Departmental Bulletin Paper 古代日本の疫病関連信仰における外来的要素について -平安時代の御霊会を中心として-
On the Foreign Inspired Elements in Ancient Japan’s Beliefs Relating to Plague - Focusing on the Goryō-e Ceremony in the Heian period

董, 伊莎

The first Goryō-e ceremony (a ceremony held to appease evil gods and the spirits of the dead) was held during the Heian period in 863. Subsequent Goryō-e ceremonies underwent significant changes, eventually resulting in the spirit that was the focus of ritual appeasement in the original Goryō-e being replaced by a new spirit known as Ekijin. There has been much previous research looking at the origins of this change. This work looks at a possible link between the Chinese deity known as Karakami, mentioned in the Shunki, and the Japanese deity Ekijin. From this link it can be seen that Ekijin was originally a foreign deity. Also, after an examination of records from the Nara to Heian periods, it can be seen that the concept of plagues introduced during the Tenpyō period from foreign sources deeply influenced Japanese beliefs surrounding plague and the Goryō-e ceremony. The new beliefs imported from China share a common concept with that of the original Goryō-e ceremony, namely the idea of rei. This provided a basis for the acceptance of the new foreign beliefs, which eventually resulted in Ekijin becoming the main subject of appeasement. In conclusion, foreign ideas about plague influenced not only ideas about Ekijin, but were also assimilated into the Goryō-e belief system.

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