Encyclopedia of Shinto

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カテゴリー1: 5. Rites and Festivals
カテゴリー2: Individual Shrine Observances
"Scramble for the target." An archery rite held on January 15 at Shioji Shrine in Nagasu Town, Tamana District, Kumamoto Prefecture. Bakau means "to scramble" or "to struggle" for something. Following ceremonies that take place on the morning of the 15th, three arrows are shot with bows made of kashi (an evergreen oak) at two targets in front of the shrine, one more than 30 centimeters in diameter made of straw and one about 60 centimeters in diameter made of paper. The targets were made the eve of the festival at the seashore by individuals from predetermined families who have undertaken a strict period of abstinence (kessai). Around 1 p.m., the targets are thrown into a crowd of loin cloth-clad youths waiting in front of the worship hall (haiden). The youths leave the shrine, pass through the town, head for the shore, and enter the ocean, jostling one another and struggling over the targets all the while. Finally, the festival overseers neatly cut the targets into two with a knife and distribute them to "upper" and "lower" groups. The targets are shredded by each group and handed out to the shrine's parishioners (ujiko). These are placed in their household altars as protection against fire. The origins of this rite date back some 800 years to the time when Yamatotakeru-no-mikoto was installed as the enshrined deity (saijin) of Shioji Shrine. Legend has it that local residents scrambled for round seats made of straw in hopes that some of the shintoku (the sublime virtue that cmoes from the actions of kami) would rub off on them. Also called the "naked festival" (hadaka matsuri) or the "ceremonial arrow rite" (hamayumi shinji).
— Mogi Sakae

Pronunciation in Japanese/用語音声

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