Encyclopedia of Shinto

Main Menu:    Foreword    ≫Guide to Usage   ≫ Contributors & Translators   
Links:    Images of Shinto: A Beginner's Pictorial Guide   

詳細表示 (Complete Article)

カテゴリー1 1. General Introduction
カテゴリー2 Religious and Intellectual Influences on Shinto
Text While being based on the Chinese theory of yinyang-wuxing (Yin-Yang and the "five phases of matter"), Onmyōdō was a unique Japanese adaptation that established itself around the tenth century.  Under the ritsuryō system of state civil and penal codes of classical times, duties of the officials of the Onmyōryō (Bureau of Divination) included onmyō (Yin-Yang divination), tenmon (astrology), koyomi (calendrical studies), and rōkoku (time keeping), but the term Onmyōdō was not used then as a general name for these areas of study.  If one ventured to use specific terms in description, one might say that while there existed onmyō theories (onmyō shisō) or the "study of onmyō" (onmyōgaku), the actual "Way of onmyō" (Onmyōdō) was only founded and spread by the Kamo and Abe families as a religion of magic from around the tenth century.  In this context, Onmyōdō should be considered as referring to a school of officials originating in the Onmyōryō who were in charge of conducting rituals and magic and the activities of that school.
     First among the social factors we find behind the establishment of Onmyōdō is the fact that the the Kamo and Abe families had come to hold hereditary claim to the leading positions of Onmyō no kami, Suke, and Hakase of the Bureau of Onmyōryō.  Second is the growth of private reliance on magical invocations (kitō) and personal religious faith among the nobility.  It is likewise possible to see Shrine Shintō as gradually taking shape out of the transformations that took place within the kami cults (jingi saishi) of the classical ritsuryō system.  It was not until the tenth century that shrines had permanent priests (shinshoku) who acted as the main ritualists in ceremonial worship.  We should probably see the foundations of Shrine Shintō as it continues to exist today as having been laid during that period.  That does not mean, however, that no relationship existed between Yin-Yang thought and kami cults before the tenth century, since it has been pointed out that Daoist thought may have influenced the Japanese view of the emperor, and that the "three seasonal festivals" (sansetsusai) observed at the Grand Shrines of Ise (Ise Jingū)—the Kannamesai and the semiannual Tsukinamisai ("monthly festivals") held in the sixth and twelfth months—were performed in accordance with principles of Yin-Yang and gogyō thought.  Considerable room for further study still remains.

The Development of Onmyōdō Rites
The Bureau of Onmyō was responsible for studying and reporting matters of divination, dates and time, and directional interdictions (hōki or kataimi).  Beginning in the Heian period, it was also charged with performing spirit pacification and thanksgiving rites at imperial mausolea, together with land purification rites.  Furthermore, with the rising reliance of noble society upon techniques and rituals based on Yin-Yang thought from the latter half of the ninth into the early tenth centuries, Onmyōryō officials were put in charge of performing the state rituals of Takayamasai, Goryūsai, and Raikōsai, which were meant as invocations of plentiful harvests of the five grains (gokoku kigan).
     From the tenth century, Onmyōdō ceremonies were introduced as rites of personal protection for the emperor, thus leading to the deep penetration of Onmyōdō rituals into noble society.  For example, records make frequent mention of such a diversity of rites as Shokujōsai, Kikisai, Takuchinsai, Raikōsai, Honmyōsai, Rōjinshōsai, Taizanfukunsai, Niwabi narabi Hirano kamado no kami sai, Sangensai, Ta-ichishikisai, Zansōsai, Sanhō goteisai, Kasasai, Taisaisai, Kaijakusai, Daiyakusai, Keikokushōsai, Shōkonsai, and Dokūsai.  These were all either rites directed toward celestial bodies as invocations of happiness and longevity, or rituals meant to ward off calamity and disease.  There existed among the rituals to kami performed by Jingikan officialsunder the ritsuryō system some rites that contained elements of Chinese Yin-Yang thought.  The Engishiki lists regular seasonal rites such as Chinkasai, Fūjinsai, Ōharae and Michiaesai, as well as extraordinary rites such as Kantoki no kamisai, Chinjingūjisai, Rajō no miagamono, Kyūjō shigu ekijinsai, Kinai no sakai no jusho ekijinsai, Bankaku wo sakai ni okurukamisai, and Shōjinsai.  These rites of Chinese origin made use of animal skins and shared characteristics in common with Onmyōdō rites.  As Onmyōdō rituals penetrated noble society, in some cases rites originally observed as part of the kami cult were replaced by Onmyōdō rituals.  One example is the ritual of Shikaku shikyōsai (a rite held Kyoto's four bordering roads to exorcize epidemic kami and evil spirits) performed by officials of the Onmyōdō that in the tenth century came to replace the earlier Ekijinsai (festival to exorcize epidemic kami), which was part of the kami cult, and assume importance as a state rite
     The spread of Onmyōdō rites, however, did not occur due to state sponsorship, but rather is thought to have been the result of its growing popularity among the nobility and the common people who used Onmyōdō as privately sponsored rites and personal magic to invite blessings and avoid misfortune.  Even the Nakatomi no harae, compiled by the head of the Jingikan in the mid-ninth century, was borrowed by Onmyō practitioners from the eleventh century and adapted for use in rites of purification (harae) with an Onmyōdō flavor, such as the Nanase no harae, and the Rokujikarinhō.  It is said that private rituals spells (kitō) performed by Onmyō practitioners were adopted in the late eleventh century by the rapidly expanding class of gon-negi (Provisional Supplicant) priests at the Grand Shrines of Ise, thus leading to the birth of the unique style of purification rites found there.

Medieval Shintō Theories and Onmyōdō
The Nakatomi no harae kunge of Ryōbu Shintō, which came into being in the Kamakura period, describes the practice of "taking refuge in" (kie) and performing the gesture of gasshō to the sun and moon, the five planets, the twelve divine generals, and twenty-eight celestial houses.  It suggests that the ancient kami Ibukidonushi (see Harae-do no kami) was an acolyte of the Chinese deity Taizan Fukun (see Sekizan Myōjin).  In Ruiju jingi hongen, the paradigmatic work of Ise Shintō, the author Watarai Ieyuki's reproduces Zhou Dunyi's taijitu (Jp. taikyokuzu) and hetu (Jp. kato) (the original form of the geomantic bagua [Jp. hake] diagram), and guayinfengjixiangpei, using these to expound the theory of Yin-Yang and Five Phases of Matter (in'yō gogyō) in the context of a description of the creation of heaven and earth.  While criticizing Ryōbu Shintō and the Buddhistic theory of honji suijaku, Yoshida Kanetomo, founder of Yoshida Shintō, utilizes a knowledge of Onmyōdō to proclaim his vision of Yuiitsu Shintō ("Singular Shintō" or "Only-One Shintō").  In his Yuiitsu Shintō myōbō yōshū, Yoshida claims that the three kami sūtras Tengen jinpen shinmyōkyō, Chigen jintsū shinmyōkyō and Jingen jinryoku shinmyōkyō were pronouncements by the kami Amenokoyane, and that they were transmitted to earth by Hokutoshichigenseishukushinkun, the apotheosis of the divine constellation Hokuto Shichisei (the seven stars of the Big Dipper) who descended from heaven.
     In Shintō taii, Yoshida Kanetomo associated the seven openings of the head with the "seven stars" of heaven, and the five internal organs with the five phases of matter on earth (gogyō), frequently adopting Onmyōdō theory as he explicated the cosmology of Yoshida Shintō.  The Yoshida family experienced a remarkable rise in the Shintō world from the Sengoku period (1477-1568), while within Onmyōdō the Kamo family died out during those decades and the Tsuchimikado, who carried on the lineage of the Abe family, would take on concurrent responsibility for calendrical studies (rekidō) and astronomy/astrology (tenmondō).  In the Edo Period, after the Yoshida family gained bakufu recognition of its control over the appointment of the Shintō priestly offices of negi and kannushi, the Tsuchimikado family was granted bakufu recognition of their authority over Onmyōdo practitioners.  This led to a clear separation in the statuses of Shintō priests (shinshoku) and Onmyōdō practitioners (Onmyōji).  However, when it came to practices there were many that both took up as their official duties such as bokusen (plastromancy; tortoise-shell divination), kitō (thaumaturgic spells and incantations), and harae (rites of purification), with the result that disputes now flared up on occasion between the two.  After Tsuchimikado Yasutomi adopted Yamazaki Ansai's theory of "Confucian Shintō" (Juka Shintō) and founded his own school of Tensha Shintō (see Tsuchimikado Shintō), the range of activities that Shintō priests and Onmyōji practiced in common only increased.  The Tsuchimikado family's control over Onmyōdō practitioners for all practical purposes collapsed as a result of the 1868 ordinance implanting the separation of Shintō and Buddhism (Shinbutsu bunri) and the Daijōkan declaration of 1870 that proscribed the family's Tensha Shintō.  In many cases, Onmyōdō practitioners switched their allegiance to sectarian Shintō groups (see kyōha Shintō ).  Elements of Onmyōdō may still be found mixed in modern Shrine Shintō, and Onmyōdō elements current within folk religious practice were also absorbed by Shintō-derived new religions, among others.  In sum, Onmyōdō elements have been diffused and incorporated within Shintō in the modern period.
— Hayashi Makoto