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!

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