國學院大學
國學院大學デジタルミュージアム

Encyclopedia of Shinto

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カテゴリー1 5. Rites and Festivals
カテゴリー2 Rituals in Okinawa and Amami
Title
Text Spiritual practitioners found in Amami and the main island of Okinawa. They can enter a state of possession during which they communicate with deities and spirits of the dead. In the process, they manifest distinctive spiritual powers and practice magic in the form of oracles (takusen), auguries (bokusen), and feats of healing. In general, women who become yuta are regarded as having been born temperamentally receptive to spiritual forces (saadaka); frequently, they are put on the path to becoming a yuta after experiencing some personal misfortune or an unusual event. Such an individual can enter the shamanic profession after receiving instruction from an established yuta while in an involuntary state of possession (kamidaarii). Yuta are characterized by the fact that they base their divinatory diagnoses on the way in which the client's ancestral spirits (sorei) are being venerated. The scope for abuses on the part of yuta has long been high since people rely on them quite heavily. Controls were imposed upon them by the royal government already by 1673, and they were suppressed by the authorities during the Second World War. The practice of yutagai (paying yuta for divination) continues to flourish despite the considerable economic burden it represents, standing in contrast to the relative decline of traditional religion in contemporary Okinawa.
— Saitō Michiko
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Yuta