Due south: Konpira Shrine in Kagawa – Part 2 –
Konpira in Kagawa (2)
Konpira-inu (Konpira dog) in Konpira Shrine
Beside a copper torii near “mimaya” (stable for “shinme”. See this post), there is a statue of “Konpira-inu”.
I mentioned a little bit about Konpira-inu in my dog post.
In the Edo era, it was hard for common people to travel from the east of Japan including Edo (present Tokyo) to shrines or temples in the west like Konpira in Sanuki (present Kagawa).
So, it was not unusual that an experienced traveler was asked to visit the shrine / temple for somebody else.
Sometimes, people gave up their travel on the way to the destination and asked another traveler to accomplish the visit for them, handing their money for the trip and an offering.
This “substitution” was called “daisan” (substitute visit).
The famous example of “daisan” to Konpira was “Mori no Ishimatsu”.
He is said to have visited the shrine instead of his boss, “Shimizu no Jirochou”.
Both of them are very famous and popular in Japan, “Jirochou” was the biggest leader of good old-fashioned “yakuza” (Japanese mafia) in the east area.
It was not only a human who played this “daisan” role, but also a dog.
The master of the dog asked a traveler to take his dog to the shrine / temple.
If the traveler’s destination was different or couldn’t carry on his trip, he would hand the dog to another person.
The dog had a bag around its neck, and the words “Konpira mairi” (Konpira visit) was written on the bag.
In the bag, there were a wooden tag with its master’s name, money for food and offering, etc.
The dog which did “daisan” to Konpira was called “Konpira inu” (Konpira dog).
– About “sekisho” –
In the Edo era, there were 53 checkpoints called “sekisho” on major roads throughout Japan.
It was forbidden for common people to go out of the domain they belonged to without “tsuukou tegata” (a permit).
If they crossed the border without the permit or took another route where no sekisho was placed – this kind of act was called “sekisho yaburi” (sekisho break), they are supposed to get a death penalty.
The permit was not easy to get, but if they wanted to visit shrines or temples, it was usually allowed.
There were some who were executed because of “sekisho yaburi”, but not so many.
This doesn’t mean people followed the rule.
Actually, I’ve read that a lot of people went in and out freely and officers just closed their eyes.
Even at sekishos in Hakone which were on high alert, there were guides for alternative routes.
According to the website of “Hakone sekisho”, it was possible for a man to go through “sekisho” without a permit beforehand.
He had got to be inspected thoroughly on the spot instead.
So, most of men had a permit to save their time and to prevent the possibilities they would be rejected after the inspection.
It was rather simple to get a permit for men – they often paid money to a master of their inn to write it.
However, it was not the same for women.
They had got to have a permit, because they could be run-away wives of “daimyou” (territorial lords).
The government forced them to stay in Edo as hostages to avoid rebellions from daimyou.
So, women who tried to go out of Edo were fully inspected.
Also, people bringing guns into Edo needed a special permit for security reasons.
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