NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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2008/2/19


奥石神社 Oiso-jinja Oiso Shrine

Jp En

The origin of Oiso Shrine in Azuchi Town, Shiga Prefecture, is unknown, but it is presumed to have been the oratory for the mountain god residing at the top of Mt. Kinugasa. The enshrined deity is Amatsukoyane no Mikoto, an ancestor of the Fujiwara clan.

According to a legend, when Ototachibanahime no Mikoto threw herself into the sea to appease the rage of the sea god and saved Yamato Takeru, who was on his way to the eastern land, she was pregnant and said “I will stay in Oiso Woods and become a guardian goddess for safe childbirth.” From this episode, the shrine is visited by a lot of women who offer a prayer for safe delivery.

Guarded by Oiso Woods, Honden (the main hall) stands at the end of the front approach. It is a 3-bay flowing style building. Tosatsu (the wooden plate staked to a building7s ridgepole stating details of the construction) shows that it was constructed in 1581. The stone monument inscribed with a poem written by Motoori Norinaga, a Japanese scholar of Kokugaku during the Edo period, stands in a corner of the precinct.
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2007/8/13


千万町神楽 Zemanjou-kagura Zemanjo Kagura Dance

Jp En

Zemanjo Kagura Dance is a traditional dance pertaining to the legend of Yamato Takeru. It has been handed down at Yatsurugi Shrine in Zemanjo-cho in Okazaki City, Aichi Prefecture. The Dance is designated as an Important Intangible Cultural Property by the prefecture. According to the shrine record, Yatsurugi Shrine was founded in 1266 by Fujiwara no Hiromasa, and Zemanjo Kagura Dance was already performed at the shrine festival in 1751 as a dedication to its principal deity, Yamato Takeru no Mikoto.

Legend has it that, when Yamato Takeru was on his way to the eastern land to put down the barbarians, the sea was so rough that his troop could not voyage to the opposite shore. Ototachibanahime no Mikoto prayed to the sea god and performed a dance and then threw herself into the sea to appease the rage of the sea god.

In Zemanjo Kagura, two dancers playing the roles of the devil wearing a lion mask and a woman’s kimono and a man named Saizo. The kagura starts with Saizo’s comical Lion Dance to get away the devil by pleasing him. Then the quiet dance of “Suzu-no-mai (Bell Dance)” is performed. After that several dances from Kabuki plays are performed on another stage.
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