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Masaru Fukushima



Masaru  まさる
from Fukushima prefecture 福島

this is a pun with the sound:

ma ga saru 魔が去る evil is leaving
ma saru 魔去る evil is leaving
masaru 勝る winning

Masaru is an indispensable lucky charm bow toy for New Year’s celebrations in the Fukushima region. At the top of a bamboo stick is a flag inscribed with the words “Good Fortune”. Attached to a hair-string is an unglazed earthenware bell with white rabbit hair on top. When the bell is released from the top of the string, it comes down swinging and making simple yet delightful sound.

At the end of the year, people place this Masaru toy at their household altar, believing it will bring prosperity in business and a rich harvest. From the end of one year to the beginning of the next, major business streets all over Fukushima Prefecture are filled with music and the accompanying calls of
“ kyonen ni masaru, fuku masaru, kawansho, kawansho
(this new year will be even better than last year, bringing more prosperity.
Why don’t you buy? Why don’t you buy?)”.
去年にまさる 福まさる 買わんしょう 買わんしょう 

Masaru is a boy’s name and it also means to excel or to be superior. This is why it is associated with the idea of a better year and more prosperity. Masaru also can mean “drive away evil spirits” when it is written with different kanji or Chinese characters.
The rabbit hair is said to be associated with “profits”、儲けmooke, ke 毛 is hair.

At major ceremonies in main shrines and temples such as a year-end fair at the Fukushima Inari Shrine, Juusan Mairi (visit to celebrate being 13 years old), at Kuroiwa kokuzouson Mangan-ji Temple and for Dawn Prayer on New Year’s day at Mt. Shinobu Haguroyama Shrine, visitors flock to buy Masaru toys for New Year’s luck. The streets are filled with the pleasant sound of the Masaru bells.
source : nippon-kichi.jp


Masaru is sold during a visit to the shrine Haguro Jinja 羽黒神社 as an amulet to bring good luck for the coming year.
In former times, vendors of these amulets walked in Fukushima and sold their ware.
Masaru-uri まさる売り were a speciality of this region.

source : Mingeikan Fukushima


Fukushima Inari Jinja 福島稲荷神社 
Fukushima Inari Shrine

. . . CLICK here for Photos !

Fukushima Inari Shrine Annual Festival

When the fragrant of the olives in the air, "Autumn Festival of Fukushima Inari Shrine" is coming. People call this shrine "Oinari-San" with friendly feeling. This festival is held in the weekend before Sports Day. Many Shinto rituals are held in these days. Fukushima Inari Shrine "Gohonja Ichinomiya Mikoshi" is solemnly carried and shown by the parishioners of the Shrine in the middle of the festival.
Ahead of this festival, "Ninomiya Mikoshi" carried by "Fukushima Mikoshi lifting group" parades toward Inari Shrine. In the afternoon, "Fukushima Autumn Festival Floats" is held. 18 floats owned by parishioners of the Shrine, gather round the streets of Fukushima Station. When the floats begins to head for Inari Shrine, the festival comes to the climax. Many stalls are set up around Inari Shrine. It's fun to look in the stalls.
source : www.fmcnet.co.jp

Fukushima Inari Shrine Nagoshi Oharai Doll Festival
A doll festival at Inari shrine is held on July 29 to 31. "Oharai"(purifiction) is done twice as a year as end of June (the lunar calendar) and end of the year. It's an occasion to purify oneself by floating a doll in the river. Also, to wish for being all right in hot summer season.
There's a "Chinowa"(reeds ring) in the precincts of the shrine. If he/she walks through and around the "Chinowa"in the shape of the figure 8, he/she will escape from misfortune. In the night, the members of the Fukushima Inari Ninomiya Mikoshi group carry mikoshi. People who love a festival gather and carry mikoshi.

Look at many photos:
source : www.fmcnet.co.jp

. Fox Shrine Festivals (Inari Matsuri)


黒岩虚空蔵尊 Kuroiwa Kokuzo son
万願寺 Manganji Temple

. . . CLICK here for Photos !

. Kokuzo Bosatsu 虚空蔵菩薩 (Kokuuzoo)
Akashagarbha Bodhisattva


In former times, the larger the tuff of white rabbit hair, the better the prospects for good business. Lately, the tuff has become quite small, though.

simpler Masaru amulets


MASARU 神猿 (lit. Kami Monkey).
The sacred monkey of the Hie Shrine (aka Hie Jinja 日吉神社, Hiyoshi Taisha 日吉大社). Masaru is considered a demon queller par excellence (魔が去る・何よりも勝る). Masaru is also invoked in Kōshin rituals to stop the three worms from escaping the body.

SARUGAMI 猿神 (lit. Monkey Kami).
Another term for the sacred Shintō monkey (Masaru) of Mt. Hie. Sarugami is worshipped as the deity of easy delivery and child rearing, and is the Lord of the three monkeys (see, hear, speak no evil). Closely associated with fertility.

Literally "Mountain King Avatar." Sannō means mountain king, and gongen means avatar. The monkey is Sannō's messenger (tsukai 使い) and Sannō's avatar (gongen). At Hie Jinja shrines in Japan, the monkey also acts as the patron of safe childbirth and harmonious marriage, and red monkey charms are used to ward off evil and disease


More about Monkey Deities:
source : Mark Schumacher

. Saru 猿 / 申  Monkey Amulets .

. Sannoo matsuri 山王祭 (さんのうまつり) Sanno Festival .
Hiyoshi matsuri 日吉祭(ひよしまつり) Hiyoshi shrine festival
sarumatsuri 申祭(さるまつり)monkey festival


. The New Year .
Celebrations, customs and Food of Japan . and Haiku

. nomaoi, noma oi 野馬追 (のまおい)
chasing wild horses

At Soma in Fukushima

. Regional Dishes from Fukushima .



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