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9/01/2011

Somin Shorai Amulet

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Somin Shorai 蘇民将来 



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The Somin belief
is folk belief extensively disseminated in and after the Nara period (710-794) and is still alive in various regions in Japan. At Shinano Kokubunji Temple 信濃国分寺, Gozutenno-no-saimon (written address to deity Gozutenno) copied in 1480, which inscribes the Somin legend, was handed down, and the talisman is assumed to be made in these days.

Shinano Kokubunji Temple was built in the Nara period by the imperial edict of Emperor Shomu, but declined at the end of the Heian period (end of the 12th century), and in the medieval ages, the temple was moved to the present location and inherits the tradition of Kokubunji Temple.
On the eighth day of every month, Konkomyokyo (Suvarnaprabhasa) is read aloud and the ritual is also called Yokado, and in particular, the street fair held on January 7 and 8 are thronged with people who call for the
Somin Shorai-fu 蘇民将来符.

The right to fabricate and distribute the Somin Shorai-fu is inherited by families who compose Somin-ko (a volunteer group related to Buddhism) only, and Somin Shorai-fu is selected as a selected intangible folk cultural property for which measures must be taken to preserve records as folkways for distributing the Somin Shorai-fu.
The amulets are made from the wood of a special willow tree
(doro yanagi ドロヤナギ)
source :  bunkashisan.ne.jp

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quote
The official ceremony at the shrine Kita no Tenmangu 北の天満宮 starts at six in the evening. People can then walk through the purifying "Ring of Reeds", chi no wa. They walk first through the left ring, then through the right ring and then through the left ring again. There is a special prayer for each turn, and on the last circle they repeat the name of "Somin Shorai " (Somin Shoorai, Somin Shourai) 蘇民将来).

Somin was a poor man, but he offered food and lodgings to another rather poor-loking man who had come from the North to the South, who was in fact the deity Susano-O. This god gave him a ring of reeds to ward off illness, so Somin and his family lived well through the plagues, pests and diseases of their age.
Somin Shoorai 蘇民将来 Summer Purification Rituals



Kannabi, kamunabi, iwasaka, himorogi and other names refer to a place in nature where the gods are believed to reside, a "purified place". It is also a kind of yorishiro resting place for the god.
. Kannabi 神奈備 .



. Tenman-Gu 天満宮 and
Sugawara Michizane 菅原道真




. Gozu Tennō 牛頭天王 .
and the Gion Festival in Kyoto


. Gozu Tennoo fuda 牛頭天王札 .
and
Somin Shorai no Chinowa 蘇民将来の茅の輪
Nezu Jinja 根津神社 Nezu Shrine, Tokyo


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from shrine Yasaka jinja, Kyoto

Somin Shoorai chimaki 蘇民将来粽
Amulet with a chimaki rice cake
bamboo leaf talisman

They have the description 蘇民将来の子孫也
"I am descended from Somin Shorai"

. Chimaki, Rice cakes for the Boy's festival, 粽 May 5


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quote
Somin Shorai Fu 蘇民将来符
is a lucky charm based on a folk belief in Japan. In the belief, Somin Shorai was a poor but charitable person. He saved a wanderer who was looking for a place to stay the night on his journey. The tourist was actually a famous god and rejected by a mean, rich person just before, so he thanked and taught Somin how to make a lucky charm which avoids disasters. Later, when a disaster hit the country, only Somin's family was able to survive. Therefore, it is believed that a family which worships Somin Shorai charm avoids all kinds of disasters and thrives forever.

The Somin Shorai charm is made of woods or paper, and distributed on January seventh and eighth at temples in Japan. The designs vary at each temple. The famous one is Shinano Kokubunji temple in Ueda city, Nagano. First, the charm is designed and made by Somin-Koo which is an organization formed by local peasants, and then handed to the monks in order to get prayed. Historically, they have made it in winter when they had nothing to do on their agricultural fields. They offer seven different sizes. The price starts from 1000 yen up to 10,000 yen.
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !


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Somin and Daruma 蘇民達磨


© PHOTO : snpdyr.blog103


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昭和45年~49年の蘇民将来符




After 1970 the amulets became larger and more elaborate.

Amulets made of straw can be hung at the entrance of a home or store
(monpu 門符) .
Some look like a door curtain (noren), with a wooden votive tablet in the middle.
The inscription reads
蘇民将来子孫家門 Somin Shoorai Shison Kamon
for a family with many generations

On the right is written
七福即生 sevenfold luck to come

On the left is written
七難即滅 sevenfold harm to leave


source : sominshou nagano


List of the different forms of the amulets:
source : source : sominshou nagano : forms

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. . . . . regional Somin Shorai amulets


Iwate

. Sominsai 蘇民祭 Somin festival .
Kuroishi Hadaka Matsuri. 黒石裸祭
The most famous Somin Festival.
kigo for the New Year


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Kyoto


from shrine Yasaka jinja

. Gion matsuri 祇園祭り Gion festival
kigo for late summer


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Mie, Ise region

In the Ise region 伊勢, the following legend is told:

Once upon a time, the deity Gozu Tenno was on his search for a bride, coming to the Dragon Palace Castle 竜宮城. It was late and he looked for a place to stay. In the middle of the woods, he found a beautiful house. It belonged to the village elder, the rich Gotan 巨旦. So he knocked at the door.

"I am a traveller and very tired. Please let me stay over night."



Gotan looked at the poor, exhausted wanderer in his rags and was disgusted.

"No way, we are poor already and can not afford this." Gotan told him to go away.

So Gozu went on until he found the poor-looking home of a farmer named Somin Shorai and asked again to stay over night.

"Well, as you can see we are very poor, but never mind, come in and stay as long as you need to rest."
Somin made some millet broth and fed the wanderer.

When Gozu finally left the house of Somin, he gave him a round treasure ball as thank-you present.
If a gentle person like Somin has this treasure, money will start to come to his home.

Anyway, Gozu Tenno went to the Dragon Palace Castle, married and had eight children.
After eight years, he decided to visit his homeland again.
On the way he passed the home of Somin, who had become village elder. Gotan tried to have Gozu stay over night in his home this time, but it did not bring him riches, because his heart was not gentle and pure.



Many people came to Somin to discuss their problems with him. He gave them a wooden tablet with his name written on it, as Gozu had told him to do. And those who kept the amulet with a pure heart would lead a happy life. Therefore even now, people hang an amulet at the entrance of their home to show gratitude to Somin Shorai.
source : www.bunka.pref.mie


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Miyagi



from temple Kinoshita Yakushi doo
木ノ下薬師堂
This temple had been constructed by orders of Date Masamune as a
Mutsu Kokubunji 陸奥国分寺.

This is a small one, about 3 cm long, in red, green and yellow. It has 8 facets, each with one letter of the name SO MI N SHI YO O RA I - ソミンショウライ .

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Nagano



from the temple Shinano Kokubunji 信濃国分寺

The local villagers have a special religious group, Somin koo 蘇民講, its members prepare the amulets during the winter months, as a source of income. They are sold mainly during the New Year celebrations on January 7 and 8, the auspicious day of the "Hall of the Eighth Day " Yookado 八日堂縁日の日.

It is also customary to pass a "ring of purifucation" on this day.

. chi no wa 茅の輪 sacred ring .

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Saitama



Tennoozan Takedera Somin Shoorai 天王山竹寺蘇民将来
from temple Takedera, Hanno town 埼玉県飯能市

official temple name is
Ioozan yakuju-in Hachiooji 医王山薬寿院 八王寺
いおうざんやくじゅいん はちおうじ)
(It is temple nr. 33 at the Musashino Kannon pilgrimage.)

. . . CLICK here for Photos !


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. Reference .





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. Regional Folk Toys from Japan .


. Tohoku after the BIG earthquake March 11, 2011

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