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Thread: Oni Jinja ka?

  1. #1
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    Default Oni Jinja ka?

    I understand that the oni - the 'demons' of the Shinto mythos - actually have jinja (shrines) in some Japanese towns? Is this true? If so, why do they worship demons?
    Current notion: How would you define a 'skinny drink'?

    -Stephen Lewin

  2. #2
    Ben Bartlett Guest

    Default

    I'm not sure if there are shrines to oni. I do know that in Morioka there's a shrine where an oni left its footprint in a rock. But that's not the same thing as worshipping an oni.

  3. #3
    Mekugi Guest

    Default Re: Oni Jinja ka?

    Hi!
    I have never heard such a thing. Demons are unholy things, why would you build a shrine to them?
    I suggest more research.
    A great place to start is the Kokugakuin. It has tons of information for you to read!

    Glossary of Shinto

    Institute for Japanese Culture and Classics


    Originally posted by Green_Dreads
    I understand that the oni - the 'demons' of the Shinto mythos - actually have jinja (shrines) in some Japanese towns? Is this true? If so, why do they worship demons?

  4. #4
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    Default Shrines have two purposes

    Hello Mina-san,

    Shrines have two purposes one is to decorate the god and engrave his name for eternity, the other is to calm a warthful spirit.
    In Kojiki or Nihonshoki there were no actual writing of " Oni ".
    Momotaro's actual name within Nihonshoki is said to be "Kibitsuhiko", a general sent by the imperial court to punish a rebel clan named "Ura".
    It is said that the Ura-clan did not respond to the imperial court because they were settlers from outside described as tall, with long nose, pinkish skin and colored hair. After generations those features became the trade mark of the "Oni".

    There are alot of fables in Japan that "Oni" did bad deeds like steal food and women but there are also some that tells stories that the Oni help the farmers sow their fields and/or held sumo tournaments.

    Here are some links to a shrine that enshrines Oni.

    Oni Jinja

    Kijin Jinja
    Tri-ring of Japan
    O?@?K

  5. #5
    Mekugi Guest

    Default Re: Shrines have two purposes

    Hmm...interesting. It appears that this shrine is erected to a local god of agriculture, with the legend of the Oni attached (it seems). As if the survival of the demon depended on the village and a mutual agreement was formed.

    Let me look at this a little closer.

    Originally posted by Tri-ring
    Hello Mina-san,

    Shrines have two purposes one is to decorate the god and engrave his name for eternity, the other is to calm a warthful spirit.
    In Kojiki or Nihonshoki there were no actual writing of " Oni ".
    Momotaro's actual name within Nihonshoki is said to be "Kibitsuhiko", a general sent by the imperial court to punish a rebel clan named "Ura".
    It is said that the Ura-clan did not respond to the imperial court because they were settlers from outside described as tall, with long nose, pinkish skin and colored hair. After generations those features became the trade mark of the "Oni".

    There are alot of fables in Japan that "Oni" did bad deeds like steal food and women but there are also some that tells stories that the Oni help the farmers sow their fields and/or held sumo tournaments.

    Here are some links to a shrine that enshrines Oni.

    Oni Jinja

    Kijin Jinja
    Last edited by Mekugi; 11th March 2004 at 02:44.

  6. #6
    Mekugi Guest

    Default

    OK I took my lunch and perused these pages a little more.
    Let's start with the Kokugakuin definition:
    Oni
    A spirit possessing a fearful countenance, great strength, and a near-human form. The image of this demon varies with different historical periods. In ancient times, oni were portrayed wearing rush hats, or appearing as visitors from faraway regions.

    Remnants of this belief are still recognizable in certain local customs observed during the New Year season, in which men dress is strange costumes and visit the homes of villagers. In general, however, the oni is regarded as a type of devil


    The "Devil Shrine"
    The Village "onisawa" in Aomori.

    OK this is a strange little page, as it relates to the possibility of Christ visiting the village and helping till the land.

    However, I would like to point out that the word oni (as it does mention on this page) was equal to "Foreigner" at one time. It also says that in fact, the Oni inside the shrine is not a typical demon, and does not resemble the typical devil you see in Japanese art. Looking into this story it seems that the "devil" was perhaps a god taking the form of the "oni" or foreigner, helping till the land and giving them a steady source of irrigation.

    Also, the Oni's gate is built oddly, instead of it being in the NW, it is built in the NE - opposite of the tradition. They also touch on the February tradition of "Setsu Bun" and their strange tradition of saying ""Devils out, good in" they use "Devils in, good in".

    The large farm equipment is explored as well.

    This is a VERY ODD shrine, and it's kind of "wha?" type of thing. It's not typical in the least, and it's not an example of a typical shrine built in Japan. Possibly it's a one of a kind oddity.

    The second page talks about the "types" of oni...those that are naughty, evil, dark and wet, shapeshifters and the like.

    It mentions that some shrines built on the Devil's entrance are to keep the Devil's at bay, (or calm) or to scare away ill will. This is not literally a Shrine built to a demon, but a shrine built to thwart or calm demons or keep them down. Something like that.

    Anyway, interesting.

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    Konbanwa Mina-san, Ebert-san

    I hope you enjoyed the link of Oni Jinja, there are many other Jinja which enshrines Oni like figures maybe not as the main god(Shujin) but at Sessha.
    Here is another interesting Jinja, Kanda Myoji right in the center of Tokyo.This Jinja enshrines "Taira no Masakado" an actual historical figure with alot of so to be said super natural powers. The shrine use to be in center of Otemachi but was later moved by Tokugawa Ieyasu. The original site still has a small mound called "Masakado no kubi Tsuka".
    It is said that a plague swept though the city of Edo when they tried to move the Tsuka.
    Till this day they hold a cermony to honor Taira no kiomori and calm his soul.

    Here is a link that shows footage of this ceremony.

    http://www.kandamyoujin.or.jp/bridal/mp4/013.html

    Oh by the way the "Kimon" or the gate of Oni was adopted from the Chinese Fusui(Fukchoi?) and it points to the North east direction.
    Last edited by Tri-ring; 11th March 2004 at 14:44.
    Tri-ring of Japan
    O?@?K

  8. #8
    Mekugi Guest

    Default

    Awesome link...thanks! Good stuff!

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Re: Oni Jinja ka?

    Originally posted by Mekugi
    ....Demons are unholy things, why would you build a shrine to them?
    As Tri-ring noted, appeasement plays a part.

    Shinto infamously lacks an ethical component so the fact that it is good or evil may carry less weight with Shinto than it does with someone from a Judeo-Christian/Hindu/Muslim/Buddhist etc. background.

    Also, KAMI--demons among them, I presume--evolved over time. So what was once a demon, might later have become a beneficent deity, perhaps after having lost a battle with a prosylitizing Zen monk who knocked him upside the head with a KOAN. Fwiw, some Shinto deities began life as Buddhist entities so the concepts are very plastic.
    Don J. Modesto
    Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
    ------------------------
    http://theaikidodojo.com/

  10. #10
    Mekugi Guest

    Default Re: Re: Re: Oni Jinja ka?

    Little late in the process here, but here goes.

    There are two types of Shinto, more or less- "Koshinto" and Kokka Shinto.

    Then, you have an early transformation of Koshinto as it was changed by Buddhist influences from Korea, which is an even greater influence on the Kokka Shinto of today, in my understanding. This in effect forced the sky gods to "lofty" heights and tended to move a number of the earth gods "lowly". Art and new mindsprings of thought allowed category and classification in a way not done before, and I believe this is what happened to a lot of local legends and gods.

    Now, it's easy to reference the Kojiki of Nihon Shoki for a overall feel of catholic Shinto legends. However, it should be kept in mind that the Japanese Government changed old traditions that contributed to these two texts in order to keep them homogenous for the sake of "saisei ichi". Sad but true, a many local Shinto legends are preserved to represent the Kokka Shinto of today, without the "earthy" feel and originality they once may have had.

    Now, when you come upon such an odd shrine like that of Onisawa, you have a glimpse into something extremely mysterious (note the web page is about this mystery....kinda like the Winchester Mystery House). Shrines, in themselves, are a "modern" thing relatively speaking. Especially with the radical association pre-WWII with Kokka Shinto of today (and it's roots during the earlier periods)and as it was influenced by Buddhism. There is the true quandary. If this story of the "oni" was in fact a deity pre-Kokka and around the fringes of Buddhist influence in Shinto (as it seems) then the shrine's interest is doubled (at least to me).

    Anyway, my two cents....


    -Russ


    Originally posted by don
    As Tri-ring noted, appeasement plays a part.

    Shinto infamously lacks an ethical component so the fact that it is good or evil may carry less weight with Shinto than it does with someone from a Judeo-Christian/Hindu/Muslim/Buddhist etc. background.

    Also, KAMI--demons among them, I presume--evolved over time. So what was once a demon, might later have become a beneficent deity, perhaps after having lost a battle with a prosylitizing Zen monk who knocked him upside the head with a KOAN. Fwiw, some Shinto deities began life as Buddhist entities so the concepts are very plastic.

  11. #11
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    Default You're looking at only one side

    Originally posted by don
    As Tri-ring noted, appeasement plays a part.

    Shinto infamously lacks an ethical component so the fact that it is good or evil may carry less weight with Shinto than it does with someone from a Judeo-Christian/Hindu/Muslim/Buddhist etc. background.

    Also, KAMI--demons among them, I presume--evolved over time. So what was once a demon, might later have become a beneficent deity, perhaps after having lost a battle with a prosylitizing Zen monk who knocked him upside the head with a KOAN. Fwiw, some Shinto deities began life as Buddhist entities so the concepts are very plastic.
    Konichiwa Modesto-san

    In all gods including the Judeo-Christian god, there are always two sides, the benevolent and the warthful.
    Old testement, Sodom and Gomola, and/or flood of Noah. You also have redemption such as the sacrifice by Abraham and/or Mary of Magdalene.
    In Japan there is a saying "Hate the crime not the people" so I don't think Shinto lack ethics it's just differs from that of the western culture which is bi-polar.
    As you pointed out, within the buddist dities there are many that were adopted from the Hindu religion known for there nasty behavior only to be turned as a benevolent figure. "Kishibojin" the god for motherhood is one of them. They all have names and are identified.
    Now for "Oni" or so called demon, my beliefs are that there were jumbles of concepts mixed into one.
    As I posted earlier they are not written within the Kojiki and/or Nihonshoki. The buddist adopted Oni after it was introduced in Japan sometime after 8th or 9th century. The original concept was the primeval fear of the dark which had no shape.
    There were also a very "real" encounters such as the one at Oni Jinja of a human figure that were different in appearance from the Asian mongoloids. We have written records encoutering westerners from the 14th century so this Oni was probably before then.
    Interesting way to look at history don't you think?
    Tri-ring of Japan
    O?@?K

  12. #12
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    Default

    These links have been excellent! While I don't seem to be as knowledgable about Shinto as you two do, I can understand what makes the shrine on the said page parculiar. It does confirm my theories however. I was interested in the concept of an oni jinja after a friend told me one existed in his town, which shocked me as here in Europe a shrine to Satan or any demon (fallen angel) would be treated with hostility at best.

    I agree with Tri-Ring that various oni seem to have switched role as time progressed. This isn't at all unusual, in the Norse mythos, Odin, the main deity, began life as a kind of 'Satan' feared and hated by all. By the time Christianity arrived in Norway Odin had become the 'All-Father', not unlike the Christian god.

    Thanks for all the information, I'm making quiet a hobby out of my interest in the demons of various religions. Call it a morbid fascination. ^_^

    I intend to look into oni a lot further - perhaps there are books specifically on the subject?
    Current notion: How would you define a 'skinny drink'?

    -Stephen Lewin

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    If Shinto is defined by the saying "Hate the crime not the person," how is that different from Christianity which teaches "Hate the sin, but love the sinner"?

    More of a similarity, I think. Now, whether the exponents of either religion are actually ruled by that advice is a different matter. . . . .
    Don Gwinn

    "Oh good! My dog found the chainsaw."

  14. #14
    Mekugi Guest

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    There is no clear line drawn (a dichotomy, if you would) between "good" and "evil" in Shinto. This is a fairly broad contrast between the Western/Middle Eastern and even Buddhist religious absolutes.

    Another link while I am at it: http://shinto.org/eng/top-e.html
    Originally posted by Don Gwinn
    If Shinto is defined by the saying "Hate the crime not the person," how is that different from Christianity which teaches "Hate the sin, but love the sinner"?

    More of a similarity, I think. Now, whether the exponents of either religion are actually ruled by that advice is a different matter. . . . .

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    Default oni

    tri-ring,
    you mention that the oni were described as having features we would recognise as caucasoid.
    Many oni masks used in noh drama also have caucasoid features such as round eyes, high cheeks, prominant noses. is there a connection do you think?
    James Whelan

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