Friday, August 25, 2006

The Suwa Shrine crest

Shrine crest

Just like Christianity has a handful of denominations, Shintoism has a number of different types of shrines. My friend Tetsuo tells me that the Suwa branch of shrines is one of the oldest in Japan, dating back as far as the 8th century. According to legend, there were forces in Japan that were trying to unify the country, but those who opposed it fled to the Suwa region, which is now present-day Nagano prefecture.

Tetsuo tells me that during the conflict, "imperial ( Yamato) forces had unified local Kindom of Izumo, and the second son of Izumo had fled to Suwa for independence." Since Izumo's second son had recognizable strength, the Yamato forces decied to recognize the rebels in Suwa as a self-governing kingdom, provided they never leave the area.

As such, the seal on the shrine is different from most others. The majority of shrines bear the imperial chrysanthemum seal. However, the Suwa shrines actually have the seal in this picture.

Interestingly enough, that is also used as the family crest of Tetsuo's family: Araki.


At 2:39 p.m., Anonymous E Etomi said...

Interesting information!

At 2:48 p.m., Blogger Sidney said...

Nice symbol. Interesting bits of history!

At 7:01 p.m., Blogger micki said...

That was a fascinating story. The older I get, the more I appreciate knowing the history that is behind the world around us.

At 12:52 p.m., Blogger cb said...

I love the insight into Japan you bring not only with your pics, but with your text! I can't wait to get there!

At 11:46 a.m., Anonymous Darkness said...

Great shot and a good story too.


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