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11/17/2011

Oji Inari Fox Shrine Tokyo

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Ooji Inari Jinja 王子稲荷神社 Oji Inari Fox Shrine

1-12-26,Kishi-Machi,Kita-Ku,Tokyo
東京都北区岸町1の12の26



But first let us look at

Ooji Jinja 王子神社 Oji Shrine



It was also called Oji Gongen 王子権現.
Ooji Ookami 王子大神 Oji Okami "Great deity of Oji"

The whole region is called Oji with respect to this deity and its shrine.

The local deities in residence are

Semimaru ko 蝉丸公(神霊) (a poet of the Heian period)
Sakagami hime 逆髪姫(神霊)
Furuya bijo 古屋美女(神霊)
Deity of hairstyle 髪の祖神

The Oji Shrine was founded in the 14th century. It is situated on a hill and from there you have a great view. The shrine buildings of today were reconstructed after WW II.

The Oji Shozoku Inari Shrine was the main Inari shrine of the eight provinces of Kanto. The present building dates back to 1808.

On December 6, there is a famous market for "rakes for good luck"
(kumade 熊手).


Ooji Gongen no yari 王子権現の槍 spear of Oji Gongen

An amulet against fire.

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Oji Inari Jinja is close by.



quote
Oji Inari Shrine is another important shrine located a short walk from Oji Shrine. Dedicated to Inari, the god of rice harvest, it is one of the oldest shrines of the area. It is also considered the head Inari shrine of the eight provinces of Kanto. The Inari deity Daimyojin is also said to be enshrined here. It is believed that on New Year's Eve, foxes, who are considered to be the guardians and messengers of god Inari, gather here from all over the Kanto region. After being transformed into court ladies at the nearby Shozoku Inari, they come here at Oji Inari Shrine to pray.

The gate to the Inari Shrine grounds is guarded on both sides by a pair of stone foxes that date back to 1764. Other smaller stone foxes donated by worshippers and several stone monuments can be seen all over the grounds. The main shrine building was built in 1808 in the traditional style. The inner sanctum of the shrine is located at the back of the building.

An annual event of the shrine is the Oji Fox Parade that is held each year on New Year's Eve to honor the foxes that are said to gather here on the night. Local residents, dressed in traditional dress and wearing paper-maché fox masks, gather at nearby Shozoku Shrine. From here they parade to Oji Inari Shrine. On the Oji Inari Shrine grounds, bonfires are lit and the participants dance around it. Food and drink stalls are put up for the participants and visitors who gather to watch the parade.

Another festival held at Oji Inari Shrine is the Tako Ichi , or the Kite Festival . This annual festival, which dates back to the Edo period, is held on February 6 each year. On this day kites are sold and flown on the shrine grounds. Kites hold an important place in Japanese culture as it is believed that they cut the wind and stop fires from spreading.
source : tokyo-tokyo.com

The deities in residence are
宇氣母智之神 Ukemochi no kami 保食神
和久産巣日神 Wakumusubi no kami
宇迦之御魂神 Uka no mitama

The shrine was also called Kishi Inari岸稲荷.
It was a kind of family shrine for Minamoto no Yoritomo, regent in Kamakura, and thus soon became famous in the whole Kanto region.
In 1634, both shrines have been enrarged by the Tokugawa regents, to partake of their spiritual power.

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Shoozoku Inari shrine, Shozoku 装束稲荷神社
"Shrine to change robes"


Once a year on January 1, the foxes from the Kanto region would pay a visit to
the great fox shrine
Ooji Inari Jinja 王子稲荷神社 Oji Inari Shrine.

On the way, they would come here to the large Chinese hackberry tree (enoki 榎の木) to change into beautiful court ladies in festival robes. Then they formed a parade walking to the main shrine of Ooji.
The small Shozoku shrine is located at the foot of this large tree.


Ando Hiroshige 安藤広重

王子装束ゑの木 大晦日の狐火 Fox Fire Parade on New Year





Oji no kitsune 王子の狐 the fox from Oji
This yellow figure was a toy for the children of Edo.
The Kabuki Fox "Shibaraku" (see below) was also a toy.


Now on New Year's eve there is a parade in memory of the foxes. People wear masks of foxes and walk from the Shozoku shrine to the main Oji shrine. Many dance around large bonfires and enjoy a cup of sake to keep them warm.


papermachee masks for the parade

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from Shoozoku Inari shrine 装束稲荷神社
This kite was also an amulet to prevent evil.

hibuse no tako 火防の凧 kite to prevent fire
This kite was not ment to use as a toy to fly in the sky, put was fixed in the kitchen (or other rooms with an open fireplace) in a high place above the fireplace.

On February 6 there is another festival at the shrine, this time for selling kites.
tako ichi 凧市 market for kites
In Edo, these special kites were believed to cut off the wind and thus prevent fire.
The painted yakko face of the kite below was a trustworthy amulet.


from Oji shrine

With more photos of the shrine:
source : tencoo

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Two famous ema 絵馬 votive tablets from this shrine


王子稲荷 絵馬「狐火」 Kitsunebi
According to the woodblock by Hiroshige.
An amulet for good business (shoobai hanjoo).




王子稲荷 絵馬「茨木」Ibaraki
According to a painting by Shibata Sejin 柴田是真 (1807~1891)
The painging is one of the shrine treasures.




and a parody of the fox and Kabuki Shibaraku 暫狐

source : Mandara do

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. Kobayashi Issa 小林一茶 in Edo .


陽炎によしある人の素足哉
kageroo ni yoshi aru hito no suashi kana

bare feet
shimmering, she makes
a special prayer

Tr. Chris Drake

This hokku is part of a haibun Issa wrote on lunar on lunar 2/9 (March 20) in 1804 about a short trip he made with a friend to a Shinto shrine devoted to the fox god Inari in Oji on the northern edge of greater Edo. Many foxes were thought to gather at the shrine, occasionally displaying ghostly lanterns or torches called "foxfire" in long lines as they walked along in the night. In the haibun Issa mentions that the fox god is believed to be very powerful and also that in the modernizing city of Edo the world is changing rapidly. Visiting the shrine may have allowed Issa to feel some continuity with his and Japan's past.

During his daytime visit to the shrine Issa doesn't see foxfire, but he does see something mysterious. Presumably in front of the main hall, he sees someone who is praying very intently and intensely. Gender isn't mentioned, but I use a female pronoun here, since even today it is quite common to see women praying very serious prayers at Shinto shrines.
Issa says the person making the prayer is "someone with a special purpose." The noun yoshi means 'reason; meaning; purpose; cause; connection,' and Issa can tell that this person has a special reason for praying because she stands barefoot, which in a Japanese context means that she is trying to show the god she prays to that she is sincere and deeply respects and trusts the god. (Similar special barefoot prayers are made at Buddhist temples.) As she prays ardently and long, her bare feet seem to be immersed in a shallow pool of wavering light, almost as if her spiritual sincerity and purity were visible. Issa doesn't indicate whether he regards the heat shimmer to be merely an optical event or whether he feels he has witnessed something more profound, but the fact that he records what he sees with a hokku is significant.

Chris Drake


. heat shimmers, kageroo 陽炎, kagiroi かぎろい .
kigo for spring


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. Inari 稲荷 the Fox Deity .


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observance kigo for late winter

Ooji no kitsunebi 王子の狐火 (おうじのきつねび)
"fox fire" at Oji Inari Shrine


This kigo has been placed by Masaoka Shiki. It refers to the parade of foxes down the valleys and rivers of Kanto, on the last day of the old year (according to the lunar calendar) on their way to the New Year visit at the shrine.

. WKD : Fox Shrine Festivals (Inari Matsuri) .


一見に如かず王子の狐火へ
ikken ni ikazu Ooji no kitsunebi e

Ooba Shihoo 大庭紫逢


提灯の王子狐火おごそかに  
    
阿部朝子


電車見て居るは王子の狐かな     
岸本直毅


Kitsunebi haiku collection
source : himatu

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Earth kigo for all winter

”a mysterious light associated with spirits,
found in various folklore tales”


. Kitsunebi 狐火 きつねび Will-o'-the-wisp .
"Fox fire"
kitsune no choochin 狐の提燈(きつねのちょうちん)
lanterns of the foxes
"devil's fire", onibi 鬼火 (おにび)


狐火は不徳の致す処より


Fox fire may be originated from my immorality
Bansei Toida 土井田晩聖


狐火を見しは秘密にしておかむ
Tonegawa Taeko 利根川妙子

source : kitunebi.htm

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年の一夜王子の狐見にゆかん
toshi no hitoya ooji no kitsune mi ni yukan

last night of the year -
let's go to Oji to see
the foxes

Tr. Gabi Greve

. Yamaguchi Sodoo 山口素堂 Yamaguchi Sodo (1642 - 1716) .

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. Regional Folk Toys from Japan .

. 江戸 Edo - 妖怪 Yokai monsters, 幽霊 Yurei ghosts .
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. Tohoku after the BIG earthquake March 11, 2011

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2 comments:

mark-otto said...

Thank you for your interset in my haiku poem "Fox fire may be originated from my immorality(狐火は不徳の致す処より)".
However, my pen name is not "Doita", but "Bansei Toida(土井田晩聖)".
Thank you again for your citation.

Gabi Greve said...

Thank you, Bansei san.
And thanks for the translation too.
I added it.

Gabi