trials-shrines

Carrying on from where we left off, there was a gap of time between when Onamuji was revived the first time after his burning encounter with the red boar boulder, and when he was smashed inside a tree. As creative a murder method as that was, I can’t say I’ve found anything indicating which tree it is or what form it would be in now. Nor have I gone romping through the woods looking for suspiciously cut trees or tried replicating the set-up myself–as the saying goes in Japan, ii ko wa mane shinaide ne–“good kids won’t try this at home!”

In that time after his first revival, he was living with Yagami in semi-hiding in Owaimi Shrine, in modern-day Hino-cho, Tottori.

Click for source–and more photos! Pretty ginkgo leaves…

After his second revival, there was a brief detour I left out before Onamuji went to Ne-no-Kuni, but there wouldn’t have been any time to sit back and let his brothers start getting creative again. Speaking of wasting time, Suseri wasted no time in staking her claim on her husband, and then took his well-being into her hands right away.

On his first nights in Ne-no-Kuni, Susano-o had him sleep in rooms filled with poisonous pests, but Onamuji was protected by Suseri’s centipede, wasp, and snake-warding scarves. Since she lived among them it is not surprising that she’d have developed methods for keeping them from bugging her (ha!). She is still associated with this today at Tono Shrine in Daisen-cho, a shrine dedicated to her. Every April they hold a big festival to ward off poisonous pests and other unwanted bugs, and it is said that special sand from the shrine has this effect, too.

Though she was his second wife, Suseri would remain known as Okuninushi’s primary wife, and she was known for being quite jealous. Perhaps some of Okuninushi’s other wives stuck around longer despite Suseri, but Yagami was too delicate to last long. Later Japanese literature seems to suggest that another women’s jealousy was a legitimate cause of death, after all.

That may or may not make modern-day readers feel any more comfortable with Yagami abandoning a baby in the fork of a tree, though. Nevertheless, it seems it was a safe birth, and the child was well-adjusted enough to celebrated as a god of safe births and long life. Ki-no-mata was also known as Mii (referring to a well), and that is why a shrine in Izumo dedicated to him is called Mii Shrine. The three wells on the shrine grounds are said to have the provided the water Yagami used during childbirth. This page has a whole bunch of pretty pictures of the shrine, including of the wells and a statue of Yagami with newborn Ki-no-Mata/Mii.

There are more famous springs associated with Yagami and her journey, though! Those are yet to come.

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