Video of a Shrine Ritual

I wanted to share this because usually every year during Golden Week I share a video with my Patreon backers of the “shrine battle” at one of the major local shrines. This year because of the pandemic, the festival was cancelled, but the shrine ceremony went on as it always does and has for over 1000 years. This year, the priests posted a video of the ceremony, which is really really cool.

This is Otaki jinja, a shrine to the goddess Kawakami Gozen. It’s a big shrine located in the far corner of a rural town in a rural prefecture. It’s essentially the last building before you enter the mountains. Legend has it hundreds and hundreds of years ago, she came down from this mountain and taught the locals how to make paper. Since then, Echizen has been an important center of traditional Japanese paper (washi). Incidentally, it has special meaning to me because it is the shrine where my wife and I got married.

In this above video, you can watch as the priests leave early in the morning from the shrine at the base of the mountain. They wear a little backpack like structure, which is a house for a god. Normally instead of a mini backpack, there is a massive and majestic golden palanquin carried by many people. But for social distancing, this year it’s just a priest with a backpack.

They travel to the top of the mountain, and take the goddess and her family out of the shrines where they live during the year. They then take her down, and re-enshrine here in the village for the day.

She visits each of the local shrines at that time, and the local villagers all pay their respects. (This is where the shrine battles take place, because each village doesn’t want the goddess to leave. They want her to stay with them for the year.) Obviously that is not part of this video, but it’s my favorite festival during other years.

Finally, at the end of the day, there is another long ceremony, and she is placed back into the palanquin (or backpack) and carried back up the mountain to her home at the top. Normally, this is done in the pitch black (lit only by hand held paper lanterns), up a dangerous mountain trail, by drunk villagers carrying a heavy golden palanquin. Even when I was not drunk or carrying a shrine, I was afraid of falling and breaking my neck, so I can’t imagine how they do this every year.

Anyway, it’s really cool to get a unique perspective of this ritual, even though it’s unfortunate that the festivals had to be canceled.

Ino Mononoke Roku (index)

For your reading pleasure, here is a list of links to all of the story posts containing Ino Mononoke Roku, posted for A-Yokai-A-Day 2019:

Introduction
Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4
Day 5
Day 6
Day 7
Day 8
Day 9
Day 10
Day 11
Day 12
Day 13
Day 14
Day 15
Day 16
Day 17
Day 18
Day 19
Day 20
Day 21
Day 22
Day 23
Day 24
Day 25
Day 26
Day 27
Day 28
Day 29
Day 30

A-Yokai-A-Day: Ino Mononoke Roku, Day 30

This year for #ayokaiaday we are looking at the bizarre occurrences which took place at the Ino residence in Miyoshi, Hiroshima, during July of 1749. These occurrences all revolve around a young boy named Ino Heitaro. His story is collected in Ino mononoke roku, a collection of scrolls, books, and legends which collectively form the narrative of a supernatural phenomenon that took place 270 years ago.

If you’ve made it this far, congratulations! It’s Halloween, and today is the final day of Heitaro’s haunting. Of course, you only know that because I told you at the start. Heitaro has no idea what’s in store for him just yet, or why he is being haunted.

Before before we get to that, a word from our sponsor! 😉

This year’s A-Yokai-A-Day was made possible thanks to my patrons, who graciously support my yokai work. If you’ve developed a new appreciation for Japanese folklore thanks to this project, or if you’ve always been a yokai fan, please consider supporting me through Patreon! Every little bit helps me to continue translating, writing, and illustrating these stories; and I hope to continue to bring yokai into the English speaking world for many years to come!

And now, on to the moment you’ve all been waiting for: the exciting conclusion of Ino mononoke roku!

By the thirtieth day, all of Heitaro’s friends, family, and neighbors had spread the news far and wide of the bizarre haunting at the Ino residence. As for Heitaro himself, the strangeness had been going on for so long that he had practically grown used to it.

That day, a well dressed and sharp looking samurai in his 40’s came to visit Heitaro. At his first glance, Heitaro recognized that this man was the source of the whole haunting.

“Ah, the yokai’s true form finally shows itself!” Young Heitaro grabbed his katana and swore to take the samurai down in a single cut.

As soon as Heitaro’s sword was drawn, the samurai vanished. Then, from Heitaro’s ceiling came a voice: “Please, put your sword away.”

Heitaro cooled his head. He put his sword away and waited to see what the spirits’ next move would be.

Then, the lid of his hearth popped off, and a massive puff of thick smoke billowed into the room. The smoke gathered together and congealed into the shape of a large head.

A boil on the thing’s forehead began to swell up. Suddenly a massive amount of smoke and worms burst forth from the boil. Worms covered the floor and crawled all over Heitaro.

Worms! It had to be worms! Heitaro hated worms!

Then, a pair of eyes sprouted from the wall and began to glare at Heitaro. A mouth appeared beneath them and laughed at him.

As the worms crawling over his body and into his clothes approached Heitaro’s absolute limit, they suddenly vanished.

Phew!

Then the mysterious samurai materialized once more.

“My name is Sanmoto Gorozaemon. I am a demon lord. Another demon lord named Shinno Akugoro and I had a contest to see who was scarier. We would each scare one hundred people, and the winner would become the top demon lord. I scared eighty five people before you, Heitaro. You would have been my eighty sixth. But I could not scare you. Your courage is exceptionally rare, and deserves to be rewarded.”

Sanmoto Gorozaemon presented Heitaro with a wooden mallet.

“One day my competitor may come for you. If he does, strike a pillar with this mallet, and I shall come to your aid. We will defeat Shinno Akugoro together.”

Heitaro noticed that a god of protection was sitting beside him.

Then, a splendid palanquin appeared, and Heitaro’s yard was filled with dozens and dozens of yokai of all shapes and sizes. Sanmoto Gorozaemon climbed into the palanquin, and the yokai hoisted it up onto their shoulders.

The demons gathered into a big parade and carried the palanquin off into the night sky. They danced and cavorted as they went.

Heitaro watched the night parade disappear into the clouds, returning to wherever they had come from.

The end.

A-Yokai-A-Day: Ino Mononoke Roku, Day 29

This year for #ayokaiaday we are looking at the bizarre occurrences which took place at the Ino residence in Miyoshi, Hiroshima, during July of 1749. These occurrences all revolve around a young boy named Ino Heitaro. His story is collected in Ino mononoke roku, a collection of scrolls, books, and legends which collectively form the narrative of a supernatural phenomenon that took place 270 years ago.

Twenty nine days! “How long will this continue,” thought Heitaro. The haunting showed no sign of letting up.

As Heitaro sat wondering what kind of surprise the spirits had in store for him today, an ill wind began to blow into his house.

And on the strange wind, something twinkling…

Sparkles, like tiny stars, floated in on the foul wind and spread throughout every room of Heitaro’s house. They lodged themselves into every crack and crevice.

Luckily, nothing was burned.

A-Yokai-A-Day: Ino Mononoke Roku, Day 28

This year for #ayokaiaday we are looking at the bizarre occurrences which took place at the Ino residence in Miyoshi, Hiroshima, during July of 1749. These occurrences all revolve around a young boy named Ino Heitaro. His story is collected in Ino mononoke roku, a collection of scrolls, books, and legends which collectively form the narrative of a supernatural phenomenon that took place 270 years ago.

During the twenty eighth day, Heitaro heard the distant sound of shakuhachi being played.

Suddenly, out of nowhere, a huge group of mendicant monks appeared! They filed into Heitaro’s yard, his balcony, and every room until his whole house was filled with monks.

All day long the monks played their ear-piercing flutes. All night long too.

Poor Heitaro just lay in bed and closed his eyes…

Another sleepless night.

A-Yokai-A-Day: Ino Mononoke Roku, Day 27

This year for #ayokaiaday we are looking at the bizarre occurrences which took place at the Ino residence in Miyoshi, Hiroshima, during July of 1749. These occurrences all revolve around a young boy named Ino Heitaro. His story is collected in Ino mononoke roku, a collection of scrolls, books, and legends which collectively form the narrative of a supernatural phenomenon that took place 270 years ago.

On day twenty seven, Heitaro sat down to work at his writing desk. Even though it was midday, darkness began to grow all around him, like rolling clouds.

Eventually, it became as dark as blackest night. Poor Heitaro couldn’t see anything at all, let alone write.

Then, all of a sudden, it became blindingly bright!

That night, mysterious noises were heard all around Heitaro’s house. Among them were the sound of wooden clappers being struck, and women’s laughter.

A-Yokai-A-Day: Ino Mononoke Roku, Day 26

This year for #ayokaiaday we are looking at the bizarre occurrences which took place at the Ino residence in Miyoshi, Hiroshima, during July of 1749. These occurrences all revolve around a young boy named Ino Heitaro. His story is collected in Ino mononoke roku, a collection of scrolls, books, and legends which collectively form the narrative of a supernatural phenomenon that took place 270 years ago.

On night twenty six, Heitaro was once again visited by a woman’s head. In place of a neck and body, she had only a single arm.

The head flew into Heitaro’s room and glared at him. Then she bounced about on her hand like it was a pogo stick.

Heitaro tried to ignore her, but she bounced up onto him and started petting and pawing at his face and body.

It was a rough night.