Walking in Yanonosho 3 (final story in the series) – “大避神社 (Osake Jinja)” shrine as the base for worship

Present view of Osake Jinja

It is one of the traditional scenes that can be observed in most parts of Japan that residents of the same community worship Shinto or Buddhist deities as the guardians of the area, and sometimes gather in shrines or temples to enjoy festivals.

The case is the same with Yanonosho. People still worship local gods in every village and community. In particular, 大避神社(Osake Jinja), which is located to the southwest of the junction of the present Yanogawa river and Ogogawa(小河川) river, has been worshiped by people as the guardian of the entire Yanonosho (Google Map).

Harimanokuni Yanonosho Shigefujimyo Jito Terada Norikane Yuzurijo web page
Item 8 of Box-SE(Hiragana)Buke Mikyojo narabini Tasshi “Harimanokuni Yanonosho Shigefujimyo Jito Terada Norikane Yuzurijo”, dated September 12, 1313

The document above is a deed of transfer from Terada Norikane(寺田範兼), the lord of the Shigefujimyo manor in Reimyo, a part of Yanonosho, to his son, Norinaga(範長), written in 1313. The first part of the text, which lists the items to be transferred, includes “矢野庄重藤名地頭職・田畠・山林・例名公文職 (Yanonosho Shigefujimyo Jito-shiki, Tahata, Sanrin, Reimyo Kumon-shiki) (lit. the position of Jito (local master of manor) for Shigefujimyo in Yanonosho, farm fields, mountains and forests therein, and the position of Reimyo Kumon)”, as well as “大僻宮別当・神主・祝師 (Osake-no-miya Betto, Kannushi, Hafurishi)”. This means that the Terada clan not only served as the local master of the land, but also exclusively took up positions at Osake Jinja, and organized rituals and religious ceremonies.

Shortly after that, the situation was changed substantially. As was mentioned in “35. Walking in Yanonosho 1 – Where was Toji’s estate located?” in the Stories behind the Hyakugo Archives, the Retired Emperor Go-Uda donated Shigefujimyo to the Toji temple, and hence domination by the Terada clan was denied. Although the Terada clan resorted to the use of force, they were defeated by Toji in two battles. The territories of the Terada clan were confiscated by Toji. Look at the document below. It says “寺敵寺田法然与党等”, which indicates that Toji regarded the Terada clan and their companions as an enemy of the temple, and granted their confiscated territories to the individuals who fought successfully in the batles.

Harimanokuni Yanonosho Reimyo Nishikata Arimitsu Myomyoshu-shiki-ate Okonaijo An web page
Item 17-2 of Box-MI(Hiragana) “Harimanokuni Yanonosho Reimyo Nishikata Arimitsu Myomyoshu-shiki-ate Okonaijo An”, dated October, 1323

Subsequently, the Terada clan also lost their positions in Osake Jinja. Toji replaced them and grasped the appointive power for positions in the shrine. Representatives at Toji may have intended to strengthen their domination over religious people by organizing rituals and religious ceremonies at Osake Jinja.

(Kaji, Historical Materials Section, the Kyoto Institute Library and Archives)