Rice paddy on the premises of Oyamazumi Jinja

 

The Oyamazumi Jinja Shinto shrine in Omishima island is some thirty minutes’ pedaling away from the Tatara Grand Bridge connecting Omishima and Ikuchijima. This shrine has a small patch of rice field. The rice is already harvested as you can see. In front of the hall in the photo is held an unusual and humorous ritual biannually in spring and fall: Sumo bouts are fought between a human and a numen of rice grain. They compete three times and always the spirit wins. This is like a pre-celebration of good harvest.

 

The Records of Ancient Matters (Kojiki), a Japanese mythological history book, does not specify the gender of Oyamazumi deity but another old book writes the deity is female but another says male. Whoever he or she is, the deity has been revered by all, including commoners, warriors, and nobles.  

posted by jasmine