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Localized Religious Specialists in Early Modern Japan: The Development of the Õyama Oshi System
Author Ambros, Barbara
Source Japanese Journal of Religious Studies
Volumev.28 n.3-4
Pages329 - 372
PublisherNanzan Institute for Religion and Culture=南山宗教文化研究所
Publisher Url
Location名古屋, 日本 [Nagoya, Japan]
Content type期刊論文=Journal Article
Keywordoshi; shugenja; Õyama; Buddhist-Shinto relations
AbstractThis paper discusses the emergence of oshi, lay religious specialists who contributed to the spread of regional pilgrimage cults in the Tokugawa period, by focusing on the example of Õyama, Sagami Province. Over the course of the seventeenth century, Õyama’s oshi developed gradually as successors of shugenja and shrine priests who had lost much of their authority to the Shingon temples on the mountain in the ³rst decade of the seventeenth century. In the second half of the seventeenth century the tradition of mountain asceticism largely disappeared from Õyama. The former mountain ascetics of Õyama needed new means of income, forcing them to run inns and develop parishes throughout the Kantõ region. These parishes, from which most of Õyama’s pilgrims came, became the single most important source of income for Õyama. The system spread from areas near Õyama across the entire Kantõ region. It was these oshi who sustained the bonds between arishioners and the mountain by making annual visits to their parishes and providing accommodations for pilgrims. Despite their conμict-laden genesis, the oshi were not in constant opposition to Õyama’s Shingon temples. They developed customary networks with temples to handle pilgrims and received licenses from the head Shingon temple of the mountain, Hachidai-bõ, which helped them to distinguish themselves from their competitors in neighboring villages. Another reason why the oshi did not voice a united opposition to the temples was that they were a fairly diverse group with different lineages and levels of wealth. Some oshi were in the employ of Hachidai-bõ and therefore shared the Shingon temples’ interests. It was only in the late Edo period that several wealthy oshi began to seek af³liation with external sources of authority such as the Shirakawa house and to engage in anti-Buddhist rhetoric culled from the nativist Hirata School. This led to friction between the Shingon temples and the oshi and provided the basis for the separation of Shinto and Buddhism in the early Meiji period.
ISSN03041042 (P)
Created date2013.01.10
Modified date2017.08.28

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