2/04/2018

kimon demon gate legends

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kimon 鬼門の鬼伝説 Oni Demon Gate Legends

The north-east ushi-tora 丑寅 ox-tiger direction
is considered an un-auspicious region and needs protection from real and imagined enemies, fiends and demons.

. Kitamuki Fudo 北向き不動 and the Kimon direction .
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Why do Oni have horns ?

The explanation relates to the concept of
kimon 鬼門 Oni gate - Demon Gate
The zodiac animals associated with this 北東の方角 Northeastern region are
ushi-tora 丑寅 the bull and the tiger.
Oni are therefore usually depicted with bull horns and tiger fangs, wearing loincloths made of tiger skin.
(Tigers were not known in Japan.)
. tsuno 鬼の角 伝説 Oni Demon Legends about their horns .


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- quote -
Kimon, the "Demon Gate" 鬼門,
Chinese geomancy (Ch: feng shui), a system for determining auspicious or inauspicious placements and orientations of cities, temples, houses, and graves. In Chinese thought, the northeast quarter is considered to be particularly inauspicious. The northeast direction is known as the "demon gate," which can be loosely translated as the place where "demons gather and enter." This belief was imported by the Japanese and is referred to as Kimon (literally "Demon Gate").
Kimon generally means ominous direction, or taboo direction. In Japan, both the monkey and the fox are guardians against evil Kimon influences.
source : Mark Schumacher



Photo source : 神霊の思頼


. Konjin, Konjin Sama 金神, 金神様 deity of metal .



Kimon Konjin 鬼門金神
an itinerant deity who changes his main direction of activities.


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ura kimon, ura-kimon 裏鬼門 the "back" demon gate
in the south-west

kimon-sumi no nagaya 鬼門隅の長屋 Nagaya living quarters at the Kimon corner
. nagaya 長屋 / ながや row house, long house .
living quarters for the people in service of a lord


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. Japanese Legends - 伝説 民話 昔話 – ABC-List .

The outhouse toilet should never be placed in the Kimon direction of a house.
There are some trees that should never be planted in the Kimon direction of a house.
Others should be planted to bring good luck and avoid disaster.

A 汗穴 sweat pore is called Kimon. A Demon can use a 汗腺 sweat gland to invade a human body.

daiku no nyoobo 大工の女房 Legends about a carpenter making a mistake.



............................................................................ Aichi 愛知県
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幡豆郡 Hazu district

A new house should not face the northern Kimon direction.
Never dig a hole in the Kimon direction beside a house.
Planting a sarusuberi さるすべり crape myrtle tree in the Kimon direction protects the house from burglars and other disaster.

. sarusuberi さるすべり / 百日紅 crape myrtle tree .
lit. "Even monkeys fall from trees! "


In 小原村 Obara village, planting a nashi 梨 Japanese pear tree in the Kimon direction prevents people from becoming ill.
. nashi 梨子 Japanese pear, Pyrus serotina .



............................................................................ Aomori 青森県
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三戸町 Sannohe

saru ishi, saru-ishi 猿石 "monkey stone"
At the estate of 足沢左十郎 Ashisawa Sajuro in Sannohe, the main building did not have a corner at the Kimon direction. Instead they had placed a stone, saru-ishi 猿石 of about 1 foot size. It was big enough for a monkes (saru - a pun with 去る to go away of bad luck). If a human touched this stone, he would be cursed, so people tried to avoid walking around this corner.





............................................................................ Gunma 群馬県
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沼田市 Numata

. kasha カシャ / 火車 Kasha Demon "burning chariot" .
and Kasha neko – The Corpse-Eating Cat Demon 火車猫
When the Kasha demon comes to get hold of a corpse, people shoot an arrow in the Kimon direction to drive it away.


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勢多郡 Seta district

. enju エンジュ / 槐 Japanese pagoda tree .
Planting an Enju tree in the Kimon direction will protect the home from fire and disaster.
enju is a play on words with long life, enju えんじゅ【延寿】.




............................................................................ Hyogo 兵庫県
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姫路市 Himeji

mawari konjin 廻り金神 Konjin coming around
A home should not be built in the direction of Kimon, Urakimon or the Konjin deity to avoid people living there from getting ill.





............................................................................ Kanagawa 神奈川県
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津久井郡 Tsukui district 藤野町 Fujino

鬼門へ向かって飛んだ首 the head flying in the Kimon direction
Once upon a time
a 大工 carpenter had cut three pillars too short and did not know what to do about it. His clever wive suggested to use kushigata クシガタ(枡形)(masugata) square boxes. He did as suggested and all seemed well at first. But the carpenter was worried that his wife tell about his mistake and cut her head off to keep her silent.
The head took off and flew away in the Kimon direction in no time.





............................................................................ Miyagi 宮城県

kamaemono, kamae-mono カマエモノ being cursed by the Kami deity
A local proverb says:
If you put dirty things in the Kimon direction of your house, you will be cursed by the Deity.




............................................................................ Miyazaki 宮崎県
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東臼杵郡 Higashi-Usuki district 北浦町 Kitaura

Konjin 金神 is seen as a protector deity of the Kimon direction.





............................................................................ Nagano 長野県

. kimon yoke no keyaki 鬼門除けのけやき .
The Zelkova tree between the Hachiman shrine and the Myojin Shrine is supposed to ward off evil. ...

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安曇野市 Azumino

o-inari sama お稲荷様 Inari Fox Deity
A kitooshi 祈とう師 Kitoshi shaman is called ニチレンサマ Nichiren sama in the local dialect.
There was once a family with many ill people and a lot of bad luck. So they asked a Shaman for help. He told them that their local sanctuary for Inari was in the Kimon direction and they should relocate it to the inui 戌亥 north-west direction.
They did it and since then all went well.

. Inari 稲荷 the "Fox Deity" .





............................................................................ Nagasaki 長崎県
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松浦市 Matsuura

ike no kimon 池の鬼門 Kimon of the Dragon Pond 龍が池
In the Dragon Pond lived daija 大蛇 a huge serpent. It had moved here after 為朝 Tametomo drove her away from 黒髪山 Kurokamisan.
Tametomo shot an arrow from this lake into the Kimon direction and it landed at the village 古野村 Konomura. There it stuck in the ground, became a bamboo grove and is still to be seen.
. Minamoto no Tametomo 源為朝 (1139 – 1170) .





............................................................................ Osaka 大阪府
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豊能郡 Toyono district

kimonburoo 鬼門風呂 bathtub in the Kimon direction
A bath tub and the bathroom should not be placed in the Kimon direction, because that will bring bad luck.





............................................................................ Saitama 埼玉県
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戸田市 Heda city

大工の女房 the wife of a carpenter
The story is similar to the one above from Tsukui.
But the wife now came back every night via the Kimon direction and appeared in the carpenter's dream to scare him. So he shot an arrow in the Kimon direction.
The 角材 squared timbers he cut after that all looked a bit like his wife.



............................................................................ Saga 佐賀県
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佐賀市 Saga city

kimon-sumi no nagaya 鬼門隅の長屋 long house at the Kimon corner
The estate of the Lord of Bizen (in Edo) seemed bewitched during the time he was living there. Fire pillars were seen in the garden, rain dripped into the kitchen and sometimes the whole house rumbled and shook in strange ways. The local people rejoiced when the Lord had to move out for his yearly stay in Edo.
And every day they held special fire rituals at the long house at the Kimon corner, often calling priests to perform the purifying rituals.




............................................................................ Shiga 滋賀県
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伊香郡 Ina district 西浅井町 Nishi-Asai

kimon 忌門 / キモン (another spelling, indicating the taboo direction)
When building a new home, people have to take good care of the direction.

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高島市 Takashima

ura kimon 裏鬼門 the "back" demon gate
Nothing should be grown in the Ura-Kimon direction of a home to avoid bad luck.





............................................................................ Shizuoka 静岡県
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田方郡 Tagata district 戸田村 Heda

Once upon a time
a 匠 carpenter had cut one pillar too short and did not know what to do about it. His clever wive suggested what do to about it. He did as suggested and all seemed well at first. But the carpenter was worried that his wife tell about his mistake and cut her head off to keep her silent.
The head took off and flew away in the Kimon direction in no time.
Later he made offerings in the Kimon direction to appease her soul.




............................................................................ Tokyo 東京都

The home in the estate of the venerable Honda Tadakatsu 本多忠勝 (1548 – 1610) had a fire on the first day of the New Year.
The mansion had been built with the Kimon taboos in mind. Just before the fire started, the pine decoration at the front gate showed a broken branch and three broken bamboo sticks.
That was really strange.

Honda Tadakatsu 本多忠勝 (1548 – 1610) - general of Tokugawa Ieyasu

. kadomatsu 門松 pine (decorations) at the gate .
- kigo for the New Year -

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To protect the Edo castle, 上野の寛永寺 the temple Kanei-Ji in Ueno was constructed in its Kimon direction.





............................................................................ Wakayama 和歌山県
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西牟婁郡 Nishi-Muro district 日置川町 Hikigawa

tamashi no yobimodoshi 魂のヨビモドシ calling back the soul
Once a man built his 便所 outhouse toilet in the Kimon dirextion, but he was cursed and died soon afterward.
But his voice came at night from the roof, asking to call him back. A carpenter came and dug under the outhouse and found the bones of a dead person. The family buried the bones properly. And the man came back to life.


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艮(うしとら) ushi-tora direction
auspicious directions were
乾(いぬい)inui, inu-i in the north-west
and 巽(たつみ)tatsumi, tstsu-mi in the south-east


- reference : nichibun yokai database 妖怪データベース -

- - - - - More legends about
. Konjin, Konjin Sama 金神, 金神様 deity of metal .
Kimon Konjin 鬼門金神

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. Mingei 民芸 Regional Folk Art from Japan .

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1 comment:

Gabi Greve said...

- comment at facebook -
some scolastic japanese good friends told me that "kimon" was the perfect place to hide some imperial secrets about "origins"... some koshinto branchs worshipp "kimon dai myojin".
I heard that "oni" was a metaphor in the past to call "korean" migrants who were living in mountains villages in japan!
.