Sunday, May 3, 2009

Hidden Shrines of Ise - 5

After spending three days in Ise, I was driving back home on the high way. The signs around this area have a lot of “Uji” and “Yamada.” That caught my attention and started to wonder where this name Uji Yamada came from. I heard from the local people that the elders would say “I am going to Yamada” rather than “I am going to Ise.” In the folklore, they say what local elders have been passing on through talk story is the truth about the region.

There are many academic theories about how the name Ise derived. But what my vision tells me is that there was a conflict. The town around the Gekū area was called Yamada and the town around Naikū area was called Uji. In the super ancient times, a stone pillar was brought from Haku-san as a pillar for the god to reside. At this time, Naikū did not exist. I would say Naikū was established much later. There was only one stone pillar, so when people decided to build the Naikū, they made the pillar with wood. This wooden pillar became the Shin-no-mihashira (心御柱), the pillar of the heart, and it is was set under the ground of the sei-den, main shrine. This wooden pillar is also known as Imi-bashira (忌柱), Ame-no-mihashira (天ノ御柱) and Ame-no-mihakai-no-hashira (天ノ御量柱). During the sengū, the part where the priests set the wooden pillar under the ground of the main shrine is the most important ritual done in the middle of the night.

I believe that originally, a town only existed around the Gekū area. And it was called Yamada. At that time, I assume the Naikū did not exist and the area was still a deep forest. If the anthropologists dig around the Gekū, I am sure that old living remains will be discovered from more than 3000 years ago. I assume the origin of the name Yamada comes from “Yamatai-no-kuni (邪馬台国).”

In one of the ancient document, Gishiwajin-den (魏志倭人伝), it explains that the area from Mt.Miwa of Nara as the capital and all the way to Ise~Kumano area was called Yamatai-no-kuni. When princess Yamato-hime-no-mikoto came to the forest that is now the Naikū, carring Amaterasu-Ohomikami’s eight rank spirit, the whole area starts to develop as a town. I assume some kind of high ranked tribes called the Uji (氏) clan came from Nara to this area. And eventually, Uji (氏) became Uji (宇治).

I sense that the Yamada’s who where the older local people and the new high ranked families, the Uji’s did not get along. They both lived on one side of the Isuzu River and had conflicts. This is a reflection from the World of the Gods. The conflict between Kunitsu-kami and Amatsu-kami. The ancient people of Yamada and the people of Isobe who are the believers of the Izawa-no-miya were good neighbors to each other. Another two stone pillars from Haku-san are buried under the Izawa-no-miya. That makes sense, why they get along.

As the god spirit shows me the vision of the ancient times of these area in Ise, I was driving towards Takihara-no-miya (瀧原宮).

Ikashite-itadaite Arigato-gozaimasu

Thank you for letting us live