What Shimekazari of Ise Means

麻賀田神社

I searched information about the custom of Shimekazari(注連飾り)peculiar to Ise(伊勢) region. According to Ise Tourist Association,

Walking along the streets of Ise, you will often find Shimekazari hanging over the main entrance of a house.  A wooden tag with “蘇民将来子孫家門” or “笑門” or “千客萬来” written in Japanese ink on it is attached to Shimekazari. Hornbeam and Gleichenia japonica are decorated on both sides of it. Normally, Shimekazari, put up on New Year’s day, is detached in a few days, but in Ise(伊勢) and Shima(志摩) regions, they have the custom of keeping Shimekazari decorated over the entrance gate all through the year. This is due to the legend that a long, long time ago Susanoo(スサノオ) visited this area and a poor but merciful man named Sominshourai(蘇民将来)offered him a room. When leaving, Susanoo told him that if he kept a wooden talisman over the entrance gate, he could protect your descendants from epidemics forever. To hear that, people there began to put the talisman as the evidence of their being his descendants, hoping for sound health. So Shimekazari is a talisman for the safety and well-being of the family. Also, it is said that “蘇民将来” was shortened to “将門” later and then to “笑門” because of “将門 ” was the name of Taira No Masakado(平将門), who is legendarily supposed to bring bad luck.

蘇民将来

  • search 調べる
  • custom 慣習
  • peculiar 特有の
  • region 地方
  • attach  付ける
  • detach 取り外す
  • due to A Aが原因である
  • legend 伝説
  • talisman 魔除け
  • descendant 子孫
  • epidemic 疫病
  • evidence 証拠

When I read this, a vision came into my mind. When I searched information about the image, I found that it was linked to Passover, a festival of Judaism. Passover is an important festival of Judaism. The tradition traces back to a night about 3500 years ago, when Hebrews, who were prisoners of, and were badly treated by, Egyptians, tried to escape from Egypt the next day, led by the Prophet Moses. Yahweh, the highest God of Hebrews, whose true identity is Kunitokotachi-o-kami(国常立太神), told Moses that all boys in Egypt who were to be the successor of his family and all first baby animals shall die suddenly from the plague as punishment for killing his beloved people.

  • Passover 過越の祭
  • Judaism ユダヤ教
  • trace back  遡る
  • Hebrew ヘブライ人
  • prophet 預言者
  • true identity 正体
  • successor 後継者
  • plague 疫病
  • punishment 罰

But the angry god told Moses how to avoid the fatal plague, too. Following his prediction, Hebrews spread blood of lambs all over two pillars in front of their entrance gate and the lintel of their house and painted a sign of blood on the gate with a leaf of hemp. Around the midnight of the day they were to escape from Egypt, all eldest sons in Egypt whose house had no sign of blood died suddenly, including the successor to the throne of the Egyptian dynasty.This is how only Hebrews whose house had the sign of blood were able to pass over the calamity. Passover was named after the legend.

  • fatal 致死の
  • lamb 子羊
  • lintel 鴨居
  • hemp 麻
  • eldest son 長男
  • dynasty 王朝
  • calamity 災難

I wrote in an article of this blog how Moses landed up in Japan and buried Tablets of Stone under the ground of Taganomiya(多賀宮)in Geku(外宮)of Ise Grand Shrine(伊勢神宮). He seems to have been welcomed by the people in Ise as Susanoo(スサノオ). I feel that hefty Hebrews coming together with Moses, who pushed a big cart with Moses and Tablets of Stone on it, were described as Sarutahikono-kami(猿田彦神)with a big nose and strong body. It was right spiritually for the people to see Moses as Susanoo because Moses had part of the spirit of Susanoo inside. Geku of Ise Grand Shrine is a sacred place for the holy spirit linked with Amenominakanushi-no-kami(天之中主神)= O-Kunitokotachi-o-kami(大国常立太神)and Kunitokotachi-o-kami=Yahweh or Susanoo.

  • article 記事
  • Tablets of Stone 十戒石
  • hefty 屈強な
  • describe 描写する
  • sacred 神聖な

Yahweh, the revengeful, stern god who came down to the Middle East in ancient times, is Kunitokototachi-o-kami. The angry and lamenting spiritual being who gave a catastrophic revelation about the end of the world in the past 100 years in Japan was also Kunitokotachi-o-kami. The way this god manifests itself is harsh. To appease this holy spirit, it is necessary that we sublimate him by having 5 percent of all human beings remind themselves of gratitude and that we send him back to his parental god. I’m looking forward to the day a lot of Jewish people and religious men visit Geku of Ise Grand Shrine from all over the world.

  • stern 厳格な
  • the Middle East 中東
  • catastrophic 破滅的な
  • revelation 神示
  • harsh 過酷な
  • appease なだめる
  • sublimmate 昇華する
  • remind A of B  AにBを思い出させる
  • Jewish ユダヤの
  • religious 宗教の

An orange attached to the present Shimekazari stands for the blood of lambs. I feel that Shimekazari in ancient times used to have two woven ropes like two DNA chains hanging together with hemp fibers dyed red. There is a deep meaning in old customs, isn’t there?

  • stand for A Aを意味する
  • fiber 繊維

生かして頂いて ありがとう御座位ます

I Ka Shi Te I Ta Da I Te  A Ri Ga To U Go Za I Ma Su

Thank you so much for keeping me/us alive.

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