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  • Akiko

Mysterious Priest and Her Talismans

So many traditional customs had been still practiced in my childhood. My grandmother knew the meanings of plants, and people had minded religious taboos much more than now. In the 1980s in the countryside of Japan, I saw "nomad" priests even it was really rare case. I saw some Buddhist monks training themselves while walking all around the region. Also, I saw yamabushi monk, probably from the zen temple near our town. Of course, it is located in deep mountain where it takes us at least one day on foot.

The Hōensan, woman priests is this kind of "nomad" priest. She is a priest for folk religious belief. She visited us on hoot, once per year, to sell us her talismans as below;

This is the small alter in the kitchen. My grandfather decorates it with a zig-zag paper called Gohei, and talismans. In the center, it is written the name of folk god of the fire (the fumace); kōjin. The kōjin-shinkō, the folk brief of Kōjin god, is very popular in the west of Japan (Chugoku region). It is a mysterious god who is a protector from fire.

At the window, he put another talisman. It is written kinoe ne (Sexagesimal cycle) and illustration of Ebisu, a god of fisherman who brings us happiness.

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