ujiko - local worshippers

. Legends about the Clan and Family Deities .
ubusugami, see below

ujiko 氏子 local worshiper, parishioner of a Shinto shrine

source : kasamori.jimdo.com

They help arrange the seasonal festivals of their shrine and carry the mikoshi palanquin in the festival parade.
They all wear a happi coat of the same pattern. For official situations, they might even come in the formal trouser-skirt, hakama 袴.

Generally, a group from the land surrounding the areas dedicated to the belief in and worship of one shrine; or, the constituents of that group. Because that shrine's kami is called the ujigami, the corresponding term ujiko is used.

There is another term for ujiko, sūkeisha, but often it is the case that the two are distinguished by a geographical classification with ujiko referring to the person from that shrine's ujiko district and sūkeisha referring to the person from outside the district. However, there are also occasions when they are used interchangeably. Article ninety-nine of the present Shūkyō hōjin jinja honchō chōki dictates "Following precedent, we call believers who bear the obligation of supporting the shrine, that shrine's ujiko or sūkeisha, and these persons are to be registered in the respective ujiko and sūkeisha lists."

However, that article is for establishing registration lists, and in article fifteen of the Jinja honchō kenshō it states, "The ujiko is, traditionally, a person who resides in the ujiko district, and the other believers are sūkeisha. Ujiko and sūkeisha are the foundation of shrine support, and the parental body supporting its growth." So, rather than the organizational concept of registration lists, it is defining ujiko emphasizing the traditional concept of naming as ujiko all who reside in the ujiko district.

Also in article fourteen it dictates, "The shrine district is a district traditionally determined by each shrine, and shrines must mutually respect ujiko districts." Long ago, the relationship between the shrine and its worship groups and believer groups was a relationship focused on the ujibito (clan member) and the ancestral kami as the ujigami; however, along with that, elements of the chinjugami and the ubusunagami were added and concepts such as ujibito, ubuko (ubusunagami's follower) and ujiko were mixed and came to develop in combination.
- more about ubusuna is below.

Even by the middle of the Muromachi period it was written in (Urabe) Kanekuni Hyakushukashō, "Generally, the Gion Shrine officials call an ujiko someone who is born in the area between the Gojō area to the south and the Nijō area in the north, and call a person from the area north of Nijō up to Ōharaguchi a Mitama ujiko," showing that the clear classification of ujiko districts by city areas had been born. Furthermore, in the farm villages at this time, along with the creation of self-governing villages called gōson, shrines came to be managed as pieces of village property. It is also thought that at this time (hand in hand with the development of the miyaza) the concepts of the ujigami and ujiko came to be firmly established.
In the Meiji period,
the ujiko tradition was taken very serious in the governments shrine policies, and while the ujiko shirabe system from Meiji four (1871) was soon halted due to its being limited to partial enforcement, soon afterward the ujiko sōdai system was installed alongside the administrational institutions for towns and villages in the countryside. In that way, the foundation of present day shrine operations was established. Due to today's Religious Corporation Law (Shūkyō Hōjinhō), the shrine ujiko system has lost its administrative regulations and has turned into something maintained only by practice and belief.
We can also see the phenomenon
that movement of the population; the development of large scale housing areas; the redevelopment of city areas; land reclamation and other types of engineering enterprises; and changes in administrative sectioning, among other things, cause various problems for traditional ujiko districts and the retention of ujiko consciousness.
See sūkeisha , Shrine Parishioner Registration (ujiko shirabe)
source : Sano Kazufumi, Kokugakuin, 2007


Ujiko Chizu 氏子地図 the Map of Ujiko
(Ujiko means people under the protection of the local deity), which is owned by the shrine, was made in 1631. It shows 14 villages in Ishikawa County and is called "Kashu Ishikawa-no-kohri Utsushi Ezu 加州石川郡写絵図" (Pictures of Ishikawa County, Kashu Prefecture).
The map shows the locations of feudal warriors' residences, temples and shrines, towns, villages, slopes, and bridges, giving an idea of what the castle town of Kanazawa used to look like.

. Ishiura Jinja 石浦神社 . Kanazawa


. ubusuna 産土 place where I was born, furusato 故郷 .

The place where a baby is born and gets its first clothes (ubugi). There the local gods live (ubusunagami 産土神), who protect the baby. In haiku, it can therefore carry a lot of meaning.

ubugami 産神 "deity of birth"
guardian deity of pregnant women, newborn babies and one's birthplace

Visit to a temple of the God of one's birthplace (ubusunagami - 産土神)
. ubusuna mairi 産土神参 .
kigo for the New Year

. Hōkigami 箒神 Hokigami, Hahakigami - the Broom Deity .
Another version of the Ubugami.

ubusuna ishi うぶすな石 stone for the deity of birth
These stones are offered by pregnant women with the wish to have a safe birth. After the child is born, the stone is given back to the Shrine.

- quote -
Umenomiya Shrine 梅の宮神社 / 梅宮大社 in Kyoto
enshrines Oyamazumi-no-kami, the god who first brewed sake, and his child goddess Konohana-no-sakuyahime-no-mikoto. Nihonshoki, the oldest history book in Japan, records that Oyamazumi-no-kami congratulated Konohana-no-sakuyahime-no-mikoto on her childbirth by brewing sake for her. Therefore, sake brewers worship at the shrine.
Myth tells us that Konohana-no-sakuyahime-no-mikoto gave birth to a god, Hikohohodemi-no-mikoto, the day following her marriage. Thus, Umenomiya Shrine attracts women wishing for an easy delivery.
Matage-ishi (stone) and Ubu-suna (sand)
Matage-ishi and Ubu-suna are famous attractions at Umenomiya Shrine
It is said that a couple will be able to have a baby if they pray to the god for a child and then step over Matage-ishi. Empress Danrin was childless. However, she was able to have the next emperor, Ninmyo, because she stepped over Matage-ishi. Also, when Empress Danrin gave birth, she spread sand from under the main building of Umenomiya Shrine under her bed and gave birth to her son without complications. So, that sand has become known as Ubu-suna and is regarded as a talisman for easy birth. Even now, many couples pay homage at Umenomiya Shrine to pray for a child and for an easy birth.
- source : thekyotoproject.org ... -

- quote
The tutelary kami of one's birthplace. Also known as ubusuna. A variety of orthographical representations for the term ubusuna are found historically, including 本居, 生土, 参土, 宇夫須那, and 産須那. In any case, the element ubu means birth, though opinion is divided regarding the significance of suna.
In some locales, the ubusunagami appears related to the ubugami, a tutelary of infants and pregnant women; in these cases, it is customary to pay respects immediately following childbirth at a small shrine (hokora) to the ubusunasama or ubugamisama located within the residential grounds.
While the conceptual basis for ubusunagami originally differed from those for ujigami and chinjugami, the three are frequently confused. Medieval warrior clans strengthened their presence on shōen (manors) by acting as protectors of local villages, and in the process, they adopted as clan tutelaries kami with strong local territorial affiliations, resulting in an amalgamation of the local ubusunagami and clan ujigami. From this period one thus finds historical documents that read both 産神(ubugami) and 氏神(ujigami) as ubusuna.
In the early modern period, the traditional relationship between a clan tutelary (ujigami) and its protégés (ujiko) was mirrored by the custom of using the term ubuko 産子 to refer to the followers of an ubugami.
Finally, based on the etymology of the terms ubusunagami (or ubugami) and ubuko, examples are frequently seen in which the traditional first post-natal shrine visit (hatsumiyamōde) and other ordinary worship at an ujigami shrine are alternately referred to as ubusunamairi (paying worship at the ubusuna).
source : Iwai Hiroshi, Kokugakuin

. Shiba Myoojin Guu 芝神明宮 Shrine Shiba Myojin Gu, Tokyo .
Under the protection of the Edo bakufu government, the shrine thrived, seen as
the Great Protector Deity of the Region, Ubusunagami 大産土神.

. 七ヶ村の産土神 Seven Ubusugami from Ishiura Shrine 石浦神社 .

in Akita : obosuna sama オボスナ様 / おぼすな様
noogami 農神 / ノウガミ様 - deity for agriculture, especially the rice fields
. Sake 酒 rice wine for rituals and festivals .

yama no kami 山の神 Deity of the Mountain (a female deity)
is also venerated as
o-san no kami お産の神 the deity of birth.
For a difficult delivery, she comes to welcome the dead to the mountain.
Since she dislikes Sanbi, a family where a birth happened is not allowed to enter the mountain for one week.

. sanbi 産火 / 産忌 - - shinibi 死火 / 死忌 fire taboos for birth and death .

. Hi no Kami, Hinokami 火の神 Deity of Fire - Legends .

. San no Kami in Yamagata 山形県 .

. Boshijin, Hahakogami 母子神 "Mother-Child Deity" .


- - - - -  H A I K U  - - - - -

hakamagi ya Hachimanguu no ujiko tachi

they come clad in Hakama trousers -
all the parishioners
from Hachimangu

. Masaoka Shiki 正岡子規 visiting shrines and temples .

. Hachiman Shrines .
The Warrior Deity Hachiman 八幡神, deifiction of Emperor Oojin 応神天皇 Ojin,

. Formal trouser-skirt (hakama 袴) .


iwashigumo kami mo ujiko mo sake ga suki

sardine clouds -
the gods and the parishioners
all like sake

Itoo Yoshito 伊藤よしと Ito Yoshito

. sardine clouds, iwashigumo 鰯雲 .


kono miya no ware mo ujiko yo fuda osame

at this shrine
I am one of the parishioners -
bringing back the old amulet

. Abe Midorijo 阿部みどり女 .

. fuda osame 札納 bringing back the old year amulets .






ujigami 氏神 clan KAMI deities

source : yamauchisekizai.co.jp
New construction of a small ujigami Inari shrine.

- quote
"Clan kami," in ancient Japanese society, an ancestral kami or other tutelary worshiped by individuals sharing the same clan (uji) name. As a result of historical changes in the composition of groups worshiping such kami, however, ujigami today are most frequently identified with local chthonic tutelaries (including both chinjugami and ubusunagami).

As medieval warrior clans strengthened their presence on the local manors known as shōen, they gradually adopted local indigenous tutelaries as their own ujigami, and the people worshiping those ujigami likewise evolved from consanguineous familial organizations to groups linked by the mere sharing of residence in the same geographical area. This process thus resulted in the merging of clan kami (ujigami) and local geographical tutelaries (ubusunagami).

Around the same time, shrines to chinjugami-originally enshrined as the tutelaries of specific buildings or pieces of land-came to be formally dedicated (kanjō) within noble-owned manors as well, leading to a merging of ujigami and chinjugami. Today, ujigami cults can be broadly classified into three types.
The first is the "village ujigami"; in this type, each local resident is considered a "clan member" (ujiko) and participates in worshiping the kami.
The second is called variously yashiki-ujigami or ie-ujigami, a type of kami enshrined in a small shrine (hokora) within the grounds of individual family dwellings.
The final type is referred to as an ikke-ujigami or maki-ujigami, and occupies an intermediate position between the other two types, since it is worshiped by all members of an extended family (ikke) or local neighborhood grouping (maki).
source : Iwai Hiroshi, Kokugakuin 2005

ikke ujigami 一家氏神
maki ujigami まき氏神
yashiki ujigami 屋敷氏神 - . yashikigami 屋敷神 "estate deities" .

. chinjugami 鎮守神 tutelary deities .

. mitamaya 御霊屋 mausoleum .


ujigami no sennen sugi ya hatsu moode

the thousand-year old pine
of the ancester deity -
first shrine visit

Tr. Gabi Greve

Mizutani Junichiroo 水谷純一郎 Mizutani Junichiro

ujigami no sugi ni ten sumu heike murs

in the thousand-year old pine
of the ancestor deity there lives a marten -
village of the Heike clan

Tr. Gabi Greve

Nishimura Shigeko 西村しげ子


氏神と墓と雷鴫の道 成井恵子
氏神の囲ひ済ませて神迎 渡辺セツ
氏神の屋根新しき冬木立 寺田寅彦
氏神の御屋根普請や冬木立 寺田寅彦
氏神の溝より浚ひはじめけり 吉田丁冬
氏神は森に隠れて霜くすべ 廣瀬直人
氏神へ飾納の老夫婦 杉山木川

人住まぬ氏神の木の冬鴉 廣瀬直人
仲秋の月につれだち氏神へ 大庭 光子
注連張つて氏神の杜暗くなる 福田甲子雄
舟子ども海の氏神まつりぞや 古川沛雨亭
藁危で作る氏神初御空 高久田みのる

source : HAIKUreikuDB


fue fukite tobi mo ubugami mukae-keri

whistling loud
even this Tombi welcomes
the birthplace gods

Nohara Shunroo 野原春醪 Nohara Shunro

. WKD : tobi 鳶 Tobi, Tombi - black kite .


fuyuta utsu ubusunagami ni mimorarete

preparing the winter fields
we are protected
by the birthplace gods . . .

Tanaka Masako 田中政子

. WKD : tauchi 田打ち preparing the fields .
lit. "hitting the fields"

産土神に土俵組みゐる八朔盆 香川はじめ
産土神に灯あがれる若葉かな 芝不器男
産土神に焚く田遊びのはじめの火 佐野美智
産土神に秋繭供へ遠野人 平山節子
産土神に隣れる家の大種井 波多野爽波
産土神に雀の遊ぶ年の内 丸岡宣子
産土神に露けき老のひと屯ろ 石田勝彦 秋興
産土神に頬被解く田植道 阿波野青畝
産土神の上蠍座の夜の秋 町田しげき
産土神の森に逃げ込む稲雀 根岸すみ子
産土神の椎は日向のお元日 太田鴻村 穂国
産土神の留守やわがもの顔に猫 杉本寛
産土神の茅の輪大きく楕円なり 中尾杏子
産土神の針金細工子かまきり 合田秀渓
産土神は大河のほとり初明り 老川敏彦
産土神へ懸けしばかりの菜もありぬ 田中裕明
産土神へ搗きたて餅や年の夜 島田教夫
産土神を村の高みに秋気澄む 川勝 ミヨ
産土神を良き座に秋の島歌舞伎 宮津昭彦
source : HAIKUreikuDB


. Legends about the Clan and Family Deities .

- #ujigami #ujiko #ubusu #ubusugami #clandeities -


Gabi Greve said...

Yanegami 屋根神 Deity on the Roof
Yanegamisama 屋根神様

Mostly seen in Aichi and Gifu.
Other local names are 秋葉さん Akiba San or お天王さん O-Tenno-San.
軒神さま Nokigami sama, 氏神さん Ujigamisan
町の神さま Machi no Kamisama, 町内神社 Chonai Jinja (Shrine of the village)

Gabi Greve said...

Fukui 福井県 .....

Most rice farming communities celebrate the departure of Tanokami after the harvest. Some have a special matsuri 祭り Tanokami festival, where children participate in a parade.
Children carry a kodomo mikoshi 子供神輿 protable shrine along the paths of the harvested fields, to express gratitude. Then they walk past each farming house and finally the Mikoshi is placed back in the shrine of the 氏神 Ujigami.
Ta no Kami, Tanokami 田の神 God of the Fields
Yama no Kami 山の神 God of the Mountain

Gabi Greve said...

Kanagawa 神奈川県 藤野町 Fujino

The ubugami 産神 deity of birth is called Juns Sama in the hamlet of 藤野町名倉 Nagura in Fujino.
uunisama, jūni sama 十二様 Juni Sama
"Honorable 12" deities,


Gabi Greve said...

Tokyo 西多摩郡 Nishi-Tama district 桧原村 Hinohara

Obusuna オズスナ様(産土神)
A Shaman can see the various features of this deity.
和田の山の神 Yamanokami from Wada is a snake, at 大沢 Ozawa it is a small snake, another is a huge snake, looking like a pregnant woman.
Basically the main features are that of Fudo.

Gabi Greve said...

Ujigami Legend

Aichi 愛知県 

. ujigami 氏神 clan KAMI deities .
A couple who could not have a child went to the Ujigami shrine to pray and indeed, the wife bore a son.
A Rokubu at the home had a dream that night:
The Ujigami had told someone that the child would soon die of a water accident.
When the child grew up and could walk by himself, it was hit outside the home by a tile falling from the roof . . . and died.
And oh wonder, on the tile was the pattern of mitsudomoe 三つ巴, seen as three swirling waves.

Gabi Greve said...

Legends about Rokubu pilgrims and Ujigami
to explore

Gabi Greve said...

Legend from Tokyo, Ikebukuro
. ubugami 産神 "deity of birth" .
guardian deity of pregnant women, newborn babies and one's birthplace
A woman from Ikebukuro village did not like to worship the local deity of birth, but if they did not go to pray there, they would get a divine punishment.
So the women from Ikebukuro village built a prayer group and kept the sanctuary properly.

Gabi Greve said...

Legend from Mie
員弁郡 Inabe district 大安町 Daian cho town

Yamanokami 山の神 - 産土神 Ubusunagami
If a person keeps some earth from the mountain of Yamanokami, he will not get Beriberi.
If a person gets dizzy when driving in a car it helps to put some of the earth on the navel.

Gabi Greve said...

Ujigami legend from Fukuoka
宗像郡 Munakata district 福間町 Fukuma machi town

kane no sei 金の精 the spirit of wealth
Once a man prayed to his ujigami 氏神 family deity to make him rich, even if he must give his daughter as a sacrifice.
On that night, his daughter died. On the evening of the seventh day after her death, the spirit of wealth appeared and showed him the way to a treasure. But there was a strong storm and wind that night and by the time he reached the spot, the treasure had gone. A sedge hat with the inscription 牟田尻の善助 Mutajiri no Zensuke had fallen down on the spot.
The man kept this hat as a treasure and soon became rich after all.

Gabi Greve said...

Legend from Tochigi
Once the head of a family went to pray at the shrine of Yamanokami, who was his family deity. While he was there he saw a strange red face with white hair staring at him angrily. This was Yamanokami. The man was afraid and never came back to this shrine.

Gabi Greve said...

Ujigami legend from Wakayama
Once a pilgrim was late in the evening and had to nojuku 野宿 camp outside.
At night he heard the voices of Yamanokami and Ujigami.
When Ujigami asked Yamanokami to come out, Yamanokami said he had a visitor and could not come.
When Yamanokami asked Ujigami about his age he said he was 18.
The pilgrim thought this was strange, but continued his pilgrimage. In the village he heard the story:
The son of the village carpenter was attacked by an abu あぶ gadfly and when he tried to ward if off, he swallowed it and died.
- - - - -
Once a villager begun to cut down all the trees of the mountain forest, big ones and small ones.
At night he heard the sound of a strong storm and Yamanokami came close to his mountain hut. He shook his white hair and opened the door, trying to kill the villager. Just then Ujigami appeared and begged him not to kill.
This had happened on the seventh day of the 11th lunar month, the sacred day when Yamanokami comes out to count the trees.

Gabi Greve said...

Legend from Fukushima, Date
furu-usu, furuusu 古臼 an old wooden mortar to pound rice
During the flooding of river Abukumagawa an old mortar was flowing past.
A poor villager picked it up and thought he could use it as firewood. Then he saw blood flowing from the mortar, which had not been broken.
He bowed to it in prayer when the mortar spoke:
"I am the deity to help with birth, so please pray to me in this region!"
The villagers purified some lumber and built a small sanctuary.
This is now the Shrine 水雲神社 Suiun Jinja.

Gabi Greve said...

Legend from Osaka
There once was a place where villagers made the offering of a living young woman to the Ujigami every year.
Once the Shinto priest of the Shrine became suspicious, found a small shirohebi 白蛇 white serpent and threw it out of the compound.
Soon the clear pond nearby became all red and a Chinoike. On its surface the bones of a huge serpent became visible.
Since then, they stopped to make offerings of human beings.

Gabi Greve said...

zokushin 俗信 folk belief from Shusui town, Chiba:
related to giving birth and . Ubusunagami 産土神 deity of one's birth place . :
For 21 days after giving birth, the mother had to wrap hemp strings at the arms, legs, neck and hair.
On the 21st day, the baby was presented to the Ubusunagami. The monther pinched its nose to make it cry on the way and if it did, the child would grow up safely.
On day 100 after birth the baby was given its first food, and to pray for strong teeth the baby was given a stone to lick.

Gabi Greve said...

san no kami 産の神 and New Year
Legend from Okayama
Wakatoshi sama 若年様 "Honorable Young Deity"
The nando 納戸 / ナンド closet for storage, is often used for the young couple as a bedroom.
For the New Year, they prepare a special shelf to venerate San no Kami 産の神 the Deity of Birth together with 若年様 the Deity of the New Year.

Gabi Greve said...

Legend from Okayama 岡山県

備前国 Bizen no Kuni

amagoi waka 雨乞和歌 Waka poetry and rain rituals
A Samurai from Bizen no Kuni named 水野義風 Mizuno Gifu was ordered by the village head to write a Waka poem as a rain ritual.
The villagers were happy, took a copy home and offered it to the 産土神 Ubusunagami, And the rain came soon.
So to our day when there is a drought, they take out this paper and perform rituals. Then it will rain.


Gabi Greve said...

Legend from 岡山県 北木島町 Kitagishima town
. fuka 鱶 / same 鮫 shark .
The messenger of 諏訪大明神 Suwa Daimyojin, the Ujigami氏神 clan deity of the village, is called a Fuka.
Once upon a time three hamlets of the area have been carrying a mikoshi 神輿 portable shrine together, but they started a fight and their own Mikoshi. There appeared a shark offshore, the weather begun to become wild and sekiri 赤痢 an epidemic broke out.
If a huge shark appears offshore, this is a bad omen.

Gabi Greve said...

Legend from Tottori 西伯町 Saihaku town
At the 稲荷 Inari Shrine of the 氏神様 Ujigami they never keep a dog. In former times when a sekiri 赤痢 bloody diarrhea epidemic raged, a farmer at the edge of the village had kept a dog who was very noisy.

Gabi Greve said...

Legend from Gifu 岐阜県
When they tried to relocate 諏訪神 the Suwa Shrine to built a castle, a reija 霊蛇 ghost serpent appeared. It lied on the road and did not move. Someone took the branch of a plum tree and hit the serpent on the head. The serpent had a wound on the left eye and left, never to be seen.
Since that event, the ujiko 氏子 parishioners of the shrine never planted plum trees again. .

Gabi Greve said...

Legend from Nagano, 南佐久郡 Minami-Saku district
In the ground of the Ujigami at 諏訪様 Suwa Shrine there lived once many serpents. The villagers asked the priest of the nearby temple to perform 蛇封じ special rituals to drive out the serpents and read the sutras. After that, the serpents did not appear any more.

Gabi Greve said...

Legend from Nagano 南佐久郡 Minami-Saku district 川上町 Kawakami town
In Iikura 居倉 when the Ujigami 氏神 clan deiry descendet for a visit, it hit his eye at a hooki no ki 箒の木 summer cypress (broom cypress). Therefore the villagers do not make brooms.
. hooki 箒 / ほうき Hoki, broom, Besen .

Gabi Greve said...

Legend about shishimai from Tokyo

. Oonyuudoo 大入道 O-Nyudo Monster .
During the rituals for ujigami 氏神 the clan deity on September 15 they perform 獅子舞 a lion dance.
On this day, seven chidren were kamikakushi 神隠し spirited away.
Mother has to hold her children by the hand to prevent this from happening.
Sometimes it rains balls in 12 colors from the sky and an O-Nyudo moster with a large club appears.

Gabi Greve said...

Okayama 総社市 Soja city 新本 Shinpon

ubusuna sanboo koojin 産土三宝荒神 Ubusuna Sanbo Kojin

At 観世部落 the hamlet Kanze, all families venerate 産土三宝荒神 Ubusuna Sanbo Kojin