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Posts Tagged ‘shintoism’

On our trip through Japan, another amusing habit that we encountered is to dress statues of buddha or shinto gods in cute clothing. Very common were bibs, mostly red, such as the one Inari is wearing here on the right. Inari is the god of rice, harvest and general prosperity, either depicted as an old man with two foxes beside him, or as a beautiful fox-lady. Most shinto shrines that honour this god have two fox statues on either side of the entrance.

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And what about this one on the left. Isn’t that cute, with his rabbit-bib? I have no idea who this statue impersonates, though. It could be a god related to children or birth.

But also knitted goods were applied. See for example these little guys on the picture below. All the same huh… grey…

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But not the special one behind the flowers! He has a nice yellow hat and coat:

Actually it is a sad story behind these statues, depicting the god Jizo. They were all placed here in memory of an aborted or deceased baby, mostly by the parents.
To conclude with, I’ll show a few pictures of a row of statues (not sure who they are again), all with their own assembly of bibs and hats.
It looks kind of cosy, hm? Maybe I should take some wooly things with me next time I go to church…


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During the past 2 months, my freshly married husband and I have been traveling through Asia. Our first stop was Japan, an amazing country. The people are extremely polite and everything is very well organized. And especially in the north, nature was beautiful. Of course I’ve been having my eyes open for all craft-related stuff, and in the coming posts I’d like to share some things with you.

It started already the first day in Tokyo, when we visited a special shrine. Some background info: a shrine is the place of worship for Shinto believers, the indigenous religion of Japan. It is quite complicated to grasp for someone brought up in a different culture, but it has a lot to do with ancestry and connecting present to past. The shrine that we came across was a small one, dedicated to a god called Sukunahikona-mikoto. He is the god of medicine but is also famous as a guardian of women. Once a year he is honoured in a very special way, and the ingredients for that are tofu and needles. During a ‘needle memorial’ or ‘hari-kuyo’, women express their gratitude for the past year by bringing used sewing needles and sticking them into tofu! Unfortunately it was not the time of year and we couldn’t see this happening in real life, but already the thought of it makes me happy. :-)

The shrine outside and in:

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