From the early morning of August 24th, we invited J.A.K.A.M. to take a video at “Ayahiro Fall”, the sacred place of the waterfall of Musashi Mitake Shrine in Ome City, Tokyo.
The video was taken with the permission of the shrine officials at the “Musashi Koku Mitakesan Wolf Dedication Festival” held from the 22nd to the 23rd just before.
Therefore, Mr. Ryujiro Oyabu, a ceramist who is also one of the organizers of the “Musashi Mitakesan Wolf Dedication Festival”, got an article written about the origin of Musashi Mitake Shrine and the wolf worship, and about the state of the dedication festival that was held until the day before.
Musashi Mitake Shrine is located at the summit of Mt. Ontake (elevation 929m) at the westernmost tip of Tokyo, and you can enjoy a truly “superb view” of the Sky Tree, Shinjuku subcenter, and the sea over the Boso Peninsula in the distance. This shrine is said that this was built during the time of Emperor Sujin (97-BC30), and has been worshiped as a sacred mountain by people all over the Kanto region since ancient times.
In addition, at the shrine, “When Yamato Takeru tried to go northwest from Mt. Ontake during the eastern expedition, the evil god of Miyama turned into a big white deer and blocked the road, so Yamato got rid of the big deer with Yamabiru(Allium grayi), but at that time, the mountain and the valley rumbled and cloud fog was generated and he got lost.
A white wolf suddenly appeared there and led the honor to the northwest. Takeru was told by the white wolf, “Stay on Mt. Ontake as a large genie and exterminate all demons.” And this legend that is said remains, and Musashi Mitake Shrine enshrines the wolf as the genus of the shrine, calling it “Ōguchi Makami,” “Wolf,” and “Dog.” It is also known as the Shrine of Faith.
The wolf eats the vermin that ruin the farmer’s fields, so the bill “Wolf Amulet” issued by the shrine is now displayed on the eaves of barns and entrances as an amulet to protect yourself from theft, amulets, and epidemics such as cholera that has spread. In the Edo period, around the time of Tenpo, Ōguchi Makami became widely popular with the people.
There are more than 30 shukubo on Mt. Ontake, and many of them are still welcoming students. Many of the owners of the shukubo(lodgings for pilgrims at a temple) are priests of shrines and are called “Oshi / Onshi” and they are shamans who perform Takigyo (an ascetic training of being hit by a waterfall) and prays at the request, they have protected *Kannabi forest, which is dotted with many Shugendo(Japanese mountain asceticism-shamanism incorporating Shinto and Buddhist concepts) such as Ayahiro’s fall and Tengu rock, for generations.”Kannabi” means “the forest where God dwells”
August 24, 2019 was the reason for holding the “Ookami Hōnō sai”（”Wolf Dedication Festival”） on Mt. Ontake, Musashi Province. It was that I dedicated two ceramic “Jomon Aun Ōguchi Makami statues” to the worship hall of Mitake Shrine. At the time of the dedication ceremony of the statue of Ōguchi Makami, Mr. Kaoru Hashimoto performed the Sho(Shinto flute) and Mr. David Wheeler II Kansuke performed the shakuhachi(Bamboo flute) dedication. When the performance began, a pure breeze flowed into the hall of worship in the sky and danced with the sound and pulled to the main hall.
I still have a really comfortable feeling of watching the heavens and the earth touch and rejoice through music. When you feel the spectacular view of the Sky Tree, Boso Peninsula, and Tokyo Bay and the pleasant air flowing there, you can stand on the top of the mountain with various art artists and look at the land where you live from a bird’s-eye view. At that time, I strongly hope I want to express my love and gratitude for the earth that naturally springs up! And I could prepare a “place to worship” with those expressions as a dedication ceremony.”
When I consulted with Oshi(priest of shrine) Yoshiaki Hashimoto, he said he had been thinking about the same thing for a long time. Then, when I asked him, he kindly agreed and decided to hold the “Musashi Kuni Ontakeyama Wolf Festival” together from August 22nd to 23rd, 2020, one year later. At this point, we didn’t even know that it would be such a year.
A New year 2020 has began.Due to the influence of the new coronavirus that has gradually spread from the beginning of the year, we continued to wait until the last minute whether it was held or canceled.
From the opinion that isn’t it an opportunity to demonstrate “the plague eradication”, which is one of the benefits of the “wolf amulet” of the shrine, it was decided that it would be carried out not as a mere “festival” but as a dedication ritual dedicated to the great earth and this universe, with only the executive committee and dedication performers.
It was one month before the scheduled date that the event was concluded. The main point is below:
We are just one of the components of living orgamism, means “Earth”.The message transmitted by the “messenger from the earth” who came as a coronavirus asks what the value of human existence is. From the Jomon period to the modern era, we Japanese have been praying and appreciating the sea, mountains, animals that live there, trees, and stones as great geings, while staying close to the regularity created by the natural world. However, with the rapid modernization since the Edo period, the divergence between humans and nature has progressed, and natural disasters and environmental problems are rapidly becoming more serious as if in line with it. This movement makes me feel as if the Earth has the will and is trying to shake us off the Earth or this universe. A festival in which each and every one of humankind once again has a strong awareness and will to say, “It is an important part of a large life form called this universe,” and prays with love and gratitude to the great universe. we would like to hold the “Musashi Kuni Mitakeyama Wolf Dedication Festival” because I think that this is the most important action now for humankind.
Professional and serious staff and performers gathered one after another.So to speak, there is no performance fee, and Ago-makura (food and accommodation expenses) is also self-sufficient.In addition, the conditions is completely no performance fee, and they pay also the AgoMakura (food and accommodation expenses) out of their own pocket. Nevertheless, in agreement with the above purpose, professional staff and star artists appeared one by one, bringing their own equipment. I felt a passionate desire to dedicate each person’s unique skills and talents to Miyama in Kannabi. Due to the influence of the new Corona, the Fuji Rock Festival, which was scheduled to be held on the same schedule, was canceled, so many friend artists were able to participate in the “Wolf Dedication Festival”, personally, I was very lucky and felt strange.
Although it wasn’t sunny on that day, it was blessed with good weather, which was moderately able to bear the heat with the clouds.
In front of the main shrine, all the performers and staff performed a dedication ceremony. Next, the four selected musicians from the local Mitake area dedicated the lion dance. After that, along with the performances of Kunmei Hashimoto, Takehito Hamada, RABIRABI, and GoRo, a dedication dance by SeiRa, KIKI CAT, and Nashaal was performed as a “main shrine dedication performance.” As soon as the dedication ceremony begins, the sun is shining through the clouds.
After that, the evening view of Tokyo while tasting a plate dinner using local organic vegetables at Nagaodaira and the performances of DJ Takulow and DJ Kaz Mashino gradually raised our mood. In addition, Rabi Rabi’s Live brought everyone together. Continue to Live by TSUYOSHI SUZUKI and GoRo. Go through the barriers separated by shimenawa(A sacred rope) and pass through the galaxy of the mirror bowl floating in the dark. A fantastic seven-colored rainbow illuminates the wolves dancing in the jet-black forest. This is Aun’s wolf dance by SeiRa & KIKI CAT. Beyond that, TSUYOSHI and GoRo are playing the sound with Aun’s breath against the night view of Tokyo. If you visit Nagaodaira, you will hear the voice of “It feels good!” Everyone’s smile said so.
A talk session was held following the dedication performance. The theme was “Listen to the ancient voice and awaken the power to coexist.” We talked based on the story of *Steve Brown which was pre-recorded. After that we confirmed that if we are simply “scary,” “dangerous,” and “don’t know,” and don’t think deeper than that, the circumstances of the earth will not wait. And we reconfirmed how precious Japanese satoyama(An undeveloped woodland near a village) is, and human being and the cooperation of wolves are necessary for the forest to be a shrine grove. We made sure that animals and humans are creatures of the same rank, and it is necessary to be aware of the responsibility to play their respective roles and act accordingly.*Mr. Steve Brown is deeply involved in the “Wolf Revival Project” from 1995 to the present in the official Nature Guide of the US Yellowstone National Park Service.
In Steve’s story, what I was most impressed with was, “Just let the wolf go. We don’t have to do anything. Japan doesn’t have rabies, so it’s easier than America.” In the first place, unlike bears and other animals, wolves have a clearly small number of accidents and rarely show their appearance. Furthermore, in the current situation in Japan where the number of deer is increasing so much, there is almost no possibility of attacking people. Taking advantage of the wisdom of more than 90 years of the “Chinju-no-mori” project of the Meiji Jingu Landscaping Bureau and the 25 years of demonstration results of Yellowstone, if you think deeply, you can see that the wolf and the plants should prevent not only the beast damage such as deer that is occurring now, but also the flooding of rivers and landslides.
Following the talk session, we moved on to the Movie Viewing Party. We showed a documentary film directed by Toshiro Yoshioka, “The story of the final six months of a man’s life and weed”, which is based on the theme of cannabis, which is one of a topic that is completely avoided like the wolves in Japan today. Yama-san, who was sentenced to six months to live due to liver cancer, improved his physical condition when he grew up and used cannabis as the last life-sustaining remedy after suffering from the pain of anti-cancer drugs. As soon as he felt joy and happiness, he was arrested. Yama-san, whose lifeline was taken away, suddenly changed his physical condition, and while he endured the pain, he died without being able to hear the judgment in a desperate trial. The whole story was recorded. What are human rights? Probably it would have stuck deeply in the everyone’s heart who was watching. The crime of stopping thinking was an example of killing a person.
There are countless power spots in the training grounds behind the precincts of Mitake Shrine. At the top of Tenguiwa, one of them, a dedication performance by GoRo the Vibration was performed. A large rock that literally stick out into the sky like the tip of a tengu’s nose. The appearance of the roots of two giant trees entwined tightly is is beyond a doubt the best part.
The finale of the dedication festival is a dedication performance by Rabi Rabi at Ayahiro’s fall. The sky looking up from the waterfall basin surrounded by megaliths, which is 4 to 5 stories high, is like an open dome ceiling. It is a Shugendo where many trainees go to the waterfall every day. RABIRABI’s performance entwined with the sound of Taki and echoed to heaven. The initially cloudy sky became brighter when the performance started, and just before the end of the performance, a ray of light came in and the audience screamed all at once. It was a wonderful finale where everyone witnessed a miracle-like moment.
Text/Ryujiro Oyabu・Photo/momo yago
Ceramic artist, Jomon experimental archaeologist.
He explores the tools, techniques and spirits used in the era when Jomon pottery was burned,which is the origin of Japanese “Yakimono”. The method of projecting this experience back into modern “pottery” is widely evaluated not only in Japan but also overseas.In 2019, he was invited by Boulder city, Colorado with Jomon modeler Ifurai Murakami Genya to perform the first “Jomon grilling” in the history of the North American continent.
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