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Shinobigoma Horse Iwate



Shinobigoma 偲び駒 secret votive straw horse
shinobi-goma, shinobi koma
rice straw horse

from Hanamaki town 花巻市 

The former domain of Nanubu was famous for horse raising. and many horse toys were made from wood, rice straw or other natural material. They were also kept as talismans to protect the animals.

These straw horses are a talisman for finding a good marriage partner (enmusubi 「縁結び) and have many children to prolong the family line.
It was also offered with the wish for a good harvest.

In the function as matchmaker for finding a marriage partner it is also called
tsukaigoma, tsukai-goma 使い駒 "horse to be used"
horse with a special purpose
and sold at the temple Enmanji at the Kannon Hall in Hanamaki.

When looking for a partner, the person had to bring a straw horse to the Kannon hall at night, and not to be seen by anyone. When their wish is granted, they have to come back, take the straw horse down , decorate it with red, black and yellow cloth stripes and dedicate it again in a dark night.

shinobi is a word used for stealthy activities that should not be seen by other persons.

Hanamaki became a famous hot spring around 1920. At that time, local shop keepers thought of making this a souvenir.
The tail of the straw horse is fixed upward toward the head.

しのび駒 shinobigoma stamp

This special horse has even been on a stamp in 1965 and thus its story became known all over Japan.

円万寺の観音堂 Temple Enman-Ji and the Kannon Hall
. . . CLICK here for Photos !


This temple is also famous for it kagura dance.

source : www.bunka.pref.iwate.jp

This is a kagura dance of the yamabushi mountain ascetics.
During the main festival of the Yasaka shrine 八坂神社 on October 25, it is performed at the Kannon Hall and various other shrines in Hanamaki and then in other towns around Hanamaki until the New Year.
With the Gongen Dance 権現舞, bad influence is cleared away and the home is protected from fire.
Sometimes this dance is also performed in the main visitors room of a private home.

It dates back to the Kagura dance of Hayachine 早池峰神楽.
. Hayachine Kagura 早池峰神楽 ( .

Nowadays it is also performed during the
Hanamaki matsuri festival 花巻まつり.

. . . . .

One of Hanamaki's most notable events is the Hanamaki Matsuri, an annual festival which takes place the second weekend of September and dates back to 1593. The three-day festivities include a dance of over one thousand synchronized traditional dancers; the carrying of over one hundred small shrines; and the parading of a dozen or so large, hand-constructed floats depicting historical, fictional, or mythical scenes and accompanied by drummers, flautists, and lantern-carriers. Of these dances, the most famous is Shishi Odori (dance of the deer). This dance involves men dressing as deer and banging drums.
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !

. Tono Fudo Monogatari 遠野不動明王物語 .
and Mount Hayachine


. . . CLICK here for Photos !
. Reference .


hatsu akari mezameshi warako no shinobigoma

first light -
when I wake up there is this
votive horse of straw

Kawai Hikoo 河合未光 (1897 - 2000)

. Japan after the BIG earthquake March 11, 2011

Inland Iwate (Ichinohe, Ninohe, Morioka, Hanamaki, Kitakami) was shook badly, but there was no danger of tsunami.


.Iwate Folk Toys .

- #shinobigomaiwate -

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