01/09/2013

kamidana - household Shinto altar

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kamidana 神棚 household Shinto altar, "shelf for the Gods"




. Ishitani Residence in Chizu, Tottori 智頭 石谷家住宅 .



- quote
A household Shinto altar, a facility for the conduct of family rites at home, in which amulets of the kami, an "apportioned spirit" (bunrei) of the kami, and similar items may be enshrined. The place chosen for installation of the kamidana should be clean, bright, and quiet, in a location convenient for worship and placement of offerings.
An eastern or southern orientation is generally considered to be desirable.

While kamidana have today become important sites for daily devotion to the kami, the institution of the kamidana itself is not particularly old. Toward the end of the Heian period, rites for ancestral spirits (sorei) were entrusted to Buddhism, and it became customary to enshrine ancestral tablets (ihai) in household Buddhist altars (butsudan), which was accompanied by a movement to conduct rituals in each household.

From the medieval period, the spread of the Ise and other cults led to the custom of installing kamidana for the enshrinement of kami that had been "dedicated" (kanjō) in other locales.
In the early modern period, priests called oshi helped spread the Ise cult to the populace, and it became customary throughout the country to construct special Ise altars (Daijingūdana) to enshrine an amulet (taima or ofuda) from the Grand Shrines (Jingū).

The institution of kamidana thus spread to individual households from around the mid-Edo period. In addition to the kamidana used within Shrine Shinto (Jinja Shintō), other kamidana may be found with specific names and varying locations in accordance with the kami enshrined, including
Ebisu-dana, Kōjin-dana, Toshitoku-dana, and Kadogami-dana.

Kamidana may also be dedicated to tutelaries of craftsmen with special artisan skills, or to other tutelaries of specific trades. Other kamidana are devoted to success in business and good fortune.
source : Okada Yoshiyuki, Kokugakuin



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kamidana 神棚 "shelf for the Shinto Deities"


. Shinsatsu 神札 , Mamorifuda 守り札 Amulets for the kamidana .

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- quote from JAANUS
kamidana 神棚
An interior shelf *tana 棚, where paper talismans, kamifuda 神札, or amulets, gofu 御符, issued by the major Shinto shrines were enshrined for worship as tutelary household deities, kami 神, in traditional vernacular houses, *minka 民家, of the Edo period.

Candles were lit and offerings of rice, fruit, fish, rice wine etc. were made daily. Little is known about the early development of the kamidana, but small shrines to tutelary deities inside a residence go back to ancient times among the aristocracy, as the Heian period Higashi Sanjou 東三条 mansion demonstrates. It is probable that in early times offering tables within a house were not permanent, but were set up as occasion demanded for specific ceremonies and afterwards removed. Dating the emergence of the kamidana is difficult because there are few old examples, but it was closely connected with the development of the domestic Buddhist altars *butsudan 仏壇.

One of the earliest surviving examples may be found at Yoshimura 吉村 House, a 17c village headman's residence near Osaka, now an Important Cultural Property. This consists of a recess equipped with shelves and sliding doors *fusuma 襖, but it is not clear whether this originally functioned as a kamidana. A more common type of kamidana occupied the top part of a cupboard unit todana 戸棚, and resembles a doored upper shelf *fukurodana 袋棚.

However, the most widespread type was a plain board forming a shelf fixed to the top of the lintel members *kamoi 鴨居, and supported by cantilevered brackets from beneath, or stabilized with timber hangers *tsurigi 吊り木, suspended from the beams above. On this shelf a miniature Shinto shrine was often installed to contain the kamifuda. This structure may be elaborate in design, though unlike the miniature shrine cabinet *zushi 厨子, of the Buddhist altar, the timber was usually unlacquered, *shiraki 白木, following one of the most venerable traditions of shrine architecture.
This type of kamidana was believed to have developed comparatively late and the decorative shrine later still.

The kamifuda enshrined may be that of a clan deity, ujigami 氏神, or come from one of the major national shrines, such as Ise Jinguu 伊勢神宮.

Particularly in the houses of craftsmen and merchants, there may be separate shelves known as engidana 縁起棚, where deities with combined Shinto and Buddhist identities, such as *Ebisu 恵比須, *Koujin 荒神 or Inari 稲荷 were commonly enshrined.

It was not unusual for houses to have two separate kamidana. Kamidana were most often located in one of the main everyday living rooms or the kitchen, close to the earth-floored area *doma 土間. They were sometimes placed toward the rear of the room, facing the front of the house *omote 表, or at the high end *kamite 上手, facing down the room toward the doma. They were often placed in the corner of a room for better support.

In many 17c to early 18c farmhouses in central and eastern Japan, the kamidana, though usually a later addition, was placed close to the shallow decorative alcove *oshi-ita 押板, in the living room *hiroma 広間. In rare cases, for instance, if the house was totally Shinto and had no butsudan, the kamidana was installed in one of the formal reception rooms *zashiki 座敷.
source : www.aisf.or.jp/~jaanus

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soreisha 祖霊舎 household Shinto altar


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- quote
Kamidana (神棚, kami-dana, lit. "god-shelf")
are miniature household altars provided to enshrine a Shinto kami. They are most commonly found in Japan, the home of kami worship.
- Purchasing and caring for kamidana
First, a kamidana cannot be set up on the ground or at eye level. It must be above an ordinary person's eye level. Second, a kamidana cannot be set up over an entrance, but must be built into a space which people will not walk under. Finally, when an ofuda is enshrined in a kamidana, after removing the pouch it is customary to leave an offering of water, liquor, or food in front of the kamidana, which should be renewed regularly. These rules apply both to one's household and to martial arts dojos.

Ofuda are replaced before the end of each year.
However, kamidana can be kept in one's house until they are no longer usable.
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !


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. New Year Decorations for the Kamidana .


. butsudan 佛壇 or 仏壇 Buddhist family altar .


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On the first day of the New Year, the Sun Goddess Amaterasu Oomikami is worshipped in many places of Japan. During the Edo period, is was customary to bow and clap your hands in prayer to the sun, o-tentoo-sama, every morning and also make offerings to the numerous Shinto deities at the small shelf for the Gods (kamidana) in every home.
. Amaterasu Oomikami 天照大神 .


Hakata Daruma dolls
During the last day of the year peddlers would walk around to sell little Daruma dolls to be put on the Family Shelf of the Gods (kamidana) in the house beside a candle to wait for the New Year while praying for good fortune.
. Hakata Ningyo 博多土人形 Dolls from Hakata .


Fire has been looked at with veneration and fear since olden times and the kitchen hearth has been a special place of worship. Most traditional homes have a shelf for the gods (kamidana) near the hearth (kamado) or open hearth (irori).
. Kamagami 釜神 The Hearth Deity .


. kodakara no ishi 子宝石 stone to get pregnant .
This stone must be put on the shelf of the gods (kamidana) for daily prayers.
Put on a pink cushion, it can also be placed in the bedroom, with a prayer every evening.


. kodakara suzu 子宝鈴 ritual bell to get pregnant .
This bell is for the use at home for the daily prayer in front of the Shelf of the Gods (kamidana).


. O-too matsuri 御灯祭 Torch Festival at Kumano .
People take the torches home, place them on the shelf for the gods (kamidana 神棚) and pray for the good luck of the whole family in the coming year.


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神棚も仏壇もなく神の留守
kamidana mo butsudan mo naku kami no rusu

no altar for the gods
and no Buddhist family altar -
the gods are absent


Yamauchi Yuushi 山内遊糸 (born 1925)


The tenth lunar month (now November), after the harvest when the Japanese gods had done their duty, they left their local shrines for a bit of a vacation. They would all go for an audience and to celebrate at the great shrine of Izumo, so the rest of Japan was "without gods".
. kami no rusu 神の留守 the gods are absent .


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神棚に護符いく重ね夏蚕飼ふ
kamidana ni gofuu iku-kane natsugo kau

on the God's shelf
amulets are piling up -
caring for silk worms in summer


Minayoshi Soo-U 皆吉爽雨 Minayoshi Sou, So-U (1902 - 1983)
Born in Fukui


. natsugo 夏蚕 (なつご) silkworm in summer .


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source : yamadas.net/festoon.htm - 神棚と注連飾り


神棚に注連ゆるぎなし新世帯
kamidana ni shime yurugi nashi ara-jitai

no slack in the rope
of the shelf for the Gods -
this new household


Kezuka Shizue 毛塚静枝


. shimenawa 注連縄 a sacred rope .


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神棚の一枚板や冬怒濤
kamidana no ichimai ita ya fuyu todoo

only one board
for the shelf of the Gods -
surging waves in winter


Masuda Yooichi 増田陽一 Masuda Yoichi


Many modern homes are rather small and there is no space for an elaborate shelf or home altar. Various kinds of small "one board" altars are now on the market.


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2 comments:

Gabi Greve said...

110 legends to explore.
Saitama 大滝村 Otaki

There are many folk believes in the village.
If a rat starts to nibble at the Shimenawa of the kamidana 神棚 shelf of the gods there will soon be a fire.
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https://japanshrinestemples.blogspot.jp/2018/01/shimenawa-sacred-rope-legends.html
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Gabi Greve said...

Legend from Tokyo, Chiyoda ward
. Kajibashi 鍛冶橋 Kajibashi Bridge .


nezumi 鼠 mouse, rat
In the house of 堀大和守 Lord Hori at Kajibashi bridge, his servants observed a rat that would place a small piece of 南鐐 silver into an offering box at the kamidana 神棚 shelf of the gods for about 14, 15 days in a row. The couple of the house was very happy and begun to use the money for shopping!
And well, you guess, the rat never showed up again.
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https://edoflourishing.blogspot.com/2018/06/chiyoda-ward.html
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