Go west : Tenman-guu to console Michizane
“Kitano Tenman-guu” in Kyoto to console Michizane
In 942, Michizane’s spirit showed up before a girl from a poor family in Kyoto and ordered to build a shrine for him in “Ukon no baba” (“hippodrome controlled by the right guard office”), the place where he often visited during his life.
Of course she didn’t have got no rights nor power to fulfill his wish, so she built a small shrine beside her house to worship him.
In 947, a boy in a shrine in “Oumi”, the present Shiga prefecture area, received the same message from Michizane.
His father went to talk with a priest of a temple in “Ukon no baba”, and built a shrine in corporation with the girl and the top priest of the temple.
(There is a legend that a few thousands of pine trees appeared in one night to show where the shrine should be built.)
In 959, Fujiwara no Morosuke, who was “U-daizin” back then, donated a proper shrine there.
Morosuke was a son of Fujiwara no Tadahira, who was a brother of Tokihira but sympathetic to Michizane.
In 987, Emperor Ichijyou sent his man (men?) to the shrine to pray for peace of the nation.
It was then that the title of “Kitano Tenman-guu Tenjin” (“Tenjin” literally means “The god in heaven”) as god was officially recognised and it’s been used ever since.
In 993, Michizane was conferred posthumous ranks as “Sa-daijin” and soon after that, as “Daijyou-daijin”.
In 1004, Emperor Ichijyou visited the shrine.
Michizane was the first person from the non-imperial families who was enshrined as god.
Every shrine which has the name of “Tenman-guu” worships Michizane as the main god.
It is said that there are around twelve thousands shrines where Michizane is worshipped mainly or subsidiary.
As you can see, “Tenman-guu” shrines were primarily built to console the soul of Michizane.
Then maybe because of his high academic reputation, he became worshipped as god of study (presumably in the Edo era).
“Tenjin” is a god connected to thunders, rain, water etc.
Feared as a raging god who harms people and never listen to the emperor.
(The imperial family was described as descendants of the highest god in Japanese myths, “Amaterasu”.)
In the same time, worshipped as the god of agriculture.
“Tenjin” is the Michizane’s title as a god as well, and probably now it’s more common word for Michizane than the original god.
When people say “Tenjin san (or sama)”, they usually refer to him or shrines dedicated to him as the main god.
In a Japanese nursery rhyme entitled “Tooryanse”, there is a word “Tenjin sama” in lyrics.
It is supposed to mean a shrine worshipping Michizane.
Taira no Masakado
Masakado is another famous “onryou” (vengeful spirit) in Japan.
(See my Masakado post.)
There seems to have been a rumour that Masakado was the reincarnation of Michizane.
Masakado’s birth year is not known, but some believe(d) that he was born in the same year when Michizane died.
#Dazaifu (1: General Info)
(2: Michizane – general)
(3: Michizane – legends)
(4: Michizane – vengeance)
(6: Dazaifu – to the main shrine)
(7: Dazaifu – the main shrine and around)
(8: Dazaifu – Kyushu National Museum)
Latest posts by kara (see all)
- Basic Japanese : “Sumimasen” – “Thank you” in Japanese - June 24, 2015
- Basic Japanese : “Arigatou” – “Thank you” in Japanese - May 29, 2015
- Basic Japanese : “Go-chisou sama” – Phrase after meal - May 27, 2015
How to say one to ten in Japanese There are (more than) two ways for general counting. The one that is supposed to originate in China and the other is (probably) Japanese original. Now, the Chinese one is commonly used. The most common Japanese for one to ten With Kanji characters, their sounds should have […]
General, but not very often used “I” in Japanese Several first-person singular pronouns for common people, only used by some. Neutral [Jibun] “Jibun” means “oneself”. Can be used by anybody according to circumstances, but I guess few common people use this as a usual pronoun for themselves. Maybe male athletes often use this, especially in […]
There are mysterious legends around Sugawara no Michizane. Most of them are episodes after he was framed by his political enemy. Michizane and the flying plum tree This legend is very well-known along with the following poem. The night before he left his home in Kyoto, the capital at that time, he composed a poem […]
The following titles are commonly used casual Japanese honorific titles and very rarely used titles. Never ever use any of these to higher ranking people or your customers unless you are very close to the person. If you are not so sure which title to use to somebody, the person’s family name with “san” is […]
Numbers in Japanese : Zero and over ten to hundreds Zero and from 11 to 999. Zero in Japanese “Zero” or “Rei”. “Zero” from English, and “Rei” from Chinese. The pronunciation of “rei” is almost the same as English “lay”. Both are very commonly used, and generally considered as the same meaning. In fact, they […]
The final post about numbers in Japanese. Number over quadrillion Numbers over “chou” (trillion to quadrillion) are quite rarely used. You may hear the following unit “kei” sometimes, but numbers over the unit “kei” won’t be seen in usual life. I’ve never seen it myself even in the news and I actually can’t name units […]
“Thank you” in Japanese other than “Arigatou” “Arigatou (gozai masu)” is the common phrase, but there are other phrases for “Thank you” in Japanese. Sumimasen The phrase is also very common and frequently heard in Japan. (Maybe more often used than “Arigatou”). This has several meanings : “I’m sorry.” “Excuse me.” “Thank you (and I’m […]
There are several ways of saying “Thank you” in Japanese. In this post, I am going to explain the most common phrase for “Thank you”. Arigatou (gozai masu / mashita) The phrase was derived from “Arigatashi”, which literally means “difficult to be”. The Kanji in “ari” means “there is” or “be (there)”, and another in […]
Many of Japanese honorific titles in text are the same as ones in speech. However, “sama” or “dono” is much more often used in text, especially for address. Maybe it’s because a writer is in the distance. In a letter, use the same title as one in speech. When I write a letter to my […]
Large numbers in Japanese : Thousand to quadrillion From thousand to quadrillion, the common units you hear in everyday life in Japan including in the news. As I wrote in the previous post, for digits over ten, “4” is always read as “yon” and “9” as “kyuu”. “7” is generally “nana”. For bigger numbers than […]