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2008/4/22


道祖神 Dousojin Dousoshin Deity

Jp En

Dousoshin, or dousojin, is a deity worshiped since ancient time in Japan.
Dousoshin stone monuments are located mainly at such places as at the border of a community, the boundary of a village and at the site of crossroads or the junction of three roads.
Dousoshin is believed to originate in China and came to be worshipped as the guardian of a community. People also pray to be blessed with many children, have a prosperous future, as well as for road safety. The worship was eventually combined with Chimata Deity, a Japanese roadside deity, and a folk faith that existed originally in Japan.  When Jizo Bosatsu, a guardian deity of children, was introduced, the syncretic belief was again merged with Jizo belief and it became widespread throughout Japan.
Dousoshin has many different appearances. Some of the most common monuments are natural stone untouched, a stone monument with an epitaph and a stone engraved with a couple. In some cases, it is a Koushin stone tower engraved with Shoumenkongou, a principal image of Koushin belief which was based on Doukyo, or Taoism, religion from China.
There was never a definitive form of dousoshin and it is quite characteristic to see many different appearances unique to a region or the people who built it. It is estimated that there exists more than 9,000 different dousoshin throughout Japan, evidence that dousoshin is a representative example of Japanese spiritual life which is said to worship 8 million different deities.
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