How a shrine creates the spatial order of a village, with a focus on the case of Imade in Aogaki-cho, Tanba
206 , 2016-04-01 , 関西大学東西学術研究所
Research on the theme of the relationship between ritual spaces (saijo) and village settlements has yielded extensive results in fields such as folklore studies, archaeology, and Shinto studies. Most of this research has treated comparatively early periods of history, with a focus on antiquity. This paper will take an example from the late medieval period in which a ritual space was moved from a site in the mountains to one at the foot of a mountain, and will examine how the newly re-located shrine created order within the village. In the case studied here, devices were placed at the entrance to the village, to ward off three types of pollution (kegare) and calamity, and the village graveyard was established outside the boundary thus defined. Moreover, the New Year rituals common in this region and directed toward preventing the intrusion of calamities into the community shifted in their purpose to expelling any pollution that might have arisen within the village itself. The traditional shrine visit after childbirth was also observed a full 100 days after the birth, double the time typical of other regions. It is believed that these configurations and customs resulted from a heightened awareness with regard to pollution as a result of the establishment of a permanent ritual space within the space of every-day communal life. Moreover, the siting of the shrine in the interior of the village, as opposed to its entrance, created a spatial order in which the interior was accorded a superior status, which influenced both the siting and layout of houses in the community. In this case we can see the existence of a spatial order of “entrance/interior” relationship established, regardless of the point of the compass.