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Dulina А. М. The two sides of Hachiman deity cult Печать E-mail
31.03.2014 г.

The two sides of Hachiman deity cult. Ivashimizu Hachiman-gu and Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gu in XII - XIV centuries

Dulina А. М. (IAAS, MSU)

Iwashimizu Hachiman-gu and Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gu are on the list of major shrines dedicated to Hachiman - a tutelary god of the Emperor's family and military estate. Iwashimizu shrine was founded in 859 not far from the capital city in order to provide divine protection to Japan and its Emperor. Visits of the royal family and court tributes prove this place of worship to be of great significance for the Emperor. It was among the twenty two shrines (nijunisha) and was considered to be the second most important shrines, which role was to protect the Emperors' family, after the Ise Shrine.

In 1063 «body part» (shintai) of Hachiman was relocated to Tsurugaoka - a shrine constructed by Minamoto military clan in the East of Japan in Kamakura village. This shrine has become major worship center of Hachiman as war deity. It also served as an ideological and sacred background for political power legitimacy of shogun who offered generous tributes to the deity for receiving new ranks and titles from the Emperor.

During a bipolar rule - the Emperor (in the capital city Heian) and military (bakufu headquarters in Kamakura) - Iwashimizu shrine, being located in the capital area protected the Emperor while Tsurugaoka patronized Minamoto military clan and the military estate.

Kamakura tradition considered Hachiman mainly as a severe god of war, deity of bow and arrow, warrior's protector. Iwashimizu worshiped Hachiman as a kind of merciful bodhisattva, who only raised arms against enemies who threatened the Emperor or the dynasty.

Regardless of the political opposition of Heian and Kamakura sides Iwashimizu and Tsurugaoka, that was constructed similarly to the first one, managed to keep close relationship. For instance «Azuma kagami» (Mirror of the East) chronicle provide proof of a case when Iwashimizu and Tsurugaoka shrine's priests turned to Minamoto Yoritomo with a joint request on reconstruction of Usa shrine that had been destroyed in the end of XII century during the war between Minamoto and Taira clans. According to the same chronicle Yoritomo had visited Iwashimizu shrine for worship.

The relationship between Iwashimizu Hachiman-gu and Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gu shrines in XII-XIV century reflect both Hachiman cult omnitude and the two political actors (military and aristocratic) confrontation .


1. Azuma Kagami (Mirror of the East). In 5 vol. Tokyo, Iwanami shoten, 2008.

2. Хhachiman gudokin (Hachiman teachings for silly children) // Jisha engi (Legends of the origin of buddhist temples and shinto shrines) . Series: Nihon shisho taikei Vol. 20. Tokyo: Iwanami, 1975. Pp. 170-205, 208-273.

For full text see: IOCS Works («Orientalia et Classica» Series) History and culture of traditional Japan. 7 / Ed. A.N.Mesheryakov, RSUH. Moscow, 2014.
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