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Saturday, December 19, 2015

Maroudo Shrine in Itsukushima Shrine

This is part five entry of Itsukushima shrine (厳島神社) in Miyajima island.

Maroudo shrine purification hall

Let's assume that you are approaching the shrine from the big torii gate that looks floating in the ocean. To the left there is sessha shrine (摂社/subordinate to main one) called Maroudo (= guest) shrine (客神社). In reality, this is the first shrine visitors worshipping and praying as this is the closest shrine from the entrance.


                             

                 
The family crest of Itsukushima shrine is called "Mitsumori nijuukikkou ni kenhanabishi  (三つ盛り二重亀甲に剣花菱) meaning triplet (三盛り) double-tortoiseshells (二重亀甲) embedding swords () and diamond-shaped flower (花菱). This crest is well known as that of Izumo Ooyashiro (出雲大社), although Izumo has the singular form. Just to remind you that Izumo Ooyashiro enshrines Okuni (大国主), BTW.


Itsukushima shrine family crest - triplet
Is there a relationship between Itsukushima shrine and Izumo Ooyashiro???

Yes.



Family crest of Izumo Taisha at Yatsuashimon (= 8 legged gate)

Five male deities, Masakatsuakatsukachihayahi amenooshihomimi (マサカツアカツカチハヤヒアメノオシホミミ), Amenohohi (アメノホヒ), Amatsuhikone (アマツヒコネ), Ikutsuhikone (イクツヒコネ), and Kumanokusubi (クマノクスビ) are enshrined in Maroudo shrine. These dudes are born by ritual ceremony called "Ukei (= covenant trial by pledge/誓約)", made between Amaterasu (アマテラス) and Susanoo (スサノヲ). Since they were born from Amaterasu's accessory (アマテラスの玉) named "Yasakaninoihomisumaru (八坂瓊之五百箇御統)", they are considered to be offsprings of Amaterasu.
Needless to say, three enshrined deities, Takiribime (タキリビメ), Ichikishimahime (イチキシマヒメ), and Tagitsuhime (タキツヒメ) in Itsukushima shrine were also born during Ukei ceremony. The name of the shrine came from Ichikishimahime, BTW. Since they were born from Susanoo's sword (スサノヲの剣) named "Totsukanotsurugi (十拳剣)", they are considered to be Susanoo's offsprings.

Image from Wiki
It should be mentioned that the probable reason why Izumo Ooyashiro and Itsukushima shrine share the same type of family crest is that Izumokuninomiyakko (出雲国造) clan, who's been taking care of all the ritual ceremonies in Izumo Ooyashiro, declares that they are descendent from Amenohohi (天穂日命). When you see shrines having this type of family crest, enshrined deities must have something to do with above mentioned five male and three female deities.

On the other hand, shinto priest at Itsukushima shrine has been heredity of Saeki clan (佐伯氏). Kuramoto Saeki (佐伯鞍職), the first shinto priest, received divine message from Ichikishimahime and built Itsukushima shrine in AD 593. The family crest of Saeki family is Gyouyou Kuyou (杏葉九曜 see below) that is different from shrine's family crest. This is probably because Saeki clan is a prominent deity in Aki province but they are not descendant from three enshrined deities.


Saeki clan's family emblem-杏葉九曜
Collectively, five male deities enshrined in maroudo shrine and three female deities enshrined in main hall are siblings and that's why five brothers are invited to be at maroudo shrine.