Shinto: The Way of the Gods/Chapter 8
THE PANTHEON, MAN DEITIES.
I. DEIFIED INDIVIDUAL MEN.
None of the Dii majores of the more ancient Shinto are deified individual men, and although it is highly probable that some of the inferior mythical personages were originally human beings, I am unable to point to a case of this kind which rests on anything more than conjecture.
Take-minakata, the deity of Suha in Shinano, may be a real ancestral deity. He is very popular at the present day. This God is not mentioned in the Nikongi, but his legend is given in the Kojiki and Kiujiki. He was a son of Ohonamochi, who, after his father's submission, refused allegiance to the Sun-Goddess and fled to Suha, where he was obliged to surrender, his life being spared. Tradition says that the present Oho-hafuri, or chief priests of Suha, are direct descendants of this deity. The inhabitants hold that the God is the Oho-hafuri, and that the Oho-hafuri is the God. An oracle of the God is quoted to this effect: "I have no body, the hafuri is my body." His house is called the shinden or divine dwelling. He never leaves the neighbourhood, and takes precedence of the chief local official. At every change of office the newly appointed high priest formerly received a cap of honour and robes from the Palace of Kiôto. He takes no active part in the ceremonies of the annual festival, but sits on a chair in the middle of the sacred plot of ground and receives the obeisances of the people. This festival is called the mihashira-matsuri or "festival of the august pillars." It is so called because instead of a shrine there is only a plot of ground containing a "rock-cave" with a great wooden post at each of the four corners.
Hachiman.—The War-God Hachiman is one of the most conspicuous of the later Shinto deities. His origin is really unknown, but he is placed provisionally among deified human beings in accordance with the accepted tradition which makes him identical with the very legendary Mikado Ôjin. The ultimate authority for this statement is an oracle of the God himself delivered hundreds of years after Ôjin's death. There is no mention of his worship in the Kojiki or Nihongi, and the legends which carry it back to A.D. 570 are unworthy of credence. The original seat of this cult was Usa, in the province of Buzen, an old Shinto centre. Hachiman seems to have first come into notice in 720, when he rendered efficient assistance in repelling a descent of Koreans on Japan. Forty years later Kiyomaro, the founder of the great Minamoto family, made use of his oracles to thwart the ambitious projects of a priest named Dôkiô, the Wolsey of Japanese history. The rise of the Minamoto family carried with it that of the God who had been so useful to them. In Seiwa's reign (859-880) a temple was erected to him at Ihashimidzu near Kiôto, where he received Imperial presents, and even visits. In 1039 he was given a high place in the State religion.
Hachiman is nominally a Shinto God. His Shinto quality is recognized in various ways, notably by the erection of the distinctive Shinto gateways known as torii, before his shrines. But his cult is deeply tinctured with Buddhism. The numerous inspired utterances ascribed to him are thoroughly Buddhist in character. In several of these he calls himself Bosatsu (Bodhisattwa), which is a Buddhist term something like our saint. He is also credited with giving instructions for the celebration of an annual festival for the release of living things, which is, of course, a humanitarian Buddhist institution, wholly foreign to the rôle of a Japanese War-God.
The shintai of Hachiman may be a pillow, a fly-brush, an arm-rest, or a white stone.
Other legendary mortals, who in later times were honoured as War-Gods, are Jimmu, the founder of the Imperial dynasty, Jingō, the conqueror of Korea, Takechi no Sakune, her counsellor, and Prince Yamato-dake, the hero who subdued the east of Japan. None of these are treated as deities in the older Shinto books.
Temmangu, the God of Learning and Calligraphy, is undoubtedly a deified human being.
"There is nobody in the world, high or low, old or young, man or woman, who does not look up with reverence to the Divine power of Temmangu. More especially children who are learning to read and write, and their teachers, all without exception, enjoy his blessings. Every one is therefore desirous of knowing the exact truth concerning him. But there are many false notions handed down by vulgar tradition. Chinese scholars have wantonly done violence to the history of an awful deity by introducing Chinese ideas, while the Buddhists, on the other hand, have been guilty of disfiguring the story by all manner of forced analogies. Sad to say, there is no book in which the real facts have been set down after investigation."
The above is the exordium of a preface to a short life of Temmangu, prepared by Shintoists of the Hirata school. Of the work itself the following is a brief summary. The main facts of the story are beyond question. But the reader will see that, notwithstanding the claims put forward in the preface, this work must be taken with not a few grains of salt.
Temmangu's name as a mortal man was Sugahara Michizane. He was born in 845, and carne of a family which had a hereditary reputation for learning. Nomi no Sukune, deified as the patron of wrestlers and potters, was one of his ancestors. Through him Michizane traced his descent up to the Sun-Goddess herself. As a child he was fond of study, and at an early age his knowledge of Chinese was such that he was appointed to entertain an ambassador from China. Being ordered by the Mikado to pray for rain, he observed the rules of ritual purity for several days, and then prepared a form of prayer to the God of Hakusan (Izanagi), which had the desired effect. He established a system of national education, and therefore became known as the " Father of letters." On reaching his fiftieth year he received congratulations and a present of gold dust from a genie. Soon afterwards he was made Prime Minister. In 901, owing to the calumnies of a rival statesman, he fell into unmerited disgrace and was banished to Kiushiu. On his departure he addressed the following lines to a plum tree in his garden:—
When the east wind blows,
Emit thy perfume
Oh thou plum-blossom;
Forget not the spring,
Because thy master is away.
A branch of this tree broke off spontaneously and followed him into exile. There it planted itself in the ground and took root. Two years after, Michizane climbed a high mountain and, standing on tiptoe on the summit, prayed with all his heart and all his body for seven days and seven nights to Tentei (the Supreme Lord of Heaven). Whilst doing so his hair and beard turned white. The Tentō (way of Heaven) had doubtless pity on an innocent man, for a cloud overspread the sky and bore up his petition into the Great Void. Michizane, overjoyed that his prayers were answered, made nine obeisances and retired. He died soon after, in his fifty-ninth year, to the great grief of the whole nation. Two years later, in accordance with a divine inspiration, a small shrine was erected to him under the title of Tem-man-ten-jin (the heavenly Kami who fills the heavens). In a few years Michizane's calumniator died by a curse from him. Other members of his family had the same fate. From the ears of one of his enemies small snakes issued who declared themselves the messengers of Michizane. When Prince Yasuaki died, in 923, everybody said that his death was owing to a curse sent by Michizane's spirit. Then the Minister of State Kintada died suddenly. Three days after, he came alive again, and informed the Mikado that he had been to the Court of the King of Hades, where he saw Michizane, ten feet high, present a petition for an inquiry into the crime committed by the Mikado in banishing him unjustly. Influenced by Kintada's report, the Mikado burnt the decree of exile, recalled Michizane's children, and conferred posthumous honours upon him. But the angry ghost was still unappeased. In 929 it came down from Heaven and appeared to a former friend of his. Terrible storms, inundations, and other portents ensued. Ministers who tried to stay him from further ravages were burnt or kicked to death. Ultimately the ghost appeared before the Mikado and protested his innocence, after which the Kami, as he is called, ascended. From this day forth the Mikado suffered from a poison which, in spite of prayers of all kinds, grew worse and worse. He abdicated in 930, and died a few days later.
Michizane's ghost continued to plague the nation. In 943 he appeared to a mean woman of Kiôto, and directed that a shrine should be erected to him in that city. In 947 a boy of six years of age delivered an oracle from him to the following effect: "All the Thunder-Gods and Demons to the number of 168,000 have become my servants. If any one does evil I have him trampled to death by them. Pestilence, eruptive diseases, and other calamities have been placed in my hands by the Supreme Lord of Heaven, and no Kami, however powerful, can control me. But I will give help to those who piously express their sorrow." Eight persons who were present took down this revelation in writing. At this time the shrine of Kitano at Kiôto was erected to him. But his wrath was not yet wholly stayed. Further honours were therefore awarded and gifts made to him. In 1004 the Mikado visited Kitano in person. At the present day Temmangu is one of the most widely worshipped of Shinto deities. In 1820 there were twenty-five shrines to him in Yedo and the neighbourhood.
"He still hates the wicked, who do not keep the way of filial piety, and withholds his favour from those who dislike learning. You must therefore attend strictly to the commands of your parents and the instructions of your teachers. You must serve your chief with diligence, be upright of heart, eschew falsehood, and be diligent in study so that you may conform to the wishes of Temmangu. If you fail to do so, you will be cursed by him, and sooner or later incur calamity. For although the Kami cannot be seen by men, they will know whether their conduct is good or bad, and whether their hearts are upright or perverted."
Although the life of Temmangu, from which the above account is taken, was compiled by men of the "Pure Shinto" school, and though in the preface the importation of Buddhist and Chinese ideas is stigmatized, it is itself penetrated with elements of this very kind. The "Supreme Lord of Heaven" is Chinese, and the Hades to which Michizane descended is not the Shinto Yomi, but the Buddhist Jigoku. No doubt the authors found these things in their materials, and were loth to excise edifying incidents, however badly they fitted in with Shinto theology.
The acquaintance of the Japanese with the Chinese cult of Confucius must have greatly promoted, if it did not originate the worship of a native God of Learning. It will be observed that the attribution of nature-powers to Michizane was a substantial part of the process of deification, which was based on the alternate influence of the emotions of gratitude and fear.
Nomi no Sukune, the Patron-God of wrestlers, was probably a real human being. Hitomaro, the Poet-God, was undoubtedly so. Another muse of poetry, Sotoöri-hime, belongs to more legendary times, but was probably likewise a real person. lyeyasu, the founder of the last dynasty of Shōguns, was deified under the title of Tōshō Gongen, but this, like many other similar apotheoses, is, in reality, Buddhist rather than Shinto.
II. GODS OF CLASSES.
Ministers and Attendants of the Sun-Goddess.—The application of the hereditary principle to Government offices has had many vicissitudes in Japan. When the country emerges into the light of history, both Court offices and local chieftaincies were usually transmitted from father to son. Among the hereditary institutions of this kind were the Be. The Be were Government corporations charged with some special branch of service. There were Be of weavers, of farmers, of potters, &c., a Be for the supply of necessaries to the Palace, an executioner's Be, and others. If we imagine a dockyard staff in which the director and officials belonged to a governing caste, the artisans being serfs, and the whole having a more or less hereditary character, we shall have a tolerably correct idea of a Be.
The Gods of five Be are represented as in attendance on the Sun-Goddess, and as accompanying Ninigi to Earth when he was sent down to be its ruler. These were:—
Koyane, ancestor of the Nakatomi House. The etymology of Koyane is uncertain. The worship of this deity had a special importance, from the fact that he was the Ujigami of the Fujihara family, a branch of the Nakatomi, which for many centuries supplied a large proportion of the Empresses and Ministers of State. It would hardly be too much to say that the Fujiharas were the Imperial House. The shintai of Koyane was a jewel or shaku, that is, a tablet borne by Ministers as an emblem of office. Hirata identifies with him a deity named Koto no machi no Kami, or God of Divination. The corresponding deity in the Idzumo myth of Ohonamochi was Ama no hohi. The supposed descendants of this deity had charge of the sacred fire which was handed over by one generation to another with great ceremony.
Futodama.—Futodama means great gift or offering. The Imi-be, his reputed descendants, discharged a number of duties connected with the State religious ceremonies, including the provision of sacrificial offerings.
Uzume means "dread female." She was the ancestress of the Sarume, or "monkey female," who performed religious dances (kagura) at Court and delivered inspired utterances. Hirata identifies this deity with Oho-miya no me (great-palace-female), worshipped as one of the eight Gods of the Jingikwan, or Department of Religion. She represents the chief lady officials of the Palace as a class. Uzume, in announcing to the Sun-Goddess the approach of Susa no wo, discharged one of their duties. From another point of view she is a type of the wise woman, sorceress, or prophetess. She was prayed to for long life, for protection from evil by night and by day, for honours, and for posterity. One of the norito splits up Oho-miya no me into five separate deities.
Ishikoridome means apparently "the stonecutter." Why should the supposed ancestor of the mirror-makers have received this name? The circumstance that stone moulds for casting bronze objects have been found in Japan suggests a possible answer.
Toyo-tama, "rich jewel," the ancestor of the jewel-makers' Be, requires no explanation.
The Kiujiki gives a list of thirty-two deities as forming the Court of Ninigi on his descent to Earth, and adds the names of the noble families who were descended from them. A few of these are nature-deities. Of the remainder some may be deified real men, but I prefer to reckon them provisionally along with such class conceptions as Tommy Atkins, John Bull, Brother Jonathan, and Mrs. Grundy.
Koto-shiro-nushi is one of those secondary formations in which the personification of nature and the deification of man meet and mingle. As the son and counsellor of the Earth-God and Creator Ohonamochi he is related to the class of nature-deities, while as an individualized type of a class of human beings and as the supposed ancestor of certain noble families he belongs to the current of thought which exalts man to divinity.
Shiro in this God's name is for shiru, "to know," and so to attend to, to manage, to govern. Koto-shiro-nushi is, therefore, "thing-govern-master." The character and functions of this deity are not well defined. He was one of the Gods who advised Jingô's famous expedition against Korea, on which occasion he described himself as "the Deity who rules in Heaven, who rules in the Void, the gem-casket-entering-prince, the awful Koto-shiro-nushi." In the Ohonamochi myth he is represented as his father's chief counsellor. Owing to his services in persuading him to transfer the Government of Japan to Ninigi without resistance, he was held in great honour at the Mikado's Court, of which he was considered one of the principal protectors. The Jingikwan included him among the eight Gods specially worshipped by them to the neglect of many more important deities, including even his father, Ohonamochi. In the Manyôshiu he is called upon by a lover to punish him if he is insincere in his protestations. In modern times the cult of Koto-shiro-nushi has fallen into decay, while that of his rebellious younger brother, the God of Suha, flourishes greatly. The pious Motoöri is much perplexed and grieved by this state of things.
Sukuna-bikona.—Another God who is associated with Ohonamochi in myth and worship is the dwarf deity, Sukuna-bikona (little-prince). He is said to have taught mankind the arts of brewing, magic and medicine, and to have provided medicinal thermal springs, where he is still worshipped. But in modern times his cult has been greatly superseded by that of Yakushi the Indian Esculapius, whose avatar he is supposed to be.
I take Sukuna-bikona to be a deified type of medicine man, a "Father of medicine" in the abstract. But the story related of him may have some foundation in the history of a real person.
III. GODS OF ABSTRACT HUMAN QUALITIES.
Sahe no kami.—The Sahe no kami are phallic deities. In approaching this subject, it behoves me to walk warily. For, to some writers so repulsive that they shirk even its necessary elucidation, it exercises a fascination upon others which is not conducive to sound reasoning. Has not a President of the Anthropological Institute declared that "so soon as a man begins to study phallicism he goes crazy"? With phallicism we may conveniently associate the corresponding cult of the kteis.
In Japan, the phallus symbolizes two distinct, although not unrelated, principles. Primarily, it represents the generative or procreative power, and is recognized in this capacity by myth and custom. By a natural transition it has become the symbol of the more abstract conception of lusty animal life, the foe to death and disease. Hence its use as a magical prophylactic appliance. In Shinto, this latter principle is much the more prominent. It is embodied in the name Sahe no kami, which means "preventive deities." The application of this epithet is clear from the circumstance that in a norito they are invoked for protection against the "unfriendly and savage beings of the Root Country," that is to say Yomi or Hades. These by no means imaginary personages are the same as the Ugly Females, the thunders generated from Izanami's dead body and the armies of Yomi of myth. They represent, or rather are identical with, diseases and other evils associated with death and the grave. Epidemic and contagious diseases are specially intended. Hence the Sahe no kami are also called Yakushin, or "Pestilence Deities," meaning the Gods who ward off pestilence, a phrase wrongly taken in later times to signify the Gods who produce pestilence. The use of the phallus and kteis for this purpose is primarily magical, and rests on the well-known principle that a symbol possesses something of the virtue of the thing which it represents. The deification of these symbols came later.
In the norito entitled Michiahe there are three Sahe no kami, namely, Yachimata-hiko, Yachimata-hime, and Kunado. The first two of these names mean "eight-road-fork-prince" and "eight-road-fork-princess." Kunado is the "come-not-place," and is, therefore, an equivalent to a notice of "no thoroughfare" addressed to any evil beings who might attempt to pass that way. An alternative form of this word is Funado, or "pass-not-place."
There is a good deal of confusion about the Sahe no kami. Yachimata-hiko and Yachimata-hime are not mentioned in the Kojiki or Nihongi. The Kiujiki has a Chimata no kami (God of the Crossways), which it says is also termed Kunado no kami, and adds two others named Naga-chiha no kami and Michijiki no kami, both of which names imply a connexion with highways. The Nihongi makes five of these deities, adding two to the three of the Kiujiki. All are associated in some way or another with Izanagi's descent to Yomi, having been produced either from the articles flung down by him during his flight thence, or when he washed in the sea in order to purify himself from the pollutions contracted during his visit.
These deities had no temples. The festivals in their honour took place at crossways on the four sides of the capital, or at the frontier of the metropolitan province, regularly at the close of the sixth and twelfth months, and at other times upon occasions of emergency. Thus in 735, during an epidemic, the Governor of Dazaifu in Kiushiu was ordered to celebrate a michi-ahe, or Road festival, and in 839 the Mikado directed that honours should be paid to the Gods of Pestilence. A ceremony in honour of the Sahe no kami was also performed two days before the arrival of foreign envoys in the capital, in order to guard against the danger of their bringing with them infection, evil influences, or demons from abroad.
A work entitled 'Fusô Ryakki' states that in 938 Gods were carved in wood and set up face to face along the highways and byways, or female forms were made and set up opposite to males. Children worshipped them boisterously, and made reverent offerings of pieces of cloth and fragrant flowers. They were called Chimata no kami, that is to say "Gods of the Crossways," or Mitama (august spirits), a term which in its Chinese form Goryō is still preserved in the name of the great festival (Goryōye) of Gion at Kiôto. The Chimata no kami can be no other than Yachimata-hiko and Yachimata-hime. A later notice speaks of the worship of wooden figures, male and female, provided with sexual organs. Similar figures in stone may still, Hirata says, be seen in the eastern provinces, where they are sometimes mistaken for Jizō, the Buddhist children's God, and honoured in the temples.
The third of the Sahe no kami of the norito, namely, Kunado, can be nothing but a simple phallus. Its shape, formed of Izanagi's staff, is consistent with this view. In the Tsujiura, or Cross Roads divination, this God was represented by a staff. The same inference is suggested by its association with Yachimata-hiko and Yachimata-hime, who, as we have seen, were unquestionably phallic deities; and also with the peach, which, like Kunado himself, was used by Izanagi for his protection against the evil beings of Yomi. Like the apricot in India and the pomegranate in ancient Greece, the peach is in China and Japan the acknowledged representative of the kteis, as the pestle and the mushroom are of the phallus. Peach-wood staves were used in the oni-yarahi (demon-expelling) ceremony on the last day of the year. A similar interpretation is, perhaps, applicable to the horseshoes nailed over doors in England which, intended at first to keep out evil spirits, are now meant simply "for luck," in accordance with the tendency for the more special functions of Gods and magical appliances to become obscured and merged in a hazy, general notion of their beneficence or usefulness. Peach-shaped charms from China figure in a London tradesman's catalogue which has just reached me.
There is a custom, called sammai, of scattering rice, which was formerly observed at purification ceremonies, and is kept up at the present day in rooms where there is a new-born child. Hirata tells of a case in which the rice so scattered was found marked with blood-stains, showing, as he infers, that the object of this practice was to drive off demons, not to conciliate them by an offering. I have more than a suspicion that the efficacy of rice for this purpose, and also of the beans used to drive off demons on the last day of the year, is due to a resemblance of this kind.
The wo-bashira (male-pillar) is doubtless only a modified Kunado. This term is applied to the end-post of the railing of a bridge or of the balustrade of a staircase, and is so called from its obviously phallic shape and function. It is a post surmounted by a large knob, and its position commanding the thoroughfare shows that it is intended to arrest the passage of evil beings or influences. It is still to be seen everywhere in Japan, but its meaning is now forgotten. The end-tooth of a comb was also called wo-bashira. We now see the significance of Izanagi's selection of this object for converting into a torch in order to light up the darkness of Yomi. In Italy even at the present day the phallus fulfils a similar function.
The phallus appears in another form at the festival held in honour of the Sahe no Kami on the first full moon in every year. The Makura no Sōshi, written about A.D. 1000, tells us that it was then the custom for the boys in the Imperial Palace to go about striking the younger women with the potsticks used for making gruel on this occasion. This was supposed to ensure fertility. It reminds us of the Roman practice at the spring festival of Lupercalia, alluded to by Shakespeare in his 'Julius Caesar':—
"Forget not in your speed, Antonius,
To touch Calphurnia; for our elders say
The barren touched in this holy chase
Shake off their steril curse."
The Japanese novelist and antiquary Kiōden, writing about a century ago, informs us that a similar custom was at that time still practised in the province of Echigo. He gives a drawing of the sticks used for the purpose, of the phallic character of which there can be no doubt. They were called kedzurikake (part-shaved), and consisted of wands whittled near the top into a mass of adherent shavings, as in the illustration.Kedzurikake of elder or willow are still made in some places. In Harima, on the I4th day of the 1st month, kedzurikake are hung up under the eaves in substitution for the kadomatsu, or fir trees placed by the entrance gate at the New Year. In Suwo, kedzurikake, made of a thorny tree called tara, are placed on each side of the front and back doors at this season, no doubt with the object of averting evil influences. When the kadomatsu and other New Year's decorations are removed on the 15th day of the 1st month, they are in many places collected by the boys as material for a bonfire. This is called dondo or sagichō, and the burning of the kedzurikake is a feature of it. In the Yamagata ken, wherever there are stone images of Dōsōjin, the phallic God of Roads, the boys at this time make a bonfire of fir trees and straw, and build for themselves a hut beside it. When the people assemble, they come out and fire it. If the dumplings made on the 14th are roasted in this fire and eaten, malignant diseases need not be feared during the ensuing half year. In Hitachi this hut is called the "Hall of the Sai no Kami." The embers are used for re-lighting the domestic fires or kept as charms against pestilence. Fire, kindled from kedzurikake after prayer, was given out to the people by the priests of Gion in Kiōto on the last day of the year. It was transferred to a slow match, and used for rekindling the household fires, the object being to prevent pestilence during the coming year. The mythical burning of a wobashira (also a phallic emblem) by Izanagi in Yomi was probably suggested by some such custom. It will be observed that the prophylactic virtue of the phallus has not been forgotten in the kedzurikake.
The kedzurikake are sometimes described as the shintai of Dōsōjin, and are placed on the domestic altar to be worshipped as his representative. They are also, by a known confusion of ideas, presented to the Gods as offerings. The Ainus of Yezo, who have adopted the kedzurikake as the general form of offering to their Gods at all times, and attach to it no phallic signification, were no doubt familiar with this use of it by their Japanese neighbours. It is by them called inao or nusa, the latter being the old Japanese word for offering. The facility with which such offerings could be prepared by savages must have been a recommendation.
The two cylindrical shingi, or "divine sticks," eight or nine inches in circumference and one foot long, thrown to the crowd by the priests of Seidaiji, near Okayama, on the night of the 14th day of the 1st month, and called o fuku (luck), to keep off pestilence and bring prosperity, are probably of phallic origin.
The gruel partaken of at the Sahe no Kami_Jestiyal on the 15th of the 1st month was made of rice, and was coloured with an admixture of the small red bean called adzuki. The bean is a well-known synonym in Japan for the kteis. The colour red is also significant. It suggests the ruddy complexion of health caused by an abundance of life-giving blood in the lips and cheeks. Children love this colour. Max Nordau says: "As a feeling of pleasure is always connected with dynamogeny or the production of force, every living thing instinctively seeks for dynamogenous sense impressions. Now red is especially dynamogenous." In 'Œdipus Tyrannus,' the Chorus invoke the aid of ruddy-faced Bacchus against pestilence. In Korea red is a terror to devils. A modern Japanese writer says that red is obnoxious to devils on account of its cheerful appearance.
Small-pox being a Kijin biō, or demon-sent disease, the colour red is freely employed in combating it. The candles at the bedside are red, and the clothing of the patient and nurse. The God of Small-pox is worshipped with offerings of red gohei (there is here some confusion of ideas) and of red adzuki beans. Red paper is hung round the necks of the bottles of sake offered to him. Red papier maché figures of Daruma are placed near the sick-bed. It is explained that red, being a yô (male, bright, positive) colour, is fitted to counteract dark, wintry, negative influences. The potency of red as a charm against small-pox is not unknown to European folk-lore.
Phalli are coloured a bright red, or, what comes to the same thing, gilt. Saruta-hiko, a phallic deity, has a bright red complexion. Torii are painted red. Demons and stage villains have red faces, probably as an indication of great animal vigour.
Griffis, in his 'Mikado's Empire,' tells us that "when by reason of good fortune or a lucky course of events there is great joy in a family it is customary to make kowameshi, or red rice, and give an entertainment to friends and neighbours. The rice is coloured by boiling red beans with it. If for any cause the colour is not a fine red, it is a bad omen for the family." There is a modern superstition that if, on the 7th day of the 1st month, a male swallows seven, and a female fourteen red beans, they will be free from sickness all their lives.
The Tō-yū-ki, a work published in 1795, has the following: —
"In many places along the highway at Atsumi, in the province of Deha, where the cliffs stand up steeply on both sides, shime-naha are stretched across from one cliff to another. Below these shime-naha there are placed skilfully carved wooden phalli fronting the road. They are very large, being seven or eight feet in length and perhaps three or four feet in circumference. I thought this too shocking, and questioned the inhabitants why they did so. Their answer was that it was a very ancient custom. They were called Sai no kami and were made afresh every year on the 15th day of the 1st month. As they were local Gods, they were by no means neglectful of them, allowing them to remain even when high officials passed that way. They were not at all, I was told, put up for the amusement of the young folks. Moreover, seeing a number of slips of paper attached to the shime-naha, I inquired what they might be. It appeared that they were fastened there secretly by the women of the place as a prayer for handsome lovers. Truly this is one of those old customs which linger in remote parts. Phalli and ktenes of stone are worshipped by the country-folks in many places as the shintai of their ujigami."
The selection of a rocky pass for the erection of these objects, and the association with them of shime-naha, show that their original function, namely, to prevent the passage of evil beings or influences, was not forgotten. The prayers of the women betray a misconception of the proper object of this cult.
Near the end of the Kogojiui there is a passage which makes mention of the phallus as a magical appliance. As it has some anthropological interest, I quote it at length:
"Of yore, in the age of the Gods, Oho-toko-nushi no Kami (great-earth-master-deity), on a day that he was cultivating a rice-field, gave his labourers the flesh of oxen to cat. At this time the child of Mi-toshi no Kami (august-harvest-god) went to that rice-field and spat upon the food, after which he returned and reported the matter to his father. Mi-toshi no Kami was wroth and let loose locusts on that field, so that the leaves of the young rice suddenly withered away and it became like dwarf bamboos. Upon this Oho-toko-nushi no Kami caused the diviners to ascertain by their art the reason of this. They replied that it was owing to a curse sent by Mi-toshi no Kami, and advised him to offer a white pig, a white horse, and a white cock in order to dispel his anger. When amends had been made to Mi-toshi no Kami in the manner directed, the latter replied, saying: 'Truly it was my doing. Take bare stalks of hemp, and make of them a reel with which to reel it, take the leaves and sweep it therewith, take "push-grass" of Heaven and push it therewith. Take, moreover, crow-fan and fan it, and if then the locusts do not depart, take ox-flesh and place it in the runnels, adding to it shapes of the male stem (phalli). Moreover, strew the banks of earth between the fields, with water-lily seeds, ginger, walnut leaves and salt.' When these instructions were carried out the leaves of the young rice became thick again, and the harvest was a plentiful one. This is the reason why at the present day the Department of Religion worships Mi-toshi no Kami with offerings of a white pig, a white horse, and a white cock."
The facts quoted in the preceding pages show that there was some confusion between the use of the male and female emblems as non-religious magical appliances and their cult as deities. Primarily they were symbols, next objects of magic. Finally Religion intervened, and by her handmaids Personification and Myth raised them to the rank of deities, consecrating this step still further by devoting a formal ritual to their service. The kteis has received somewhat less attention than the phallus. It is no doubt identical with the Yachimata hime of the Michiahe norito, and in the Kojiki, its representative the peach is dubbed kami. But the Nihongi in the parallel passage merely speaks of its efficacy in repelling evil spirits, and refrains from deifying or even personifying it.
The circumstance that the Sahe no Kami were worshipped by the roadsides and at crossways led to their being looked upon as guide-Gods and the special friends of travellers. Saruta-hiko, a phallic deity, represented as dwelling at the eight crossways of Heaven, is said to have acted as guide to Ninigi on his descent to earth. He is popularly called Dōsōjin, or Road-ancestor-deity, and is depicted as of gigantic stature, with a portentously long nose, which (the suggestion is not mine) may perhaps have a phallic morphological signification.
The worship of these deities was extremely popular in ancient Japan. They were much appealed to in divination, and were prayed to by most travellers when starting on a journey. The phrase chi buri no Kami (Gods along the road) means the Sahe no Kami. The Sahe no Kami were the mitama par excellence. They were also called tamuke no Kami (Gods of offerings) because travellers were in the habit of carrying a nusa-bukuro (offering-bag) containing hemp leaves and rice, of which a little was offered to each of them when passing. All unforeseen disasters or illnesses on a journey were attributed to a neglect of the worship of these deities.
But a very little advance in enlightenment shows that the sexual instincts need restraint rather than the stimulus which they must derive from such a cult. So early as A.D. 939 a deity of this kind which stood in a conspicuous position in Kiōto, and was worshipped by all travellers, was removed to a less prominent situation. Phallicism ultimately disappeared from official Shinto. But it lingered long in popular customs, and is not quite extinct even at the present day, especially in eastern Japan. I have myself witnessed a procession in which a phallus, several feet high and painted a bright red, was carried on a bier by a crowd of coolies in festal uniform, shouting, laughing, and zig-zagging tumultuously from one side of the street to another. In the lupanars they are honoured by having a lamp of simple construction kept burning before them, and are prayed to by the proprietor for numerous clients. The boys' festival of dondo, on the 15th of the 1st month, still retains traces of its phallic origin.
Oni.—Oni, or demons, have no individual names. It is clear from the Kojiki and Nihongi mythical narratives that the oni exorcised by means of the peach are the same as the "thunders" and the "armies of Yomi." In other words, they are primarily personified diseases. They afterwards lost this specific character. Motoöri defines oni as ashiki kami, or "evil deity." He condemns their identification by the Wamiôshô with the spirits of the dead. There is a story of a tenth-century hero who cut off the arm of an oni and brought it home with him, but was tricked out of it by the owner, who came to his house in the disguise of an old woman.
The oni have red faces, hairy persons, horns, and some- times only one eye. They are said to devour men. The modern ideas respecting them are mostly borrowed from Buddhist sources.
Gods of Good and Ill Luck.—Among deified human properties we may reckon the Gods of Good and Ill Luck produced when Izanagi washed in the sea after his return from Yomi. Their names, Naobi and Magatsubi, contain the elements nao, straight, and maga, crooked.
Naki-sahame, the Goddess of weeping, Ta-jikara-wo (hand-strength-male), whose shintai is a bow, and Omohi-kane, the thought combiner, are rather mythical personages than deities on the effective list. It is doubtful whether Mari no kami, the foot-ball God, who has three faces, is a personification of skill or a hazy, imaginative recollection of some distinguished player.
The very terrible deity known as Bimbō-gami, the God of Poverty, is of later origin.
- See Ch. K., p. 102.
- Probably a sepulchral dolmen. There are many in this district, said to be the tombs of Minakata's descendants.
- The east is in Japan the soft wind—our zephyr.
- See Index, Nakatomi.
- See Index, Ujigami.
- See Index, Imibe.
- "There lies in dwarfs a special acquaintance with the healing virtues hidden in herbs."—Grimm, 'Teutonic Mythology.'
- See above, p. 107.
- See above, p. 93.
- See Index, Michiahe.
- "Before strangers are allowed to enter a district certain ceremonies are often performed by the natives of the country for the purpose of disarming them of their magical powers, of counteracting the baleful influence which is believed to emanate from them, or of disinfecting, so to speak, the tainted atmosphere with which they are supposed to be surrounded."—Frazer's 'Golden Bough,' i. 150.
- See Index, Tsuina.
- Eustathius, the commentator on Homer, points out that the barley-corn denoted the vulva with the writers upon the Bacchic Komuses.
- I have before me a picture of a Dōsōjin. It stands at cross-roads, and is a phalloid natural boulder over which depends a shimenaha supported by two bamboos. In front of it are little piles of stones, of which the similar offerings to the Buddhist children's God Jizōsama are doubtless a survival. The modern practice of bringing the Jizō of the neighbourhood and dumping them down before the lodging of a newly-married couple is no doubt a similar case of survival. A custom which began with the Dōsōjin is continued with the Jizō, which now occupy their place at crossways.
- We may compare with this an old English custom mentioned by Brand of the priests blessing candles at Candlemas and distributing them to the people, "so that the Divil may fly out of the habitation."
- See above, p. 93.
- Phaseolus radiatus.
- The modern spelling sai implies an altered conception of the function of these objects. It means good luck, a vaguer and more general idea than sahe, which means prevention (of disease).
- See Index.
- The names of plants.
- The names of plants.
- Crossways had a special sanctity in many countries. The Hermæ of ancient Greece stood at crossways.
- See Index, Tsuji-ura.
- Measures were taken in ancient Greece to check the excesses of the Bacchanalian rites.
- For further evidence on this subject, Dr. Buckley's 'Phallicism in Japan' (Chicago, 1895), the Nihongi, i. 11, and Dr. Griffis's 'Religions of Japan' may be consulted.
- Nihongi, i. 30.
- According to St. Augustine, the devils of Scripture are our passions and unbridled appetites.