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Wednesday, February 4, 2015
Oiwa Worship In Yotsuya (四谷岩子崇拜)
In Thailand, people would remember the story of Mae Nak (鬼妻) at Wat Mahabut in Bangkok.
However, in Japan, people would think of the tragic story of Oiwa. Both of the
stories have quite a different endings, the only similarity is that both of the
ghosts are worshipped to appease restless spirits.
The story of Oiwa and Tamiya lemon is one of the most famous
Japan ghost stories of all time. This is a story about murder and revenge. As
the story has it that Tamiya’s life wasn’t going very well so Oiwa became a
prostitute. But due to money matters, Tamiya wanted to marry a rich lady and he
subsequently poisoned Oiwa who has objected to Tamiya’s plan. It is said that
Oiwa is buried in Myogya-Ji (妙行寺)
in Sugama. After Oiwa’s death, she turned into an ‘onryo’ (vengeful ghost, 厉鬼) and that caused Tamiya to
commit suicide. Later Oiwa is worshipped in a shrine known as Oiwa Inari Tamiya
Jinja (於岩稲荷田宮神社) which is said to be built
to appease her restless spirits.
My friends told me that house wives are frequent visitors to
Oiwa shrine to make offerings of round white pebbles. These small round pebbles
should be thrown into a pool of water signifying Oiwa's acceptance of the
present. It is believed that by making offerings and praying to the spirits of
Oiwa, their husbands shall be devoid of affairs and hence maintain harmony
within a household.
Since Oiwa is a vengeful spirit, people who have visited the
shrine must wash their hands and faces and also consume some of the blessed waters
in the shrine. It is said that by doing so, not only the bad lucks would be washed
away, good lucks would also entails.
Another trick that would prevent the spirit of Oiwa or of
the Inari (fox spirits) from following a worshipper or visitor home is that one
should not return directly to his/her home. The person should take a detour and
then he/she must go to a crowded place such as a supermarket or at least stop
over a ramen stall to have a bowl of ramen first. It is also a good practice to
carry along a protective charm too.
According to my pals, Oiwa is a real thing and her story is
an all time favourite amongst horror movie producers. Many fatal accidents have
occurred prior or during the staging of the show.
Before this, I thought only the Chinese and Thai worships
ghosts but never thought the serious Japanese also have one of the kinds ‘ghost
shrine’ in Japan!