Japanese festivals are traditional festive occasions. Some festivals have their roots in Chinese festivals centuries ago, but have undergone great changes as they mixed with local customs; some are so different that they do not remotely resemble the original festival despite sharing the same name and date. There are various local festivals that are unknown outside a given prefecture. Unlike most people in East Asia, Japanese people do not celebrate Lunar New Year. In Yokohama Chinatown, Japan's biggest Chinatown, tourists from all over Japan come to enjoy the festival. Similar for Nagasaki's Lantern Festival, based in Nagasaki Chinatown. See: Japanese New Year. Festivals are based around one event, with food stalls and carnival games to keep people entertained; some are based around temples or shrines, others hanabi, still others around contests where the participants sport loin cloths. Matsuri is the Japanese word for a holiday. In Japan, festivals are sponsored by a local shrine or temple, though they can be secular.
There are no specific matsuri days for all of Japan. Every locale has at least one matsuri in late summer/early autumn related to the rice harvest. Notable matsuri feature processions which may include elaborate floats. Preparation for these processions is organized at the level of neighborhoods, or machi. Prior to these, the local kami may be paraded through the streets. One can always find in the vicinity of a matsuri booths selling souvenirs and food such as takoyaki, games, such as Goldfish scooping. Karaoke contests, sumo matches, other forms of entertainment are organized in conjunction with matsuri. If the festival is next to a lake, renting a boat is an attraction. Favorite elements of the most popular matsuri, such as the Nada no Kenka Matsuri of Himeji or the Neputa Matsuri of Hirosaki, are broadcast on television for the entire nation to enjoy. Sapporo Snow Festival is one of the largest festivals of the year in Sapporo, held in February for one week, it began in 1950. The event is now large and commercialized.
About a dozen large sculptures are built for the festival along with around 100 smaller snow and ice sculptures. Several concerts and other events are held. Lake Shikotsu is the northernmost ice-free lake, 363 meters deep; this festival features a moss-covered cave, which has evergreen draped on the inside and is covered in ice. This festival is held from late January to mid February; this festival features ice sculptures and large. At night the sculptures are illuminated by different colored lights. There is a fireworks show during the festival as well. Admission is free. Amasake is available for purchase to enjoy; this lake festival is held in the beginning of February. Held in the town of Yasumiya, this festival is on the south side of Lake Towada; this festival is open all day, but at 5 pm one can enjoy activities such as going through a snow maze, exploring a Japanese igloo, eat foods from Aomori and Akita prefectures. There is events held on an ice stage; this festival is held annually and features colorful lantern floats called nebuta which are pulled through the streets of Central Aomori.
This festival is held from about August 2–7 every year. This event attracts millions of visitors. During this festival, 20 large nebuta floats are paraded through the streets near Aomori JR rail station; these floats are constructed of wooden bases and metal frames. Japanese papers, called washi, are painted onto the frames; these amazing floats are finished off with the historical figures or kabuki being painted on the paper. These floats can take up to a year to complete. There is a dance portion of this festival. There are haneto dancers and they wear special costumes for this dance. Everyone is welcome to purchase their own haneto costume; this event is held every year. Thousands of artists from all over Tohoku and further regions come to Nango to perform; this is the largest open-air jazz concert held in Tohoku region. This festival began in a small venue indoors. There was such a large response from the fans. One must purchase tickets for this event; this summer jazz festival doesn't cost anything but potential members of the public still need to receive a ticket to enter the event.
Japan celebrates the entire season of the cherry blossoms. There are festivals in nearly every region of Japan, some locations, food is available or a park may be decorated with lanterns; some locations of cherry blossom festivals include: Yaedake Cherry Blossom Festival in Okinawa. This festival takes place from late January – mid February Matsuyama Shiroyama Koen Cherry Blossom Festival in Matsuyama-city, Ehime; this festival takes place early April. Matsue Jozan Koen Festival in Matsue-city, Shimane; this festival has a feature of illuminating the cherry blossom trees at night. This festival takes place late March-early April. Tsuyama Kakuzan Koen Cherry Blossom Festival in Tsuyama-cit
Fudoki are ancient reports on provincial culture and oral tradition presented to the reigning monarchs of Japan known as local gazetteers. They contain agricultural and historical records as well as mythology and folklore. Fudoki manuscripts document local myths and poems that are not mentioned in the Kojiki and the Nihon Shoki chronicles, which are the most important literature of the ancient national mythology and history. In the course of national unification, the imperial court enacted a series of criminal and administrative codes called ritsuryō and surveyed the provinces established by such codes to exert greater control over them. In the narrower sense, Fudoki refer to the oldest records written in the Nara period called Kofudoki. Compilation of Kofudoki was completed over a 20-year period. Following the Taika Reform in 646 and the Code of Taihō enacted in 701, there was need to centralize and solidify the power of the imperial court; this included accounting for lands under its control.
According to the Shoku Nihongi, Empress Genmei issued a decree in 713 ordering each provincial government to collect and report the following information: Names of districts and townships Natural resources and living things Land fertility Etymology of names for geographic features, such as mountains and rivers Myths and folktales told orally by old people Empress Genmei ordered in 713 that place names in the provinces and townships should be written in two kanji characters with positive connotations. This required name changes. For example, Hayatsuhime became Ishinashi no Oki became Ishii. At least 48 of the Gokishichidō provinces contributed to their records but only that of Izumo remains nearly complete. Partial records of Hizen, Bungo and Hitachi remain and a few passages from various volumes remain scattered throughout various books; those of Harima and Hizen are designated National Treasures. Below is a list of scattered passages. In 1966 the Agency for Cultural Affairs called on the prefectural governments to build open-air museums and parks called Fudoki no Oka near historic sites such as tombs and provincial temples.
These archaeological museums preserve and exhibit cultural properties to enhance public understanding of provincial history and culture. Japanese Historical Text Initiative Akimoto, Kichirō. Nihon Koten Bungaku Taikei 2: Fudoki. Tōkyō: Iwanami Shoten. ISBN 4-00-060002-8. Sakamoto, Masaru. Zusetsu Chizu to Arasuji de Wakaru! Fudoki. Seishun Publishing. ISBN 978-4-413-04301-4. Kojima, Noriyuki. Nihon no Koten wo Yomu 3 Nihon Shoki Ge • Fudoki. Shogakukan. ISBN 978-4-09-362173-1. 風土記 texts of the remaining Fudoki & scattered passages in other books. Manuscript scans at Waseda University Library: Hizen, 1800,Bungo, 1800, unknown Tsukamoto, Tetsuzō. Kojiki, Fudoki. Yūhōdō Shoten. Pp. 383–586. Scan at the Internet Archive. 風土記 国土としての始原史～風土記逸文
Religion in Japan
Religion in Japan is dominated by Shinto and by Buddhism. According to surveys carried out in 2006 and 2008, less than 40% of the population of Japan identifies with an organized religion: around 35% are Buddhists, 3% to 4% are members of Shinto sects and derived religions, from fewer than 1% to 2.3% are Christians. Most of the Japanese pray and worship ancestors and gods at Shinto shrines or at private altars, while not identifying as "Shinto" or "Shintoist" in surveys; this is because these terms have little meaning for the majority of the Japanese, or because they define membership in Shinto organizations or sects. The term "religion" itself in Japanese culture defines only organized religions. People who identify as "non-religious" in surveys mean that they do not belong to any religious organization though they may take part in Shinto rituals and worship; some scholars, such as Jun'ichi Isomae and Jason Ānanda Josephson, have challenged the usefulness of the term "religion" in regard to Japanese "traditions", arguing that the Japanese term and concept of "religion" is an invention of the 19th century.
However, other scholars, such as Hans Martin Kramer and Ian Reader, regard such claims as overstated and contend that the terms relate to terminology and categorizations that existed in Japan prior to the 19th century. Shinto kami-no-michi, is the indigenous religion of Japan and most of the people of Japan, it is defined as an action-centered religion, focused on ritual practices to be carried out diligently, to establish a connection between present-day Japan and its ancient roots. Shinto practices were first recorded and codified in the written historical records of the Kojiki and Nihon Shoki in the 8th century. Still, these earliest Japanese writings do not refer to a unified "Shinto religion", but rather to a collection of native beliefs and mythology. Shinto today is the religion of public shrines devoted to the worship of a multitude of gods, suited to various purposes such as war memorials and harvest festivals, applies as well to various sectarian organizations. Practitioners express their diverse beliefs through a standard language and practice, adopting a similar style in dress and ritual, dating from around the time of the Nara and Heian periods.
The word Shinto was adopted as Shindo, from the written Chinese Shendao, combining two kanji: "shin", meaning "spirit" or kami. The oldest recorded usage of the word Shindo is from the second half of the 6th century. Kami are defined in English as "spirits", "essences" or "gods", referring to the energy generating the phenomena. Since Japanese language does not distinguish between singular and plural, kami refers to the divinity, or sacred essence, that manifests in multiple forms: rocks, rivers, animals and people can be said to possess the nature of kami. Kami and people are not separate. Shinto is the largest religion in Japan, practiced by nearly 80% of the population, yet only a small percentage of these identify themselves as "Shintoists" in surveys; this is due to the fact that "Shinto" has different meanings in Japan: most of the Japanese attend Shinto shrines and beseech kami without belonging to Shinto organisations, since there are no formal rituals to become a member of folk "Shinto", "Shinto membership" is estimated counting those who join organised Shinto sects.
Shinto has 78,890 priests in the country. With the profound changes that the Japanese society has gone through in the 20th century, after World War II, including rapid industrialisation and urbanisation, traditional religions were challenged by the transformation and underwent a reshaping themselves, principles of religious freedom articulated by the constitution provided space for the proliferation of new religious movements. Both new sects of Shinto and movements claiming a independent status, as well as new forms of Buddhist lay societies, provided ways of aggregation for people uprooted from traditional families and village institutions. While traditional Shinto is residential and hereditary, a person participates in the worship activities devoted to the local tutelary deity or ancestor asking for specific healing or blessing services or participating in pilgrimages, in the new religions groups were formed by individuals without regard to kinship or territorial origins, required a voluntary decision to join.
These new religions provided cohesion through a unified doctrine and practice shared by the nationwide community. The recognized new religions number in the hundreds, total membership is in the tens of millions; the largest new religion is Soka Gakkai, a Buddhist sect founded in 1930, which has about 10 million members in Japan. Scholars in Japan have estimated that between 10% and 20% of the population belongs to the new religions, although more realistic estimates put the number at well below the 10% mark; as of 2007, there are 223,831 priests and leaders of the new religions in Japan, three times the number of traditional Shinto priests. Many of these new religions are Shinto-derived and retain the fundamental characters of Shinto identifying themselves as forms of Shinto; these include Tenrikyo, Omotokyo, Shinreikyo, Sekai Shindokyo and others. Others are independent new
Kojiki sometimes read as Furukotofumi, is the oldest extant chronicle in Japan, dating from the early 8th century and composed by Ō no Yasumaro at the request of Empress Genmei. The Kojiki is a collection of myths, early legends, genealogies, oral traditions and semi-historical accounts down to 641 concerning the origin of the Japanese archipelago, the Kami; the myths contained in the Kojiki as well as the Nihon Shoki are part of the inspiration behind many practices. The myths were re-appropriated for Shinto practices such as the misogi purification ritual. Emperor Tenmu ordered Hieda no Are to memorize stories and texts from history, many of which appear to have been, until the creation of the Kojiki known oral traditions. Beyond this memorization, nothing occurred until after Empress Jitō and Emperor Monmu had both passed and Empress Genmei came to reign. According to the Kojiki, Empress Genmei on the 18th of the 9th month of 711 ordered the courtier Ō no Yasumaro to record what had been learned by Hieda no Are.
He finished and presented his work to Empress Genmei on the 28th of the 1st month of 712. The Kojiki could be made to further the Imperial right to rule; this historical narrative is broken into the Age of Gods and the Age of Humans, wherein the mythology of the gods which gave birth to the land is told and transitioned in a chronological fashion to the reign of the Emperors. This narrative sets forth the divine mandate by which the Yamato line has right to rule, through the rhetoric used in the Age of Humans, the historical and military qualifications were established. Several of the narratives which give support to the imperial line, such as the subjugation of certain Korean kingdoms, have been confirmed as false and were included to erase failures and bolster reputations of Emperors past. Vast amounts of the Age of Humans is spent recounting genealogies, which served not only to give age to the imperial family, much newer than the Kojiki claims as little evidence has been found to support the existence of early Emperors, but served to tie, whether true or not, many existing clan's genealogies to their own.
Regardless of the original intent of the Kojiki, it finalized and even formulated the framework by which Japanese history was examined in terms of the reign of Emperors. The Kojiki contains various poems. While the historical records and myths are written in a form of Chinese with a heavy mixture of Japanese elements, the songs are written with Chinese characters, though only used phonetically; this special use of Chinese characters is called Man'yōgana, a knowledge of, critical to understanding these songs, which are written in Old Japanese. The Kojiki is divided into three parts: the Nakatsumaki and the Shimotsumaki; the Kamitsumaki known as the Kamiyo no Maki, includes the preface of the Kojiki, is focused on the deities of creation and the births of various deities of the kamiyo period, or Age of the Gods. The Kamitsumaki outlines the myths concerning the foundation of Japan, it describes how Ninigi-no-Mikoto, grandson of Amaterasu and great-grandfather of Emperor Jimmu, descended from heaven to Takachihonomine in Kyūshū and became the progenitor of the Japanese Imperial line.
The Nakatsumaki begins with the story of Emperor Jimmu, the first Emperor, his conquest of Japan, ends with the 15th Emperor, Emperor Ōjin. The second through ninth Emperors' reigns are recorded in a minimum of detail, with only their names, the names of their various descendants, the place-names of their palaces and tombs listed, no mention of their achievements. Many of the stories in this volume are mythological, the historical information in them is suspect; the Shimotsumaki covers the 16th to 33rd Emperors and, unlike previous volumes, has limited references to the interactions with deities. These interactions are prominent in the first and second volumes. Information about the 24th to the 33rd Emperors is missing, as well. What follows is a condensed summary of the contents of the text, including many of the names of gods and locations as well as events which took place in association to them; the original Japanese is included in parentheses where appropriate. The handing down of old folklore and its significance Emperor Tenmu and setting out the Kojiki Ō no Yasumaro compiling the Kojiki In the Edo period, Motoori Norinaga studied the Kojiki intensively.
He produced. Chamberlain, Basil Hall. 1882. A translation of the "Ko-ji-ki" or Records of ancient matters. Yokohama, Japan: R. Meiklejohn and Co. Printers. Philippi, Donald L. 1968/1969. Kojiki. Princeton, N. J.: Princeton University Press and Tokyo: University of Tokyo Press. Heldt, Gustav. 2014. The Kojiki: An Account of Ancient Matters. New York: Columbia University Press. There are two major branches of Kojiki manuscripts: Urabe; the extant Urabe branch consists of 36 existing manuscripts all based on the 1522 copies by Urabe Kanenaga. The Ise branch may be subdivided into the Shinpukuji-bon manuscript of 1371–1372 and the Dōka-bon manuscripts; the Dōka sub-branch consists of: the Dōka-bon manuscript of 1381.
Kunio Yanagita was a Japanese scholar and considered the father of Japanese native folkloristics, or minzokugaku. Born Kunio Matsuoka in Fukusaki, Hyōgo Prefecture to a local physician; the fifth of eight children, Yanagita's prospects of inheritance were poor. A prominent court justice with no sons, Naohei Yanagita saw the ambitious Matsuoka a promising heir and offered his daughter Taka's hand in marriage in exchange for adopting the family name. Kunio recognized the benefit of adopting the Yanagita name, was formally adopted into the family in 1901. After graduating with a degree in law from Tokyo Imperial University, he became employed as a bureaucrat in the Ministry of Agriculture and Commerce. In the course of his bureaucratic duties, Yanagita had the opportunity to travel throughout mainland Japan. During these business trips, Yanagita became interested in observing and recording details pertaining to local village customs. Under the influence of literary friends such as the writer Shimazaki Toson, Yanagita published works based on local oral traditions such as Tales of Tono.
He collaborated extensively with folklorist Kizen Sasaki, they published several books together. Yanagita's focus on local traditions was part of a larger effort to insert the lives of commoners into narratives of Japanese history, he argued that historical narratives were dominated by events pertaining to rulers and high-ranking officials. Yanagita claimed that these narratives focused on elite-centered historical events and ignored the relative uneventfulness and repetition that characterized the lives of ordinary Japanese people across history, he emphasized the unique practices of different groups of common people, such as sanka or mountain dwellers, island dwellers. His work is groundbreaking and sometimes has unique cultural records. Tōno Monogatari a record of folk legends gathered in Iwate Prefecture. Famous yōkai in the stories include zashiki-warashi. Kagyūkō Yanagita revealed that the distribution of dialects for the word snail forms concentric circles on the Japanese archipelago. Momotarō no Tanjō He depicted some facets of Japanese society by analyzing the famous folk tale Momotaro.
His methodology was followed by many anthropologists. Kaijō no Michi He sought the origin of the Japanese culture in Okinawa, though many of his speculations were denied by researchers, he was inspired by picking up a palm nut borne by the Kuroshio Current when he was wandering on a beach in Iragomisaki, Aichi Prefecture. Yanagita Kunio Guide to the Japanese Folk TaleAn English translation of Nippon no Mukashibanashi, a collection of Japanese folktales assembled by Yanagita Kunio, translated by Fanny Hagin Mayer. Center versus periphery: Yanagita's theory about dialectal diffusion and vocabulary propagation over time Nihonjinron Yanagita･Matsuoka Family Memorial Kunio Yanagita at Find a Grave
Shinto architecture is the architecture of Japanese Shinto shrines. With a few exceptions, the general blueprint of a Shinto shrine is Buddhist in origin. Before Buddhism, shrines were just temporary. Buddhism brought to Japan the idea of permanent shrines and much of Shinto architecture's vocabulary; the presence of verandas, stone lanterns, elaborate gates are examples of this influence. The composition of a Shinto shrine is variable, none of its possible features are present; the honden or sanctuary, the part which houses the kami and, the centerpiece of a shrine, can be missing. However, since its grounds are sacred, they are surrounded by a fence made of stone or wood called tamagaki, while access is made possible by an approach called sandō; the entrances themselves are straddled by gates called torii, which are therefore the simplest way to identify a Shinto shrine. A shrine may include within its grounds each destined to a different purpose. Among them are the honden or sanctuary, where the kami are enshrined, the heiden, or hall of offerings, where offers and prayers are presented, the haiden or hall of worship, where there may be seats for worshipers.
The honden is the building that contains the shintai "the sacred body of the kami". Of these, only the haiden is open to the laity; the honden is located behind the haiden and is much smaller and unadorned. Other notable shrine features are the temizuya, the fountain where visitors cleanse their hands and mouth and the shamusho, the office that supervises the shrine. Shrines can be large, as for example Ise Shrine, or as small as a beehive, as in the case of the hokora, small shrines found on road sides. Before the forced separation of Shinto and Buddhism, it was not uncommon for a Buddhist temple to be built inside or next to a shrine or to the contrary for a shrine to include Buddhist subtemples. If a shrine was a Buddhist temple, it was called a jingu-ji. At the same time, temples in the entire country adopted tutelary kami (chinju and built temple shrines called chinjusha to house them. After the forcible separation of Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines ordered by the new government in the Meiji period, the connection between the two religions was severed, but continued nonetheless in practice.
The practice of marking sacred areas began in Japan as early as the Yayoi period originating from primal Shinto tenets. Features in the landscape such as rocks, waterfalls and mountains, were places believed to be capable of attracting kami, subsequently were worshiped as yorishiro. Sacred places may have been marked with a surrounding fence and an entrance gate or torii. Temporary buildings similar to present day portable shrines were constructed to welcome the gods to the sacred place. Over time the temporary structures evolved into permanent structures that were dedicated to the gods. Ancient shrines were constructed according to the style of storehouses; the buildings had gabled roofs, raised floors, plank walls, were thatched with reed or covered with hinoki cypress bark. Such early shrines did not include a space for worship. Three important forms of ancient shrine architectural styles exist: taisha-zukuri, shinmei-zukuri and sumiyoshi-zukuri They are exemplified by Izumo Taisha, Nishina Shinmei Shrine and Sumiyoshi Taisha and date to before 552.
According to the tradition of Shikinen sengū-sai, the buildings or shrines were faithfully rebuilt at regular intervals adhering to the original design. In this manner, ancient styles have been replicated through the centuries to the present day; the following is a diagram illustrating the most important elements of a Shinto shrine. Torii – Shinto gate Stone stairs Sandō – the approach to the shrine Chōzuya or temizuya – fountain to cleanse one's hands and face Tōrō – decorative stone lanterns Kagura-den – building dedicated to Noh or the sacred kagura dance Shamusho – the shrine's administrative office Ema – wooden plaques bearing prayers or wishes Sessha/massha – small auxiliary shrines Komainu – the so-called "lion dogs", guardians of the shrine Haiden – oratory Tamagaki – fence surrounding the honden Honden – main hall, enshrining the kami. On the roof of the haiden and honden are visible chigi and katsuogi, both common shrine ornamentations; the torii is a gate which marks the entrance to a sacred area but not a shrine.
A shrine may have any number of torii made of wood, metal, concrete or any other material. They can be found in different places within a shrine's precincts to signify an increased level of holiness. Torii can be found at Buddhist temples, however they are an accepted symbol of Shinto, as such are used to mark shrines on maps; the origin of the torii is unclear, no existing theory has been accepted as valid. They may for example have originated in India as a derivative of the torana gates in the monastery of Sanchi, located in central India; the sandō is the road approaching either a Buddhist temple. Its point of origin is straddled in the first case by a Shinto torii, in the second by a Buddhist sanmon, gates which mark the beginning of the shrine's or temple territory. There can be stone lanterns and other decorations at any point along its course. There can be more than one sandō, in which case the main one is called omote-sandō, or front sandō, ura-sandō, or rear sandō, etc. B
Kōshin or Kōshin-shinkō is a folk faith in Japan with Taoist origins, influenced by Shinto and other local beliefs. A typical event related to the faith is called Kōshin-kō, held on the Kōshin days that occur every 60 days in accordance with the Chinese sexagenary cycle. On this day some believers stay awake to prevent Sanshi, entities believed to live inside the body of believers, from leaving it during that night in order to report the good and specially the bad deeds of the believer to the god Ten-Tei, it is not certain when such custom arrived or came into fashion in Japan, although it is believed that by some time in the 9th century it had been practiced at least by aristocrats. A Japanese monk called Ennin wrote in his travel book upon visiting Tang China in 838, that "Tonight people are not sleeping, it is the same as in our country on Kōshin nights." In the Muromachi period, Buddhist monks started to write about the Kōshin, which led to wider popularity of the faith among public. Numerous monuments or pillars called Kōshin-tō were erected all over the country and the faith remained popular through the Edo period.
When the Meiji Government issued the Shinto and Buddhism Separation Order in 1872, folk beliefs were turned down as superstitious, Kōshin belief too losing popularity as a result. Today, the Kōshin belief still survives, although it is far less popular and receives smaller recognition than it once did, due to the absence of any central organization to help promote such faith because of its folkloric nature. While many Kōshin-tō were moved, for example, to inside Buddhist temples or to private houses to be protected, there are many remaining along historical roads as well. There are well maintained Kōshin-dō, built in respect for the Kōshin, sometimes attached to Buddhist temples, or otherwise in stand-alone, it is believed that Kōshin belief had arrived in Japan at the latest by the Heian period, was adopted only by the aristocracy in the beginning. The most ancient custom is that of staying awake one special night every sixty days, it is called Kōshin-Machi. During the early years this custom became a kind of overnight party.
The main Kōshin belief that survived from an original complex faith, is the concept that Three Corpses, called Sanshi, live in everyone's body. The Sanshi keep track of the good deeds and the bad deeds of the person they inhabit. On the night called Kōshin-Machi, while the person sleeps, the Sanshis leave the body and go to Ten-Tei, the Heavenly god, to report about the deeds of that person. Ten-Tei will decide to punish bad people, making them ill, shortening their lifetime and in extreme cases putting an end to their lives. Believers of Kōshin will try to live a life without bad deeds, but those who have reason to fear will try to stay awake during Kōshin nights, as the only way to prevent the Sanshi from leaving the body and reporting to Ten-Tei. In the Edo period, Kōshin-Machi became more popular in other levels of society and with commoners, leading to a proliferation of festivities and cultic activities. Many of these practices convened around the worship of specific deities; these deities were visualized in hanging scrolls and stone carvings, many of which continue to dot the rural landscape of Japan today.
One god of special prominence in the Kōshin cult was Shōmen-Kongō, a fearsome blue-faced deity with many arms. Shōmen-Kongō's role connections with Kōshin belief and practice can be traced back as early as the late Heian period, if not earlier; the first scriptures that established such connections were produced in the context of esoteric Buddhist rituals centered at Onjōji. Another temple crucial in the early development of this cult was Shitennō-ji. Shōmen-Kongō became Kōshin-san when people expected this demon to make the Sanshis themselves ill and prevent them going to Ten-Tei. Shōmen-Kongō is not a god but a demon who can send illnesses. Three monkeys covering eyes and ears with their hands are the best known symbols of Kōshin faith, they are Mizaru and Kikazaru. It is not clear why the three monkeys became part of Kōshin belief, but is assumed that it is because like the monkeys, the Sanshis and Ten-Tei are not to see, hear, or tell the bad deeds of a person. Statues of Shōmen-Kongō with the three monkeys have existed in temples and shrines since the Edo era.
Sometimes carved stones called. Such stones can present diverse forms, from having only Chinese characters to including a depiction of Shōmen- Kongō with one, two or three monkeys. Other custom of the Kōshin belief are the use of paper scrolls showing Kōshin-san and the monkeys which are displayed on Kōshin-machi, the Kōshin night; those who keep this tradition invite neighbours and relatives and sit in front of a provisory altar which has a bowl of rice, seasonal fruit, flowers and incense sticks. They hang scrolls with pictures of Shōmen-Kongō. Everyone will try to stay awake through the whole night. Yasaka Kōshin-dō Emiko Ohnuki-Tierney, The Monkey as Mirror: Symbolic Transformations in Japanese History and Ritual, Princeton University Press, 1989, ISBN 978-0-691-02846-0 Kabushiki Gaisha. Kubo, Koshin Shink6 no Kenkyú: Nicchú Shúkyó Bunka Kóshóshi (Research on Belief in Kóshin - A History of Cultural-Religious Exchange, Noritada, 1961. Emiko Ohnuki-Tierney and Culture in Contemporary Japan: An Anthropological View, Cambridge University Press, 1984, ISBN 978-0-521-27786-0 Lafcadio Hearn, Japan's Religions: Shinto and Buddh