08/11/2017

Yamanokami Inugami Wolf Deity

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. Yama no Kami 山の神 Yamanokami - Introduction .
. Ta no Kami 田の神 Tanokami - Introduction .
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Yama no Kami 山の神 God of the Mountain
and his messenger, the Yamainu 山犬 Wolf




I use the term Yamainu do refer to the wolf as the messenger of Yamanokami.
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- - - - - Yamanokami has some animal messengers :

. habu ハブ / 波布 Okinawa pit viper .

. Sarugami 猿神 The Monkey Deity .

. yamainu 山犬 wolf - "mountain dog" .

. inoshishi 猪 wild boar .

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Inugami 犬神 "Dog Deity"
Japanese folklore describes Inugami as zoomorphic or anthropomorphic, dog-like beings, often similar to werewolves. They are masters of black magic and similar to the Shikigami.
Like the possession of a fox, kitsunetsuki, it is a spiritual possession by the spirit of a dog, widely known in Western Japan.

. Inugami from Oita 大分県 .

. Inugami and Legends with tofu  豆腐伝説 .


. NUE, nue 鵺, 鵼, 恠鳥, or 奴延鳥 the Nue monster .
- - - - - The cursed Nue came floating in the sea to Shikoku.
Its head landed in Sanuki and became a monkey deity.
Its tail landed in Iyo and became a serpent deity.
Its hands and feet landed in Tosa and became a dog deity 犬神 Inugami .


. yama-inu, yamainu 山犬、豺 "mountain dog" - wolf .
Legends about the wolf, not related to Yamanokami.

. Wolf Worship in Japan .
Mitsumine Jinja 三峰神社 and other shrines

- under construction
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. Legends and Tales from Japan 伝説 - Introduction .

. Yamanokami and Tengu 天狗 the Mountain Goblin .


....................................................................... Aichi 愛知県 .....

Yamainu 山犬
In the mountains live Yamanokami (Yamainu) and 天狗 Tengu. Deep mountains and high mountains are their special places and duly venerated.





....................................................................... Ehime 愛媛県 .....

yama no mamono 山の魔物 monster of the mountain
When building a new home, farmers tried to avoid the foot of a mountain protruding in a plain. This was the living space of the wolf, messenger of Yamanokami and of other mountain monsters.
If someone built a house there, his family would be cursed.

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今治市 Imabari

Inugami 犬神 / イヌガミ
In olden times people have been feeling tsukimono 憑き物 possessed by many things, like a muenbotoke 無縁仏 grave of an unknown person, hebigami 蛇神 Serpent Deity, Inugami 犬神 Dog Deity, 稲荷 Inari the Fox Deity
or even 山の神 Yamanokami.
Possessed by the Serpent Deity they could not speak any more.
Possessed by the Dog Deity they begun to bark like a dog.
Possessed by Inari they begun to eat abura-age 油揚げ fried Tofu.
Once a woman from the village married to a man in a different village, but because her family had a history of possessions, she took that with her and now this kind of possession happened in her new home and village too.

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南宇和郡 Minami-Uwa district

Yamainu 山犬 - yosuzume 夜雀 sparrows at night
Once an old woman was coming home from 岩松 Iwamatsu late at night, when Yamainu was surrounded by chirping sparrows. The Yamainu jumped around and made some sound too.

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四国中央市 Shikoku Chuo

Yamainu 山犬
家を建てるときは尾先きを忌地として嫌う。ここは山の神の使いである山犬や山の魔物が尾根づたいに歩いて来る場所で、この地に家を建てると必ず祟りがある。






....................................................................... Fukushima 福島県 .....

Yamainu 山犬
At the entrance to 奥の院 the mountain temple people offer eggs, mochi 餅 rice cakes, vegetables or fish.
If they find some of these eaten half-way by a Yamainu, they take the rest and eat it themselves as
o-te tsuita 御手付いだ "he has partaken of it".
At the mountain temple are also votive tablets of Yamainu. They will keep away conscriptions to the army and protect from bullets.


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石城郡 Iwaki district 田人村 Tabito

Yamainu 山犬
In 1883 someone got an amulet from Mitsumine Shrine and put it up. Since then the damage by wolves has subsided.



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相馬郡 Soma district 飯館村 Iitate

Yamainu 山犬
As a messenger of Yamanokami he can hide in small amounts of grass (三寸の草がくれ).
(This expression is also used for brown bears.)

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田村郡 Tamura district 小野町 Ono

Yamainu 山犬
If people walked in the forest in olden times, wolves would come after them, so they hang a hinawa 火縄 glimmering rope from the belt.
There were also many farmers being possessed by Yamainu. But the Yamainu would not bite a human, unless the human was lying on the ground, having fallen down.
If the Yamainu was jumping over a human, he would pee and the urin come into the eyes, making the human almost blind.
So while walking in the mountains, you better look down and do not stumble.






....................................................................... Gunma 群馬県 .....

碓氷郡 Usui district 松井田町 Matsuida

Yamainu 山犬
The monkey (saru) is also a messenger of Yamanokami, so the word SARU サル was not to be used while working in the mountains.




....................................................................... Kagawa 香川県 .....

Yamainu 山犬
In the mountains is a road where evil spirits pass (Mashoosuji 魔性筋 Masho, Evil Spirit Road").
Even if farmers are in a hurry and have to take this road, they will hear strange noises. If they pray to Yamanokami for help. a wolf will come along and show them the road.

Yamainu 山犬
Once a man was on his way back home from cutting tobacco leaves, but was very tired. From the place with the sanctuary of Yamanokami a Yamainu was following him until he was back home safe.
If people get lost in the mountains, a Yamainu often comes to lead them to safety.

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仲多度郡 Nakatado district 琴南町 Kotonami

Yamainu san 山犬さん
If people spent the night in a mountain hut but have to go home fast for some reason, they must be careful not to meet monsters on the road.
If they are in peril, they call out
"Yama no Kami san tasukete kudasare" 「山の神さん助けてくだされ」Please, Yamanokami, come and help me!
then two wolves come along and lead him the way home.





....................................................................... Nagano 長野県 .....

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東筑摩郡 Higashi-Chikuma district 四賀村 Shiga

Yamainu 山犬 - 天狗 Tengu
Tengu as an incarnation of Yamanokami is quite wild, but Tengu is not an ancestor deity.

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北安曇野郡 Kita-Azumino district 小谷村 Otari

Yamainu 山犬 - 天狗 Tengu
The Tengu of this village is a monster with one eye and one leg.
Also called Chinba チンバ (the lame one) in Matsumotodaira 松本平, the Matsumoto plain.

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下伊那郡 Shimoina district, Shimo-Ina 天龍村 Tenryu

Yamainu 山犬
Once a hunter wanted to have a young Yamainu and prayed to Yamanokami. He granted his wish and gave him two puppies. Once he went hunting but could not find anything, so he made a fire to rest.
He said to the wolves: "I will have a bite and go to sleep here. Since I could not find anything today, you will have to go without food, I am very sorry."
The wolves put their tails in water and extinguished the fire many times. He thought that was strange and climbed on a tree to have a look. He saw the wolves biting into his straw coat on the ground and finally realized they wanted to kill him. So he shot them. Then he prayed for their souls.

O-Inu sama お犬様
At the 太子堂 Taishi-Do temple hall the object of veneration is the skull of a Yamainu. The 村松家 Muramatsu family takes care of the sanctuary. Their ancestor had once shot a wolve and then realizet it was a Yamainu, so he prayed for his soul and handed the custom down in his family.

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Yamainu 山犬 - 六ツ地蔵 / ムツジゾウ Mutsu Jizo - Six Jizo
On the border between Nagano and Aichi there is a memorial mound called Mutsu Jizo (the normal reading is roku Jizo).
This mound is not very old. Once during a strong rain six human skeletons were washed down and then buried and venerated here. The seventh man of this group had survived to tell the story. He had been rescued by a Yamainu showing him the way to the village 三河の富山村漆島 Tomiyama in Aichi.
The Yamainu is venerated in this region as the messenger of Yamanokami.





....................................................................... Shizuoka 静岡県 .....

Yamainu 山犬
Once a couple was preparing the mountain fields, burning down the bushes. When they took a break, ate their rice and made some tea, they forgot to make an offering of some ears of rice to Yamanokami. That night Yamainu were howling all night around their home. After that, they never forgot to make the offerings.






....................................................................... Tokushima 徳島県 .....

. Inugami and suikazura スイカズラ / 吸葛 / 忍冬 honeysuckle .

In 徳島県三好郡祖谷山 the Iya valley of Tokushima there is a kind of Inugami monster called Suikazura.
It is said to be a bit larger than a rat and lives in the warmth of the hearth in homes.


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- reference source : nichibun yokai database -

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source : ..ryo-jin.at.webry.info..

2匹の山犬を両脇に従えた山の神。Scroll of Yamanokami with 2 Yamainu at his side.
On the right is the deity 大山祗神(おおやまつみ) Oyamatsumi,
on the left his daughter 木花咲耶姫命(このはなさくやひめ) Konohanasakuya Hime.


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. jūni sama 十二様 Juni Sama, "Honorable 12" mountain deities, .

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. Yama no Kami 山の神 - Table of Contents - .

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sangaku shinkoo 山岳信仰 religion of the High Mountains is a different matter.

. Shrine, Shinto Shrine (jinja 神社) - Introduction .

. kami 神 Shinto deities - ABC-LIST - .

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