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Thread: The Yamabushi

  1. #16
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Washington State, USA
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    Stephen --

    I'll let you in on a trade secret.

    The search <yamabushi tengu> done at a library with access to scholarly journals will give you weeks of reading. Even at home, one gets enough to keep one amused for quite awhile.

    <yamabushi "martial arts"> turns up the usual suspects. Moving right along.

    <yambushi bushi> turns up some better stuff. For instance,

    Looks like a lot of the good stuff is (unsurprisingly) in German. The Germans used to have a special relationship with Japan, and their universities often have Asian studies collections that are better than most North American university collections.

    And, a heresy. (I am notorious for these.) For popular interpretations of the topic, take a look at theater (to include puppet theater), dance, and literature. For instance: and

    This one looks relevant, too:

    Shugendō: Pilgrimage and Ritual in a Japanese Folk Religion
    Andrea K. Gill Follow
    The religion of Shugendō has no shrines and it has no temples. It only has the liminality of the mountains; a space that is viewed in Japan as being ground that only gods, demons, and ghosts may set foot on. But the Yamabushi are not human, gods, or even demons. Instead they are believed to be living Buddhas, rare people that, through practice in the secluded mountains, have become privy to sacred knowledge that has awakened them to their internal Buddha nature, to borrow the words of Kukai, “in this very lifetime”. One of the defining features of Shugendō is the relationship that is formed between man, gods, and nature in the context of the sacred mountain (Grapard, 1994). Another feature found strongly in Shugendō is the role that the Yamabushi play in the communities surrounding their sacred mountains.

    Recommended Citation

    Gill, Andrea K. (2012) "Shugendō: Pilgrimage and Ritual in a Japanese Folk Religion," Pursuit - The Journal of Undergraduate Research at the University of Tennessee: Vol. 3: Iss. 2, Article 4.

    Available at:

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  3. #17
    Join Date
    Apr 2001
    Hiroshima, Japan.
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    There is a book in English on Shugendo. The author is Miyaki Hitoshi and the title is The Mandala of the Mountain: Shugendo and Japanese Folk Religion. It was published in 2005 by Keio University Press and contains an extensive bibliography in English, including works given in the material listed by Joe. Miyake has written extensively on shugendo in Japanese.
    Peter Goldsbury,
    Forum Administrator,
    Hiroshima, Japan

  4. #18
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Tokyo, Japan
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    Thank you very much for the guidance. For many years I have wanted to pursue more knowledge in this area. My current reading in English is Shugendo: Essays on the Structure of Japanese Folk Religion by Miyake Hitoshi and edited by H. Byron Earhart. Thanks to all for the guidance. Too many interests not enough hours.
    Stephen Baker

    "Never cruel nor cowardly, never give up, never give in." Doctor Who

  5. #19
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
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    Default Shugendo - the movie....

    Quote Originally Posted by StephenBaker View Post
    Mr. Gatling and Mr. Goldsbury,

    Thank you for the kindness of responding with suggestions.

    I have been out of all research but for legal research for too long. My skills are rusty, but hopefully future questions will be more intriguing.

    Thanks again.
    If you're too busy to read, check this out:
    note the trailer w English subtitles

  6. #20
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
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    If you read German, you may want to check this dissertation by Hartmut O. Rotermund:

    "Die Yamabushi – Aspekte ihres Glaubens, Lebens und ihrer sozialen Funktion im japanischen Mittelalter" Hamburg 1968


    Henning Wittwer

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