors up! Illumination at JR Hakata station, which is decorated with around 800 thousands LED lights, signifies "hope" of our new era, Reiwa (令和).



The kanji characters for Reiwa (令和) are derived from the Man-yohshu (万葉集), an anthology of waka poetry (和歌), compiled in the 8th Century. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan provided an English interpretation of Reiwa as "beautiful harmony".


Symbol tree
According to Fukuoka city official website, they claim their city as a town of light (光の街・福岡) and the symbol tree accounts for it. Illuminated colors of the tree represent those of nature in four seasons.


LED Sky Walk
It takes place from 6th of November to 7th of January (starting from 17:00 till midnight).





Wishing you a Happy New Year 2020!



2019/09/08

Takachiho Shrine

I might as well introduce Takachiho shrine (高千穂神社) where night kagura performance takes place. Please visit part one and part two entries if you are interested in night kagura performance.

Main Hall at night
The enshrined deities are Takachiho sumegami (高千穂皇神) and Jussha Daimyojin (十社大明神). Both Takachiho sumegami and Jussha Daimyojin are collective terms of deities.


Torii gate

Takachiho sumegami includes so called "Himuka Sandai/日向三代 (Three generations of deities settled in Himuka (日向)" and their spouses. That is:




Jussha Daimyojin (十社大明神) are Mikeirinomikoto (三毛入野命) who is a brother of the first Emperor Jimmu (神武天皇), his spouse, Unomehime (鵜目姫) and their offsprings (Mikotaro/御子太郎, Jiro/二郎, Saburo/三郎, Unemi/畝見, Teruno/照野, Ohto/大戸, Reisha/霊社, and Asarabe/浅良部).

Inside of Main Hall
According to the local narratives, Mikeirinomikoto exterminated demon named Kihachi (鬼八) and settled palace there. On the other hand, according to the shrine's articles, a son of Emperor Jimmu rooted Kihachifushi (demon) out. Later on offsprings of Emperor Jimmu were enshrined as Jussha Daimyojin.
Alternatively, Mikeirinomikoto rescued his future wife, Unomehime, from the demon Kihachi and they were married later on, another narrative depicted.



It is widely recognized that the shrine initiated its history when Mikeirinomikoto enshrined Himuka Sandai deities by building Himorogi (sacred altar/神籬). Since then descendant of Mikeirinomikoto's offsprings worshipped enshrined deities. Later on Mikeirinomikoto himself and other Jussha Daimyojin deities were also included as enshrined deities. Eventually during Emperor Suinin (垂仁天皇)'s reign (29 BC- 70 AD), the buildings were made.



Cedar tree named "Couple cedar/夫婦杉" is well known for benefiting a couple (1) happy marriage, (2) family safety and well-being (3) prosperity after making circle around the tree three times. The nickname came from the fact that two independent-looking cedar trees were branched from the same root.