Ontou-sai

Jinja, - Japanese Shinto shrine -, is composed of Hon-den and Hai-den. Hon-den is the main sanctuary, Hai-den is the place where people pray toward the Hon-den.

In Suwa-taisha - taisha means a great shrine - in Nagano, one of the most famous shrines, there is not Hon-den, but the Mt. Moriya behind is the main sanctuary. This name attracts many people. For example, Abihail, the top of the Amishav which is the organization of returning movement of 10 tribes, has visited and prayed toward Mt. Moriya. Then, is Mt. Moriya the symbol of "Moriya in Israel" where the Lord has ordered Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac in Genesis?

 

In Suwa-taisha, many mysterious ceremonies, for example Onbashira-matsuri, are carried out. Above all, Ontou-sai - Ontou means a head, sai means a ceremony - cuts a conspicuous figure which is performed in front of the Mae-miya in Kami-sha on April 15 every year.

Nowadays, in Ontou-sai, the pillar about 1.5 meter named Onie-bashira - Onie means a sacrifice and bashira means a pillar - is set up and 3 heads of deer stuffed are offered. Another is the same with the normal ceremony in Shinto.

But until the end of Edo period (1868), the strange ceremony has been performed.

 

75 heads of deer were offered, and in these heads, there was one which ear was torn surely. Other offerings were an egret, a white rabbit, a pheasant, a copper pheasant, a carp, a yellowtail, a crucian, many kinds of meats, seafood, and rice. 

First, the Shinto priests eat the offerings and drink sake (Japanese wine made from rice). After that, they set up Onie-bashira and the child called Onkou (or Okou) who is dressed red Kimono is bound to Onie-bashira. At the moment when a priest stabs Onkou with a small knife, a horse riding a messenger of the provincial governor of Suwa appears, and the messenger stops it. Then, Onkou is released, and the ceremony is finished.

In Shinto, the blood like beasts is regarded as Kegare - impurity -, this ceremony is mysterious. Then, from the word "Moriya", we will look up the Old Testament. In Judaism, the blood of a lamb sacrificed is offered to the temple, isn't it?

As mentioned above, the word "Moriya" has some possibility of the relationship with Abraham and Isaac. According to the Old Testament, to test the piety of Abraham, the Lord ordered him to sacrifice his son Isaac. But Abraham performed as the Lord said, an angel stopped it. What about it? It is similar to this scene, isn't it?

And at this moment, the antler of one ram was captured in the thicket, so Abraham sacrificed it. Is this episode symbolized as the head of deer which ear is torn in Ontou-sai?

But only this explanation, we don't understand "75 heads". According to one theory, 75 lambs were sacrificed at Mt. Gerizim in Samaria in North Israel.

According to the Deuteronomy, Mt. Gerizim is where Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Joseph and Benjamin climbed to give a benediction to the people. By historian Josephus, it is recorded that Samaritan built the temple on Mt. Gerizim, it is older than the temple in Jerusalem.

Samaritan still give sacrifice at Mt. Gerizim, it is said to be more faithful than the ceremony of Judaist.

 

In addition, there is a scene of Joseph and Jacob calling 75 kinfolks in the Acts of the Apostles. But in the Book of Exodus, the number of children born of Jacob is 70, these numbers contradict.

Then, to focus on deer, a deer is regarded as a familiar, and in Europe, an antler is regarded as the cross which Jesus was crucified. So a royalty and a nobility thought that hunting deer down enabled them to experience for themselves the Passion, the hunting was done enthusiastically.

 

The description of 75 kinfolks is in the Acts of the Apostles. If 75 is the symbol of the Apostles, the blooding heads of deer may be Jesus blooding on the cross.

In that case, does the deer of Ontou-sai come from Christianity not Judaism? At the Lake Suwa in winter, the phenomena called "Omiwatari" is occurred. This is occurred by freezing ice. This is said to be the track that "Takeminakata-no-mikoto", the god of Kami-sha, walked to "Yasakatome-no-mikoto", the goddess of Shimo-sha, or the track that "Mishaguchi", the native god, went along. In the New Testament, there is the story that Jesus walked on the lake. It is very similar!

 

Well, the house of Moriya is in the area of Suwa-taisha, and in that premises, there is a small museum called "Moriya-shiryoukan" which exhibits the history of this area Suwa. The ancestor of Moriya is said to be the native god Mishaguchi who has been here before Takaminakata came, and Moriya's family is the successive Shinto priest. Now the generation of the present master of the house is 78.

In the premises, there is "Yashiro" where Mishaguchi is deified. If Mishaguchi is interpreted like "Mi-isaku-chi", "Mi" is the respectful word, "isaku" seems to be "Isaac", "chi" is the land, - the Land of Isaac!

But Mishaguchi is regarded as the god of snake. Isaac and Abraham do not have the symbol of the snake, and a snake is a symbol of an evil in Judaism and Christianity. In the Orient, a snake is regarded as the god, in Sumer - the first civilization in the world -, as the god or an evil.

In Shinto, a snake is normaly treated as the god. And the word "Samaria" is "Shomron" in Hebrew, this means "the small Sumer". So, does Shinto have some relationship with Sumer?

 

In the museum, a several stuffed animals which were sacrificed, like the rabbit on a skewer, the heads of deer, the model of the chopped brains of deer and so on, are displayed. This custom does not exist in Judaism and Christianity.

In this area, many ruins of Jyoumon period are discovered, so, this custom means the one of Jyoumon people who ate meats by hunting.

 

Like this, the ceremony of Jyoumon period seems to be the base of Ontou-sai and the symbols of Sumer, Judaism and Christianity may be superposed. Therefore, Ontou-sai is the very complex and mysterious ceremony.

 

Much more, a symbol like the cross is in front of the house of Moriya. What does this mean?

And there is Hokuto Shrine between Mae-miya and Hon-miya. The god deified is "Ame-no-minakanushi" - the Polestar. This is the first god in the Japanese myth "Kojiki". The Polestar is the fixed star, is called to "Tai-ichi" (or "Tai-itsu") in ancient China, but is also the title of Ise Shrine. In Ise Shrine, "Amaterasu-oomikami" - the most important god in Japan and the goddess of the sun -, is deified. Then, does Ame-no-minakanushi mean Amaterasu-oomikami?

 

Suwa-taisha is the really mysterious shrine.

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