Buddhism in Japan
Buddhism in Japan has been practiced since its official introduction in 552 CE according to the Nihon Shoki from Baekje, Korea, by Buddhist monks. Buddhism has had a major influence on the development of Japanese society and remains an influential aspect of the culture to this day. In modern times, Japan's popular schools of Buddhism are Pure Land Buddhism, Nichiren Buddhism, Shingon Buddhism and Zen; as of 2008 34% of the Japanese identify as Buddhists and the number has been growing since the 1980s, in terms of membership in organized religion. However, in terms of practice, 75% practice some form of Buddhism. About 60% of the Japanese have a Butsudan in their homes; the arrival of Buddhism in China is a consequence of the first contacts between China and Central Asia, where Buddhism had spread from the Indian subcontinent. These contacts occurred with the opening of the Silk Road in the 2nd century BCE, following the travels of Zhang Qian between 138 and 126 BCE; these contacts culminated with the official introduction of Buddhism in China in 67 CE.
Historians agree that by the middle of the 1st century, the religion had penetrated to areas north of the Huai River in China. According to the Book of Liang, written in 635, five Buddhist monks from Gandhara traveled to Japan in 467. At the time, they referred to Japan as Fusang, the name of a mythological country to the extreme east beyond the sea: Fusang is located to the east of China, 20,000 li east of the state of Da Han. In former times, the people of Fusang knew nothing of the Buddhist religion, but in the second year of Da Ming of the Song Dynasty, five monks from Kipin travelled by ship to Fusang, they propagated Buddhist doctrine, circulated scriptures and drawings, advised the people to relinquish worldly attachments. As a result the customs of Fusang changed. Although there are records of Buddhist monks from China coming to Japan before the Asuka Period, the "official" introduction of Buddhism to Japan is dated to 552 in Nihon Shoki when King Seong of Baekje sent a mission to the Emperor Kinmei that included Buddhist monks or nuns together with an image of Buddha and a number of sutras to introduce Buddhism.
The powerful Soga clan played a key role in the early spread of Buddhism in the country. Initial uptake of the new faith was slow, Buddhism only started to spread some years when Empress Suiko encouraged the acceptance of Buddhism among all Japanese people. According to legend, in Japan in 552, there was an attempt to destroy a tooth relic, one of the first of Buddha’s to arrive in the country. On January 15, 593, Soga no Umako ordered relics of Buddha deposited inside the foundation stone under the pillar of a pagoda at Asuka-dera. In 607, in order to obtain copies of sutras, an imperial envoy was dispatched to Sui China; as time progressed and the number of Buddhist clergy increased, the offices of Sōjō and Sōzu were created. By 627, there were 46 Buddhist temples, 816 Buddhist priests, 569 Buddhist nuns in Japan; the initial period saw the six great Chinese schools, called Nanto Rokushū in Japanese were introduced to the Japanese archipelago: Ritsu Jōjitsu Kusha-shū Sanronshū Hossō Kegon These schools were centered around the ancient capitals of Asuka and Nara, where great temples such as the Asuka-dera and Tōdai-ji were erected respectively.
These were not exclusive schools, temples were apt to have scholars versed in several of the schools. It has been suggested that they can best be thought of as "study groups"; the Buddhism of these periods, known as the Asuka period and Nara period – was not a practical religion, being more the domain of learned priests whose official function was to pray for the peace and prosperity of the state and imperial house. This kind of Buddhism had little to offer to the illiterate and uneducated masses and led to the growth of "people’s priests" who were not ordained and had no formal Buddhist training, their practice was a combination of Buddhist and Daoist elements and the incorporation of shamanistic features of indigenous practices. Some of these figures became immensely popular and were a source of criticism towards the sophisticated academic and bureaucratic Buddhism of the capital; the Late Nara period saw the introduction of Tangmi to Japan from China by Kūkai and Saichō, who founded Shingon Buddhism and the Tendai school, respectively.
During the Heian period the capital was shifted from Nara to Kyoto. Monasteries became centers of powers establishing armies of Sōhei, warrior-monks. Shinto and Buddhism became the dominant religions, maintaining a balance until the Meiji-restoration; the Kamakura period was a period of crisis in which the control of the country moved from the imperial aristocracy to the samurai. In 1185 the Kamakura shogunate was established at Kamakura; this period saw the introduction of the two schools that had the greatest impact on the country: the schools of Pure Land Buddhism, promulgated by evangelists such as Genshin and articulated by monks such as Hōnen, which emphasize salvation through faith in Amitābha and remain the largest Buddhist sect in Japan.
Susanoo known as Takehaya Susanoo no Mikoto and Kumano Ketsumiko no Kami at Kumano shrine, is the Shinto god of the sea and storms. He is considered to be ruler of Neno-Katasu-Kuni, he is married to Kushinadahime. In Japanese mythology, the powerful storm god, is the brother of Amaterasu, the goddess of the Sun, of Tsukuyomi, the god of the Moon. All three were born from Izanagi, when he washed his face clean of the pollutants of Yomi, the underworld. Amaterasu was born when Izanagi washed out his left eye, Tsukuyomi was born from the washing of the right eye, Susanoo from the washing of the nose. Susanoo used Totsuka-no-Tsurugi as his weapon; the oldest sources for Susanoo myths are ca. 720 CE Nihon Shoki. They tell of a long-standing rivalry between his sister; when he was to leave Heaven by orders of Izanagi, he went to bid his sister goodbye. Amaterasu was suspicious, but when Susanoo proposed a challenge to prove his sincerity, she accepted; each of them took an object of the other from it birthed gods and goddesses.
Amaterasu birthed three women from Susanoo's Totsuka-no-Tsurugi while he birthed five men from her necklace. Claiming the gods were hers because they were born of her necklace, the goddesses were his, she decided that she had won the challenge, as his item produced women; the two were content for a time. In a fit of rage, he destroyed his sister's rice fields, hurled a flayed pony at her loom, killed one of her attendants. Amaterasu, in fury and grief, hid inside the Ama-no-Iwato, thus hiding the sun for a long period of time. Though she was persuaded to leave the cave, Susano-o was punished by being banished from Heaven, he descended to the province of Izumo, where he met an elderly couple who told him that seven of their eight daughters had been devoured by the eight-headed dragon Yamata no Orochi and it was nearing time for their eighth, Kushinada-hime. The Nihon Shoki, here translated by William George Aston in Nihongi, gives the most detailed account of Susanoo and Amaterasu slaying Yamata no Orochi.
Compare to that found in the Kojiki, translated by Basil Hall Chamberlain in The Kojiki, where Susanoo is translated as "His-Swift-Impetuous-Male-Augustness": Then Susanoo no Mikoto descended from Heaven and proceeded to the head-waters of the River Hi, in the province of Idzumo. At this time he heard a sound of weeping at the head-waters of the river, he went in search of the sound, he found there an old woman. Between them was set a young girl, whom they were caressing and lamenting over. Susanoo no Mikoto asked them, saying:-"Who are ye, why do ye lament thus?" The answer was:-"I am an Earthly Deity, my name is Ashi-nadzuchi. My wife's name is Te-nadzuchi; this girl is our daughter, her name is Kushi-nada-hime. The reason of our weeping is that we had eight children, daughters, but they have been devoured year after year by an eight-forked serpent and now the time approaches for this girl to be devoured. There is no means of escape for her, therefore do we grieve.” Sosa no wo no Mikoto said: "If, so, wilt thou give me thy daughter?"
He replied, said: "I will comply with thy behest and give her to thee." Therefore Sosa no wo no Mikoto on the spot changed Kushi-nada-hime into a many-toothed close-comb which he stuck in the august knot of his hair. He made Ashi-nadzuchi and Te-nadzuchi to brew eight-fold sake, to make eight cupboards, in each of them to set a tub filled with sake, so to await its coming; when the time came, the serpent appeared. It had an eight-forked tail; as it crawled it extended over a space of eight valleys. Now when it came and found the sake, each head drank up one tub, it became drunken and fell asleep. Susanoo no Mikoto drew the ten-span sword which he wore, chopped the serpent into small pieces; when he came to the tail, the edge of his sword was notched, he therefore split open the tail and examined it. In the inside there was a sword; this is the sword, called Kusa-nagi no tsurugi. This sword from the dragon's tail, the Ama-no-Murakumo-no-Tsurugi or the Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi, was presented by Susanoo to Amaterasu as a reconciliation gift.
According to legends, she bequeathed it to her descendant Ninigi along with the Yata no Kagami mirror and Yasakani no Magatama jewel or orb. This sacred sword and jewel collectively became the three Imperial Regalia of Japan. While Amaterasu is enshrined at the Honden of the Ise Grand Shrine, Susanoo is enshrined at Kumano Taisha located in Shimane, where he descended when banished from heaven; the iwami kagura - Orochi The jōruri - Nihon Furisode Hajime by Chikamatsu Monzaemon Aston, William George, tr. 1896. Nihongi: Chronicles of Japan from the Earliest Times to A. D. 697. 2 vols. Kegan Paul. 1972 Tuttle reprint. Chamberlain, Basil H. tr. 1919. The Kojiki, Records of Ancient Matters. 1981 Tuttle reprint. Susanoo, Encyclopedia of Shinto Susano-O no Mikoto, Kimberley Winkelmann, in the Internet Archive as of 5 December 2008 Shinto Creation Stories: Sosa no wo in Izumo, Richard Hooker, in the Internet Archive as of 28 August 2006 Susanoo vs Yamata no Orochi animated depiction
Edo Neo-Confucianism, known in Japanese as Shushi-Gaku, refers to the schools of Neo-Confucian philosophy that developed in Japan during the Edo period. Neo-Confucianism reached Japan during the Kamakura period; the philosophy can be characterized as humanistic and rationalistic, with the belief that the universe could be understood through human reason, that it was up to man to create a harmonious relationship between the universe and the individual. The 17th-century Tokugawa shogunate adopted Neo-Confucianism as the principle of controlling people and Confucian philosophy took hold. Neo-Confucians such as Hayashi Razan and Arai Hakuseki were instrumental in the formulation of Japan's dominant early modern political philosophy. Neo-Confucianism has its origins in the Chinese Tang Dynasty; the Song Dynasty philosopher Zhou Dunyi is seen as the first true "pioneer" of Neo-Confucianism, using Daoist metaphysics as a framework for his ethical philosophy. Neo-Confucianism developed both as a renaissance of traditional Confucian ideas, as a reaction to the ideas of Buddhism and religious Daoism.
Although the Neo-Confucianists denounced Buddhist metaphysics, Neo-Confucianism did borrow Daoist and Buddhist terminology and concepts. Neo-Confucianism was brought to Japan during the late Kamakura period, it was spread as basic education for monks in training and others of the Five Mountain System network of Zen temples while its theory was completed by annotations brought by the monk Yishan Yining, who visited Japan in 1299 from the Yuan Dynasty, in the form of the Cheng-Zhu school of Neo-Confucianism. Moreover, Neo-Confucianist thought derived from the works of Cheng Yi, Cheng Hao, Zhu Xi, the then-orthodox ideology of China and Korea; the rise of Neo-Confucianism in Japan was aided by state support from the Tokugawa government, who encouraged the establishment of national secular ideology as a method of strengthening political rule over the country. The philosophy had arrived earlier in the 14th century, but knowledge of it was limited to Zen monasteries, who saw Confucianism as intellectually interesting, but secondary to Zen, some schools like the Ashikaga Gakko.
The pioneering Japanese Neo-Confucian was Fujiwara Seika, a former Zen practitioner interested in Confucian thought, who rejected Zen ideas to become one of Neo-Confucianism's foremost advocates in Japan. Fujiwara's student, Hayashi Razan, served the Tokugawa shōguns, through state patronage was able to establish the Shoheiko academy. After the Kansei Edict established Neo-Confucianism as Japan's official ideology, the Shoheiko academy became the premier authority on Confucian orthodoxy. Although heterodox schools of Neo-Confucianism were banned, the schools still persisted in Japan; the Japanese philosopher Toju Nakae is one such case, more influenced by the heterodox Wang Yang-ming than he was by the orthodox Zhu Xi. The influence of Neo-Confucianism was challenged by the rise of the Kokugaku philosophical school in the 17th and 18th centuries. Kokugaku advocates argued that the ancient Japanese were better representatives of Confucian virtues than the ancient Chinese were, that there should be more intellectual focus on ancient Japanese classics and the indigenous religion of Shinto.
Although philosophical competitors and Neo-Confucianism would co-exist as the dominant philosophical thought of Japan until the arrival of Western philosophy during the Meiji period. Like Chinese and Korean Confucianism, Edo Neo-Confucianism is a social and ethical philosophy based on metaphysical ideas; the philosophy can be characterized as humanistic and rationalistic, with the belief that the universe could be understood through human reason, that it was up to man to create a harmonious relationship between the universe and the individual. The rationalism of Neo-Confucianism is in contrast to the mysticism of the dominant Zen Buddhism in Japan. Unlike the Buddhists, the Neo-Confucians believed that reality existed, could be understood by mankind if the interpretations of reality were different depending on the school of Neo-Confucianism, but the spirit of Neo-Confucian rationalism is diametrically opposed to that of Buddhist mysticism. Whereas Buddhism insisted on the unreality of things, Neo-Confucianism stressed their reality.
Buddhism and Taoism asserted that existence came out of, returned to, non-existence. Buddhists, to some degree, Taoists as well, relied on meditation and insight to achieve supreme reason; the social aspects of the philosophy are hierarchical with a focus on filial piety. This created a Confucian social stratification in Edo society that had not existed, dividing Japanese society into four main classes: the samurai, seen as the Japanese equivalent of the Chinese scholar-bureaucrats, at the top of the social hierarchy the farmers and merchants; the samurai were avid readers and teachers of Confucian thought in Japan, establishing many Confucian academies. Neo-Confucianism introduced elements of ethnocentrism into Japan; as the Chinese Neo-Confucians had regarded their own culture as the center of the world, the Japanese Neo-Confucians developed a similar national pride. This national pride would evolve into the philosophical school of Kokugaku, which would challenge Neo-Confucianism, its perceived foreign Chinese origins, as the dominant philosophy of Japan.
Fujiwara Seika Hayashi Razan Nakai Tōju Yamazaki Ansai Kumazawa Banzan Kinoshita J
Ame-no-Uzume-no-mikoto is the goddess of dawn and revelry in the Shinto religion of Japan, the wife of fellow-god Sarutahiko Ōkami. She famously relates to the tale of Amaterasu Omikami, her name can be pronounced as Ama-no-Uzume. She is known as Ōmiyanome-no-ōkami, an inari kami due to her relationship with her husband. Amaterasu's brother, the storm god Susano'o, had vandalized her rice fields, threw a flayed horse at her loom, brutally killed one of her maidens due to a quarrel between them. In turn, Amaterasu retreated into the Heavenly Rock Cave, Amano-Iwato; the world, without the illumination of the sun, became dark and the gods could not lure Amaterasu out of her hiding place. The clever Uzume overturned a tub near the cave entrance and began a dance on it, tearing off her clothing in front of the other deities, they considered this so comical. This dance is said to have founded Kagura. Uzume had hung a beautiful jewel of polished jade. Amaterasu heard them, peered out to see what all the fuss was about.
When she opened the cave, she saw the jewel and her glorious reflection in a mirror which Uzume had placed on a tree, came out from her clever hiding spot. At that moment, the god Ame-no-Tajikarawo-no-mikoto dashed forth and closed the cave behind her, refusing to budge so that she could no longer retreat. Another god tied a magic shimenawa across the entrance; the deities Ame-no-Koyane-no-mikoto and Ame-no-Futodama-no-mikoto asked Amaterasu to rejoin the divine. She agreed, light was restored to the earth. Ame-no-Uzume-no-Mikoto is still worshiped today as a Shinto kami, spirits indigenous to Japan, she is known as Ame-no-Uzume-no-Mikoto, The Great Persuader, The Heavenly Alarming Female. She is depicted in kyōgen farce as a woman who revels in her sensuality. According to Michael Witzel, Uzume is most related to the Vedic goddess Ushas, a descendant of the Proto-Indo-European goddess Hausos. Both goddesses share many similarities such as the cave and the exposure of breasts as a sign of friendship.
Witzel proposed that the Japanese and Vedic religions are much more related compared to other mythologies under what he calls Laurasian mythology, that the two myths may go back to the Indo-Iranian period, around 2000 BCE. Music, Ame-no-Uzume op. 4 composed by Hiroaki Zakōji In Lewis Libby’s The Apprentice, Ame-no-Uzume-no-Mikoto is praised at the novel’s climax as “the goddess who brought laughter to the heavens and coaxed the sun from its cave”, while mocked by the novel’s narrator as a “false goddess” who merits her ceremonial murder at the novel’s climax by a figure leaping from the back of the stage. After her death, various successors take up her powers, regaining control of the novel’s youthful protagonist. Ame-no-Uzume appears in the second season of American Gods, played by actress Uni Park. Littleton, C. Scott. Mythology: The Illustrated Anthology of World Myth and Storytelling. London: Duncan Baird Publishers. Pp. 464–467. A substantial article on this subject Amaterasu and Uzume, Goddesses of Japan, at Goddess Gift A one-paragraph glossary entry in Italian
Amaterasu, Amaterasu-ōmikami, or Ōhirume-no-muchi-no-kami is a deity of the Japanese myth cycle and a major deity of the Shinto religion. She is seen as the goddess of the universe; the name Amaterasu is derived from Amateru and means "shining in heaven". The meaning of her whole name, Amaterasu-ōmikami, is "the great august kami who shines in the heaven". According to the Kojiki and Nihon Shoki in Japanese mythology, the Emperors of Japan are considered to be direct descendants of Amaterasu. Records of the worship of Amaterasu are found from the c. 712 CE Kojiki and c. 720 CE Nihon Shoki, the oldest records of Japanese history. In Japanese mythology, the goddess of the sun, is the sister of Susanoo, the god of storms and the sea, of Tsukuyomi, the god of the moon, it was written that Amaterasu had painted the landscape with her siblings while she created ancient Japan. Amaterasu was said to have been created by the divine couple Izanagi and Izanami, who were themselves created by, or grew from, the originator of the Universe, Amenominakanushi.
All three deities were born from Izanagi when he was purifying himself upon entering Yomi, the underworld, after breaking the promise not to see dead Izanami and he was chased by her and Yakusan-no-ikaduchigami, surrounding rotten Izanami. Amaterasu was born when Izanagi washed out his left eye, Tsukuyomi was born from the washing of the right eye, Susanoo from the washing of the nose. Amaterasu became the ruler of the sun and the heavens along with her brother, Tsukuyomi as the ruler of the night, Susanoo as the ruler of the seas. Amaterasu shared the sky with Tsukuyomi, her husband and brother until, out of disgust, he killed the goddess of food, Uke Mochi, when she pulled "food from her rectum and mouth"; this killing upset Amaterasu causing her to split away from him. The texts tell of a long-standing rivalry between Amaterasu and her other brother, Susanoo. Susanoo is said to have insulted claiming she had no power over the higher realm; when Izanagi ordered him to leave Heaven, he went to bid his sister goodbye.
Amaterasu was suspicious, but when Susanoo proposed a challenge to prove his sincerity, she accepted. Each of them took an object belonging from it, birthed deities. Amaterasu birthed three women from Susanoo's sword. Claiming the gods were hers because they were born of her necklace, the goddesses were his, she decided that she had won the challenge, as his item produced women. After Susanoo's defeat he went on a rampage destroying much of the heavenly and earthly realm, Amaterasu's rice fields, hurled a flayed pony at her loom, killing one of her attendants in a fit of rage. Amaterasu, in fury and grief, hid inside the Ama-no-Iwato, plunging the earth into darkness and chaos, she was persuaded to leave the cave. Omoikane threw a party outside of the Ama-no-Iwato to lure Amaterasu out but it was not until the Goddess Ame-no-Uzume danced promiscuously outside of the cave that Amaterasu came out. Susanoo was punished by being banished from heaven. Both amended their conflict when Susanoo gave her the Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi sword as a reconciliation gift.
According to legend, responsible from keeping balance and harmony within the earthly realm, bequeathed to her descendant Ninigi: the mirror, Yata no Kagami. Collectively, the sacred mirror and sword became the three Imperial Regalia of Japan; the Ise Shrine located in Ise, Mie Prefecture, houses the inner shrine, dedicated to Amaterasu. Her sacred mirror, Yata no Kagami, is said to be kept at this shrine as one of the imperial regalia objects. A ceremony known as Shikinen Sengu is held every twenty years at this shrine to honor the many deities enshrined, formed by 125 shrines altogether. At that time, new shrine buildings are built at a location adjacent to the site first. After the transfer of the object of worship, new clothing and treasure and offering food to the goddess the old buildings are taken apart; the building materials taken apart are given to buildings to renovate. This practice is a part of the Shinto faith and has been practiced since the year 690, but is not only for Amaterasu but for many other deities enshrined in Ise Shrine.
The Amanoiwato Shrine in Takachiho, Miyazaki Prefecture, Japan is dedicated to Amaterasu and sits above the gorge containing Ama-no-Iwato. The worship of Amaterasu to the exclusion of other kami has been described as "the cult of the sun"; this phrase may refer to the early pre-archipelagoan worship of the sun. Himiko Shinto in popular culture Sól Surya Vairocana Zalmoxis Ōkami Amaterasu, fictional character from video game Ōkami
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
Empress Suiko was the 33rd monarch of Japan, according to the traditional order of succession. Suiko reigned from 593 until her death in 628. In the history of Japan, Suiko was the first of eight women to take on the role of empress regnant; the seven women sovereigns reigning after Suiko were Kōgyoku/Saimei, Jitō, Genshō, Kōken/Shōtoku, Meishō and Go-Sakuramachi. Before her ascension to the Chrysanthemum Throne, her personal name was Mikekashiya-hime-no-mikoto called Toyomike Kashikiya hime no Mikoto. Empress Suiko had several names including Toyomike Kashikiya, she was the third daughter of Emperor Kinmei. Her mother was Soga no Kitashihime. Suiko was the younger sister of Emperor Yōmei, they had the same mother. Empress Suiko was a consort to her half-brother, Emperor Bidatsu, but after Bidatsu's first wife died she became his official consort and was given the title Ōkisaki, she bore seven children. After Bidatsu's death, Suiko's brother, Emperor Yōmei, came to power for about two years before dying of illness.
Upon Yōmei's death, another power struggle arose between the Soga clan and the Mononobe clan, with the Sogas supporting Prince Hatsusebe and the Mononobes supporting Prince Anahobe. The Sogas prevailed once again and Prince Hatsusebe acceded to the throne as Emperor Sushun in 587. However, Sushun began to resent the power of Soga no Umako, the head of the Soga clan, Umako out of fear that Sushun might strike first, had him assassinated by Yamatoaya no Ataikoma in 592; when asked to accede to the throne to fill the power vacuum that subsequently developed, Suiko became the first of what would be several examples in Japanese history where a woman was chosen to accede to the throne to avert a power struggle. 593: In the 2nd year of Sushun-tennō's reign, he died. Shortly thereafter, Empress Suiko is said to have ascended to the throne. Suiko's contemporary title would not have been tennō, as most historians believe this title was not introduced until the reigns of Emperor Tenmu and Empress Jitō.
Rather, it was Sumeramikoto or Amenoshita Shiroshimesu Ōkimi, meaning "the great Queen who rules all under heaven". Alternatively, Suiko might have been referred to as or the "Great Queen of Yamato". Prince Shōtoku was appointed regent the following year. Although political power during Suiko's reign is viewed as having been wielded by Prince Shōtoku and Soga no Umako, Suiko was far from powerless; the mere fact that she survived and her reign endured suggests. In 599, an earthquake destroyed buildings throughout Yamato Province in. Suiko's refusal to grant Soga no Umako's request that he be granted the imperial territory known as Kazuraki no Agata in 624 is cited as evidence of her independence from his influence; some of the many achievements under Empress Suiko's reign include the official recognition of Buddhism by the issuance of the Flourishing Three Treasures Edict in 594. Suiko was one of the first Buddhist monarchs in Japan and had taken the vows of a nun shortly before becoming empress.
The reign of this empress was marked by the opening of relations with the Sui court in 600, the adoption of the Twelve Level Cap and Rank System in 603 and the adoption of the Seventeen-article constitution in 604. The adoption of the Sexagenary cycle calendar in Japan is attributed to Empress Suiko in 604. At a time when imperial succession was determined by clan leaders, rather than the emperor, Suiko left only vague indications of succession to two candidates while on her deathbed. One, Prince Tamura, was a grandson of Emperor Bidatsu and was supported by the main line of Sogas, including Soga no Emishi; the other, Prince Yamashiro, was a son of Prince Shōtoku and had the support of some lesser members of the Soga clan. After a brief struggle within the Soga clan in which one of Prince Yamashiro's main supporters was killed, Prince Tamura was chosen and he acceded to the throne as Emperor Jomei in 629. Empress Suiko ruled for 35 years. Although there were seven other reigning empresses, their successors were most selected from amongst the males of the paternal Imperial bloodline, why some conservative scholars argue that the women's reigns were temporary and that male-only succession tradition must be maintained in the 21st century.
Empress Genmei, followed on the throne by her daughter, Empress Genshō, remains the sole exception to this conventional argument. The actual site of Suiko's grave is known; this empress is traditionally venerated at a memorial Shinto shrine at Osaka. The Imperial Household Agency designates this location as Suiko's mausoleum. It's formally named Shinaga no Yamada no misasagi. Husband: Prince Nunakakura no Futo Tamashiki no Sumeramikoto Emperor Bidatsu, Emperor Kinmei’s son First Daughter: Princess Uji no Shitsukahi/Uji no Kahitako, married to Crown Prince Shotoku First Son: Prince Takeda Second Daughter: Princess Woharida, married to Prince Oshisako-no-Hikohito-no-Oe Third Daughter: Princess Umori/Karu no Mori Second Son: Prince Wohari Third Son: Prince Owari, Father of Tachibana-no-Oiratsume Fourth Daughter: Princess Tame, married to Emperor Jomei Fifth Daughter: Princess Sakurawi no Yumihari, married to Prince Oshisako-no-Hikohito-no-Oe married to Prince Kume Empress Jingū, semi-legendary, rule preceded Empress Suiko Japan