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  • Akiko

Amor Tatenashi at Kanda-Ten-jinja shrine

This image is from site of Nespaper Yamanashi Nichinichi shinbun.

The Amor nicknamed Tate nashi no yoroi, litteraly amor "no need a shield" is conserved at my grand uncle's shrine.

This is treasure of the Takedas, clan of Kai-Genji. Lord Takeda Shingen (people in Yamanashi still call him in this way with great respect) dedicated it to the Kanda-Ten-jinja shrine at Enzan, Yamanashi Prefecture. It is dated in early 12th century. It had inherited by the heir of Clan Kai-Genji (by family the Takedas) from their 1st generation to the end until the destruction of family (death of Shingen's sun and Shingen's legitimate heir (Shigen's grand-son) in 1582. It is registered as Japan's national treasure in 1952 as "Kowakuraga yoroiodoshi kabuto ōsodetsuki小桜韋威鎧兜・大袖付".

It is used in pair with a hinomaru flag conserved in Umpōji temple in same city. This is said that the oldest hinomaru flag. Now this design is used as Japan's national flag.

Ever since I was very little, I knew that my grand-uncle conserve it. When I first saw it, I was only 4, and with awe which I have never felt later in my life. My question was why on the earth, it is at my uncle's shrine?!

While studying about kagura, I understood very well that Japan's city (town, anything) is constructed and surrounded by well calculated ritual boundaries. Province of Kai (the former name of Yamanashi) is not exception. Indeed, temples or shrines takes one point of ritual boundaries or sometimes it is located at the border of boundary.

The Kanda-Ten-Jinja shrine was constructed in 842. It was gardien shrine for the Takedas medieval period. (The Takedas began in 11th century.)

The shrine locates at Northeast toward the capital of province. It means the shrines is at the direction called as kimon (gate for demons) where oni (bad spirits) comes from in Onmyōdō. My uncle's shrine is for protect the province from them. The amor was already object of spiritual admiration for the Takedas. The reason why Takeda Shingen dedicated his family's treasure was for this purpose.


Professor Nishida Kahoru at Shizuoka Bunka Geijutsu daigaku wrote some articles about this amor.

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