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Sai no Kawara, the Limbo for Children

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  • Gabi Greve
    。 A friend has asked about Sai no Kawara, the limbo for children in the underworld. Here are some explanations. This is a rather long story, so take
    Message 1 of 5 , Oct 14, 2004

      A friend has asked about Sai no Kawara, the limbo for children in the
      underworld.
      Here are some explanations.
      This is a rather long story, so take your time.


      Buddhist mythology

      According to legend attributed to the Jodo Sect around the 14th or
      15th century, children who die prematurely are sent to the underworld
      as punishment for causing great sorrow to their parents. They are
      sent to Sai no Kawara, the river of souls in purgatory, where they
      pray for Buddha's compassion by building small stone towers, piling
      stone upon stone. But underworld demons, answering to the command of
      the old hag Shozuka no Baba, soon arrive and scatter their stones and
      beat them with iron clubs. But, no need to worry, for Jizo comes to
      the rescue to protect the children. In one version of the story, Jizo
      hides the children in the sleeves of his robe.
      http://www.onmarkproductions.com/html/jizo1.shtml


      In Shinto mythology
      the story goes that between life and death there flows a river. This
      river is called Sai no Kawara (translated it means Sai [Childrens
      Limbo; Limbo means a region on the border of hell or heaven, serving
      as the abode after death of unbaptized infants.] Kawara [riverside].
      According to Shinto belief, children do not go to heaven or hell, but
      the souls of the dead babies play on the banks of this river, Sai no
      Kawara. And one of the things they have to do as their Duty
      (penance) there, is to stack up pebbles, and build little towers.
      However, while doing so, a naughty, horrible devil usually appears
      who disturbs their playing, breaks their towers up, and scares them.
      And, it is here where the long sleeves of Jizos robe comes in handy.
      Because Jizo is the god who protects children, and he does not fail
      to protect them there on the banks of the Sai no Kawara. So when
      scared by this devil, they all jump into the sleeve of Jizos robe,
      where they hide and feel safe and warm. It is said that in the old
      days, some of the Jizo statues were covered in pebbles from people
      who stacked the pebbles in front of the Jizo, because it is believed,
      that for every tower of pebbles you build on earth, you help the
      souls of the dead children to perform their duty there on the Sai no
      Kawara.
      http://www.aosara.com/articles/jizo.htm


      There are many areas all over Japan with this name, where the
      grieving parents can go to try and pacify the sould of the lost child
      as well as their own. Let me tell you about some of the more famous
      ones, most of them I visited myself.

      The Sai no Kawara at Mt. Osorezan
      in Northern Japan is maybe the most famous of all these places
      throughout Japan.

      Osorezan, Mountain of the dead
      Quote
      Mt. Osore, located in Mutsu and two neighboring towns in Aomori
      Prefecture, is regarded as a sacred mountain. The smell of sulfur
      hangs in the air, and it is dotted with small cairns of stones
      erected by pilgrims at places called <>Sai no Kawara<> , Buddhist
      rivers believed to be home to the souls of deceased children. Atop
      the piles of stones, pinwheels, left by parents praying for the
      transmigration of their departed children's souls, chatter in the
      wind. It has long been believed in the Shimokita region of the
      prefecture, that the souls of the dead congregate on Mt. Osore, or
      Osorezan. Every year, during the grand festival of Osorezan Taisai,
      held July 22-24, people climb the mountain to "talk" with the souls
      of the dead through itako, female shamans who act as mediums.
      < picture >
      http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/visions/img/vj037.jpg


      The female Itako Shamans of Osorezan
      are a phenomen in themselves, I will take that up elsewhere. I have
      even had one of these shamans call up my dead father from Germany and
      get his advise, all in almost non-understandable dialect of Tsugaru.
      They play an important role in connecting the dead with their
      grieving relatives.

      Here are some more pictures from Osorezan
      http://hirano.us/toru/sai/osorezan.html

      This link takes a while, but it has impressive photos and some
      English about Osorezan.
      http://degulab.cs.dis.titech.ac.jp/museum/osorezan.html

      Pictures from the great Shaman Festival at Osorezan
      http://www.geocities.co.jp/SilkRoad-Oasis/9236/ghost/tr0207.html

      English page
      http://jpatokal.iki.fi/photo/travel/Japan/Tohoku/Osorezan/


      Hotoke-ga-ura
      This is the most western part of the Osorezan Buddhist world, from
      here the souls take off directly to the Paradise in the West. The
      rough mountains look like Buddhastatues and a huge area is reserved
      for the dead children.
      http://www6.ocn.ne.jp/~abowind/photo/photogallery1/001_640.jpg
      http://www.net.pref.aomori.jp/sai/image62.jpg
      http://sozainomori.posca.jp/card_img/3847/9064.jpg
      Sunset
      http://www.yadokame.net/n047.html

      xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

      Here is a great list of all these Sai no Kawara areas throughout
      Japan.
      It says that this word is not mentioned in the Buddhist scriptures,
      but has been in the folk belief of Japan long before the advent of
      Buddhism.
      http://hirano.us/toru/sai/index2.html

      Let me introduce some of this list:

      Island Okushiri in Hokkaido
      http://hirano.us/toru/sai/okusiri.html

      Shakotan Peninsula in Hokkaido
      http://hirano.us/toru/sai/syakotan.html

      Mount Esan in Hokkaido
      http://hirano.us/toru/sai/esan.html
      http://www.hiyama.or.jp/soul/sai-2/default.htm

      Imaizumi in Aomori
      http://hirano.us/toru/sai/imaizumi.html

      Moriyama in Aomori
      http://hirano.us/toru/sai/moriyama.html

      Kesamaruyama in Gunma Prefectuer
      http://hirano.us/toru/sai/kesamaruyama.html

      Kusatsu Hot Spring in Gunma
      http://hirano.us/toru/sai/kusatu.html


      Island of Sado, Niigata Prefecture
      This one is on the beach of the sea, one of the typical locations of
      it.
      <picture>
      http://hirano.us/toru/images/sai/sado2.jpg
      http://hirano.us/toru/sai/sado.html
      More pictures, take your time.
      http://www41.tok2.com/home/kanihei5/sadosainokawara.html
      <> Jizo the protector of the children
      http://www41.tok2.com/home/kanihei5/sadosainokawara14.jpeg


      Temple Koozen-ji in Nagano Prefecture
      http://hirano.us/toru/sai/kozenji.html

      Tatami-ga-ura, Iwami, Shimane Prefecture
      http://www.sanjo.co.jp/yamane/tatami.html
      http://kyushu.yomiuri.co.jp/pre-spe/sfuruten/sfu9905/fu990520.htm

      Mt. Daisen, The Big Mountain, in Tottori Prefecture
      http://www.page.sannet.ne.jp/katsu-imamura/daisenaki030.html
      http://www.page.sannet.ne.jp/katsu-imamura/daisenaki029.jpg
      http://www.town.daisen.tottori.jp/photolib/P00592.jpg
      http://www.town.daisen.tottori.jp/photolib/P00594.jpg

      More pictures about this most holy mountain of Western Japan.
      http://www.page.sannet.ne.jp/katsu-imamura/daisen2.html


      Mt. Iwaki san in Aomori
      There is a special festival for the dead children during August
      23/24, Iwaki Sai no Kawara Daisai.
      <pictures>
      http://www.mutusinpou.co.jp/pic/04082408_s.jpg
      http://www1.ocn.ne.jp/~isk/ivent/saino_taisai1.jpg

      I have been there myself, half way up the mountain beside the small
      shrine are mountains of tennis shoes, sweets, windwheels and piled-up
      pebbles. Old people would not hesitate to take the steep climb from
      the cable car to the top of the mountain to pray for the eternal rest
      of the souls. It is a very moving sight to see all these people climb
      through mist and strong wind towart the top of stony Mt. Iwaki.
      It is one of the many mysterious festivals in Aomori.
      http://www.mutusinpou.co.jp/news/04082408.html
      http://www.thr.mlit.go.jp/aomori/mitimiti/mitimiti8/8-6.html

      xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

      Now back to Northern Japan, where most of the Sai no Kawara are
      located.
      Here is another famous one, which I had a chance to visit many years
      ago.

      Kawakura in Aomori Prefecture
      Within the temple compounds are many items for the dead, like warm
      coats for winter and tennis shoes. Someone even offered a bicycle for
      the dead child.

      As you can see on the picture
      http://hirano.us/toru/images/sai/kawakura1.jpg
      it looks like the shop of an old cloths and dolls dealer. These are
      all offerings.
      http://hirano.us/toru/sai/kawakura.html
      http://www.ne.jp/asahi/sp/a/n1.html
      < pictures >
      http://www.h3.dion.ne.jp/~nanchan/tugaru3.jpg
      http://www.h3.dion.ne.jp/~nanchan/tugaru2.jpg
      http://www.kanagi.jp/kanko/k_data/img/jizouson03.jpg

      At this temple, I saw these kind of dolls, have a look.
      http://www.ne.jp/asahi/sp/a/ni1/ng8.jpg
      http://www.sukima.com/12_touhoku00_01/05keikou_05.jpg


      <> They are Wedding Dolls for the Dead. <>

      Let me tell you an amazing story.
      At Kawakura and at some other temples in Northern Japan, mostly in
      Tsugaru, I found these dolls, sold for about 100 Dollars or more,
      sometimes only one bride or one groom. Asking the priest about these
      rows of doll showcases in a special hall, he told me it was mostly
      for young people who died during an accident or an illness.

      When the dead children would come of age around 20, their grieving
      parents, mostly after consulting with an itako Shaman, would by such
      a doll for their dead child to be married in the neather world. The
      shaman would then tell the parents at the next session that their
      child is now happy there and this will relief the grief of the
      parents.

      I have also seen these wedding doll cases with a little baby added
      (when the couple in the netherworld announced this happy event
      through the help of the shaman a year after the virtual wedding !)

      You can read this story (if you read German) here:
      http://homepage.univie.ac.at/bernhard.scheid/rel_vo/ikon/jizo.htm


      On the bottom of the following page, you can see some of the
      corridors filled whith Wedding dolls.
      http://www.ne.jp/asahi/sp/a/n1.html
      http://www.sukima.com/12_touhoku00_01/05keikou.htm

      xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

      Writing about Sai no Kawara so far brings to memory another story
      about the red bibs of Jizo statues which I heared from a priest in
      Kamakura, but for an introductuion read this first:

      Kokeshi and Infanticide in Japan

      First read this story about weeding out unwanted children:

      "Few Japanese people have any notion of where kokeshi came from or
      what they might originally have been used for, nor have they given
      the matter much thought. Partly this is because, like nebuta, th word
      kokeshi is usually written not with ideograms but in the purely
      phonetic syllabary called hiragana, so it is difficult to deduce an
      ethymology. Ko, for instance, might mean "small" and keshi might
      mean "poppy", in which case the curators of Japan's doll museums
      would all be bouncing with joy. But it strikes me as more likely that
      the word is an amalgam of a different ko, meaning "child", and kesu,
      meaning "get rid of", and that these cute, tender-faced little dolls,
      made from simple pieces of wood, a sphere for the head and a cylinder
      for the body, may in origin have been fetish substitutes for children
      murdered at birth.

      Infanticide was not an uncommon practice in rural Japan during the
      feudal period and it survived here and there into quite recent times.
      The American historian Thomas C. Smith suggest that, in the
      eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries at least, it was practised
      in Japan "less as a desperate act in the face of poverty than as a
      form of family planning." In the towns, abortion was the commonest
      form of family planning (and, as the Japanese government persists to
      this day in refusing to permit the sale of oral contraceptives, it
      remains widely and lucratively practised). But in rural areas, though
      officially prohibited by most clan governments, infanticide was the
      preferred choice. Moral questions aside, the killing of newborn
      babies rather than fetuses has the practical advantage of allowing a
      family-or a village- to exert a precise control over the ratio of the
      sexes, and it appears that, unlike in China and some parts of Asia,
      the horror was not directed wholly, or even mainly, against female
      babies, but was used coolly and even-handedly to construct a gender
      balance that would ensure the continuance and stability of the group.

      According to Mrs. Suzuki Fumi, born in 1898 in Ibaragi prefecture,
      not far north of Tokyo, and recorded on tape by the local doctor for
      a book of reminiscences called Memories of Silk and
      Straw, " 'thinning out' babies was pretty common" even at the time of
      her own birth. "It was considered bad luck to have twins", she
      explains, "so you got rid of one before your neighbours found out.
      Deformed babies were also bumped off. And if you wanted a boy but the
      baby was a girl, you'd make it 'a day visitor.' " The murder was
      often entrusted to the midwife. "Killing off a newborn baby was a
      simple enough business", Mrs. Suzuki remembers. "You just moistened a
      piece of paper with spittle and put it over the baby's nose and
      mouth; in no time at all it would stop breathing." But there were
      alternative methods, and another of Dr. Saga's informants, Mrs.
      Terakako Tai, born in 1899, describes two of them. One was "to press
      on their chest with your knee."

      Another was called usugoro (mortar killing), in which the murderer
      was usually the mother herself: "The woman went alone into one of the
      buildings outside and had the baby lying on a straw mat. She wrapped
      the thing in two straw sacks lids, tied it up with rope and laid it
      on the mat. She then rolled a heavy wooden mortar over it. When the
      baby was dead, she took it outside and buried it herself. And the
      nest day she was expected to be up at the crack of dawn as usual,
      doing the housework and helping in the fields...."


      Note that Kokeshi dolls have no arms or legs. So Booth continues :

      "The absence of limbs might be disquieting, I suppose, if you had
      made the possible connection between kokeshi and child murder and had
      read Mrs. Suzuki's account of a midwife's attempt to quicken death by
      wrapping an infant tightly in rags so that its arms were bounds
      invisibly to its sides, or if you knew that one of the traditional
      attributes of Japanese ghosts is that they have no feet."
      http://www.jref.com/forum/archive/index.php/t-1365.html


      Young babies just after birth have not had time yet to commit any
      crime, apart from the crime of bringing sorrow to their parents. So
      they have to hang out in limbo for a while.
      For how long, you might ask? For as long as the mother is weeping in
      sorrow for them.

      In the Edo period and certainly in earlier times too, every hand in
      the poor farmers home was needed for work and a mother just could not
      afford to be struck with grief long after the birth (and possible
      death or killing) of her baby. So after seven days she would get a
      kokeshi as memento for the baby, put a red bib on the statue of a
      Jizo in her neighbourhood temple and try to forget it all. The red
      bib would still carry the smell of the dead child and Jizo could use
      this smell to identify the baby when he made his way to the local Sai
      no Kawara to help the child out of limbo and into the Paradise of the
      West. That is why Jizo statues are sometimes covered up with red bibs
      of lost children.

      xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

      Just by chance a store to buy kokeshi online.
      http://www.japanese-doll.biz/item/kokeshi-doll_23.html

      You might have guessed, they also sell DARUMA DOLLS.
      http://www.japanese-doll.biz/item/auspicious-doll_19.html

      And for a change, they also sell Jizoo Dolls.
      This handmade pottery Jizoo is quite popular in Japan.
      http://www.japanese-doll.biz/db_img/1090566259up.jpg
      http://www.japanese-doll.biz/item/auspicious-doll_18.html

      Well, that is a long story and all is not yet told.

      Greetings from Mysterious Japan
      Gabi san
    • mag3x3
      Dear Gabi: Thank you so much for posting this enlightening and so deeply researched article. The illustrations surpassed any possible expectations. As a
      Message 2 of 5 , Oct 16, 2004
        Dear Gabi:

        Thank you so much for posting this enlightening and so deeply
        researched article. The illustrations surpassed any possible
        expectations.

        As a shaman, trained in the North American Indian Tradition, and
        mainly by the Michael Harner Foundation of Shamanic Studies,

        http://www.shamanism.org/

        your information on shamanism in Japan was invaluable to me. I was
        glad to learn that a shamanic tradition is alive and well in one more
        country. My particular talents and abilities lie in the area of
        freeing trapped or blocked energies, entities, stpirit - whatever
        you want to call them - and
        opening up the way for them to take the next step in the evolutionary
        journey. I have however never encountered a child's energy on the
        other side myself. Od course in a group "sweep" of a mass disaster
        site ( such as a plane crash for instance) sometimes no individual
        "beeps" are distinguished for a significant encounter.

        I will take the journey through your post again, perhaps several
        times, Gabi.

        Mitak - oh - yasin ( for all your relations)

        Izabel







        --- In Darumasan-Japan@yahoogroups.com, "Gabi Greve" <gokuraku@p...>
        wrote:
        >
        >
        > A friend has asked about Sai no Kawara, the limbo for children in
        the
        > underworld.
        > Here are some explanations.
        > This is a rather long story, so take your time.
        >
        >
        > Buddhist mythology
        >
        > According to legend attributed to the Jodo Sect around the 14th or
        > 15th century, children who die prematurely are sent to the
        underworld
        > as punishment for causing great sorrow to their parents. They are
        > sent to Sai no Kawara, the river of souls in purgatory, where they
        > pray for Buddha's compassion by building small stone towers, piling
        > stone upon stone. But underworld demons, answering to the command
        of
        > the old hag Shozuka no Baba, soon arrive and scatter their stones
        and
        > beat them with iron clubs. But, no need to worry, for Jizo comes to
        > the rescue to protect the children. In one version of the story,
        Jizo
        > hides the children in the sleeves of his robe.
        > http://www.onmarkproductions.com/html/jizo1.shtml
        >
        >
        > In Shinto mythology
        > the story goes that between life and death there flows a river.
        This
        > river is called Sai no Kawara (translated it means Sai [Childrens
        > Limbo; Limbo means a region on the border of hell or heaven,
        serving
        > as the abode after death of unbaptized infants.] Kawara
        [riverside].
        > According to Shinto belief, children do not go to heaven or hell,
        but
        > the souls of the dead babies play on the banks of this river, Sai
        no
        > Kawara. And one of the things they have to do as their Duty
        > (penance) there, is to stack up pebbles, and build little towers.
        > However, while doing so, a naughty, horrible devil usually appears
        > who disturbs their playing, breaks their towers up, and scares
        them.
        > And, it is here where the long sleeves of Jizos robe comes in
        handy.
        > Because Jizo is the god who protects children, and he does not fail
        > to protect them there on the banks of the Sai no Kawara. So when
        > scared by this devil, they all jump into the sleeve of Jizos robe,
        > where they hide and feel safe and warm. It is said that in the old
        > days, some of the Jizo statues were covered in pebbles from people
        > who stacked the pebbles in front of the Jizo, because it is
        believed,
        > that for every tower of pebbles you build on earth, you help the
        > souls of the dead children to perform their duty there on the Sai
        no
        > Kawara.
        > http://www.aosara.com/articles/jizo.htm
        >
        >
        > There are many areas all over Japan with this name, where the
        > grieving parents can go to try and pacify the sould of the lost
        child
        > as well as their own. Let me tell you about some of the more famous
        > ones, most of them I visited myself.
        >
        > The Sai no Kawara at Mt. Osorezan
        > in Northern Japan is maybe the most famous of all these places
        > throughout Japan.
        >
        > Osorezan, Mountain of the dead
        > Quote
        > Mt. Osore, located in Mutsu and two neighboring towns in Aomori
        > Prefecture, is regarded as a sacred mountain. The smell of sulfur
        > hangs in the air, and it is dotted with small cairns of stones
        > erected by pilgrims at places called <>Sai no Kawara<> , Buddhist
        > rivers believed to be home to the souls of deceased children. Atop
        > the piles of stones, pinwheels, left by parents praying for the
        > transmigration of their departed children's souls, chatter in the
        > wind. It has long been believed in the Shimokita region of the
        > prefecture, that the souls of the dead congregate on Mt. Osore, or
        > Osorezan. Every year, during the grand festival of Osorezan Taisai,
        > held July 22-24, people climb the mountain to "talk" with the souls
        > of the dead through itako, female shamans who act as mediums.
        > < picture >
        > http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/visions/img/vj037.jpg
        >
        >
        > The female Itako Shamans of Osorezan
        > are a phenomen in themselves, I will take that up elsewhere. I have
        > even had one of these shamans call up my dead father from Germany
        and
        > get his advise, all in almost non-understandable dialect of
        Tsugaru.
        > They play an important role in connecting the dead with their
        > grieving relatives.
        >
        > Here are some more pictures from Osorezan
        > http://hirano.us/toru/sai/osorezan.html
        >
        > This link takes a while, but it has impressive photos and some
        > English about Osorezan.
        > http://degulab.cs.dis.titech.ac.jp/museum/osorezan.html
        >
        > Pictures from the great Shaman Festival at Osorezan
        > http://www.geocities.co.jp/SilkRoad-Oasis/9236/ghost/tr0207.html
        >
        > English page
        > http://jpatokal.iki.fi/photo/travel/Japan/Tohoku/Osorezan/
        >
        >
        > Hotoke-ga-ura
        > This is the most western part of the Osorezan Buddhist world, from
        > here the souls take off directly to the Paradise in the West. The
        > rough mountains look like Buddhastatues and a huge area is reserved
        > for the dead children.
        > http://www6.ocn.ne.jp/~abowind/photo/photogallery1/001_640.jpg
        > http://www.net.pref.aomori.jp/sai/image62.jpg
        > http://sozainomori.posca.jp/card_img/3847/9064.jpg
        > Sunset
        > http://www.yadokame.net/n047.html
        >
        > xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
        >
        > Here is a great list of all these Sai no Kawara areas throughout
        > Japan.
        > It says that this word is not mentioned in the Buddhist scriptures,
        > but has been in the folk belief of Japan long before the advent of
        > Buddhism.
        > http://hirano.us/toru/sai/index2.html
        >
        > Let me introduce some of this list:
        >
        > Island Okushiri in Hokkaido
        > http://hirano.us/toru/sai/okusiri.html
        >
        > Shakotan Peninsula in Hokkaido
        > http://hirano.us/toru/sai/syakotan.html
        >
        > Mount Esan in Hokkaido
        > http://hirano.us/toru/sai/esan.html
        > http://www.hiyama.or.jp/soul/sai-2/default.htm
        >
        > Imaizumi in Aomori
        > http://hirano.us/toru/sai/imaizumi.html
        >
        > Moriyama in Aomori
        > http://hirano.us/toru/sai/moriyama.html
        >
        > Kesamaruyama in Gunma Prefectuer
        > http://hirano.us/toru/sai/kesamaruyama.html
        >
        > Kusatsu Hot Spring in Gunma
        > http://hirano.us/toru/sai/kusatu.html
        >
        >
        > Island of Sado, Niigata Prefecture
        > This one is on the beach of the sea, one of the typical locations
        of
        > it.
        > <picture>
        > http://hirano.us/toru/images/sai/sado2.jpg
        > http://hirano.us/toru/sai/sado.html
        > More pictures, take your time.
        > http://www41.tok2.com/home/kanihei5/sadosainokawara.html
        > <> Jizo the protector of the children
        > http://www41.tok2.com/home/kanihei5/sadosainokawara14.jpeg
        >
        >
        > Temple Koozen-ji in Nagano Prefecture
        > http://hirano.us/toru/sai/kozenji.html
        >
        > Tatami-ga-ura, Iwami, Shimane Prefecture
        > http://www.sanjo.co.jp/yamane/tatami.html
        > http://kyushu.yomiuri.co.jp/pre-spe/sfuruten/sfu9905/fu990520.htm
        >
        > Mt. Daisen, The Big Mountain, in Tottori Prefecture
        > http://www.page.sannet.ne.jp/katsu-imamura/daisenaki030.html
        > http://www.page.sannet.ne.jp/katsu-imamura/daisenaki029.jpg
        > http://www.town.daisen.tottori.jp/photolib/P00592.jpg
        > http://www.town.daisen.tottori.jp/photolib/P00594.jpg
        >
        > More pictures about this most holy mountain of Western Japan.
        > http://www.page.sannet.ne.jp/katsu-imamura/daisen2.html
        >
        >
        > Mt. Iwaki san in Aomori
        > There is a special festival for the dead children during August
        > 23/24, Iwaki Sai no Kawara Daisai.
        > <pictures>
        > http://www.mutusinpou.co.jp/pic/04082408_s.jpg
        > http://www1.ocn.ne.jp/~isk/ivent/saino_taisai1.jpg
        >
        > I have been there myself, half way up the mountain beside the small
        > shrine are mountains of tennis shoes, sweets, windwheels and piled-
        up
        > pebbles. Old people would not hesitate to take the steep climb from
        > the cable car to the top of the mountain to pray for the eternal
        rest
        > of the souls. It is a very moving sight to see all these people
        climb
        > through mist and strong wind towart the top of stony Mt. Iwaki.
        > It is one of the many mysterious festivals in Aomori.
        > http://www.mutusinpou.co.jp/news/04082408.html
        > http://www.thr.mlit.go.jp/aomori/mitimiti/mitimiti8/8-6.html
        >
        > xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
        >
        > Now back to Northern Japan, where most of the Sai no Kawara are
        > located.
        > Here is another famous one, which I had a chance to visit many
        years
        > ago.
        >
        > Kawakura in Aomori Prefecture
        > Within the temple compounds are many items for the dead, like warm
        > coats for winter and tennis shoes. Someone even offered a bicycle
        for
        > the dead child.
        >
        > As you can see on the picture
        > http://hirano.us/toru/images/sai/kawakura1.jpg
        > it looks like the shop of an old cloths and dolls dealer. These are
        > all offerings.
        > http://hirano.us/toru/sai/kawakura.html
        > http://www.ne.jp/asahi/sp/a/n1.html
        > < pictures >
        > http://www.h3.dion.ne.jp/~nanchan/tugaru3.jpg
        > http://www.h3.dion.ne.jp/~nanchan/tugaru2.jpg
        > http://www.kanagi.jp/kanko/k_data/img/jizouson03.jpg
        >
        > At this temple, I saw these kind of dolls, have a look.
        > http://www.ne.jp/asahi/sp/a/ni1/ng8.jpg
        > http://www.sukima.com/12_touhoku00_01/05keikou_05.jpg
        >
        >
        > <> They are Wedding Dolls for the Dead. <>
        >
        > Let me tell you an amazing story.
        > At Kawakura and at some other temples in Northern Japan, mostly in
        > Tsugaru, I found these dolls, sold for about 100 Dollars or more,
        > sometimes only one bride or one groom. Asking the priest about
        these
        > rows of doll showcases in a special hall, he told me it was mostly
        > for young people who died during an accident or an illness.
        >
        > When the dead children would come of age around 20, their grieving
        > parents, mostly after consulting with an itako Shaman, would by
        such
        > a doll for their dead child to be married in the neather world. The
        > shaman would then tell the parents at the next session that their
        > child is now happy there and this will relief the grief of the
        > parents.
        >
        > I have also seen these wedding doll cases with a little baby added
        > (when the couple in the netherworld announced this happy event
        > through the help of the shaman a year after the virtual wedding !)
        >
        > You can read this story (if you read German) here:
        > http://homepage.univie.ac.at/bernhard.scheid/rel_vo/ikon/jizo.htm
        >
        >
        > On the bottom of the following page, you can see some of the
        > corridors filled whith Wedding dolls.
        > http://www.ne.jp/asahi/sp/a/n1.html
        > http://www.sukima.com/12_touhoku00_01/05keikou.htm
        >
        > xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
        >
        > Writing about Sai no Kawara so far brings to memory another story
        > about the red bibs of Jizo statues which I heared from a priest in
        > Kamakura, but for an introductuion read this first:
        >
        > Kokeshi and Infanticide in Japan
        >
        > First read this story about weeding out unwanted children:
        >
        > "Few Japanese people have any notion of where kokeshi came from or
        > what they might originally have been used for, nor have they given
        > the matter much thought. Partly this is because, like nebuta, th
        word
        > kokeshi is usually written not with ideograms but in the purely
        > phonetic syllabary called hiragana, so it is difficult to deduce an
        > ethymology. Ko, for instance, might mean "small" and keshi might
        > mean "poppy", in which case the curators of Japan's doll museums
        > would all be bouncing with joy. But it strikes me as more likely
        that
        > the word is an amalgam of a different ko, meaning "child", and
        kesu,
        > meaning "get rid of", and that these cute, tender-faced little
        dolls,
        > made from simple pieces of wood, a sphere for the head and a
        cylinder
        > for the body, may in origin have been fetish substitutes for
        children
        > murdered at birth.
        >
        > Infanticide was not an uncommon practice in rural Japan during the
        > feudal period and it survived here and there into quite recent
        times.
        > The American historian Thomas C. Smith suggest that, in the
        > eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries at least, it was
        practised
        > in Japan "less as a desperate act in the face of poverty than as a
        > form of family planning." In the towns, abortion was the commonest
        > form of family planning (and, as the Japanese government persists
        to
        > this day in refusing to permit the sale of oral contraceptives, it
        > remains widely and lucratively practised). But in rural areas,
        though
        > officially prohibited by most clan governments, infanticide was the
        > preferred choice. Moral questions aside, the killing of newborn
        > babies rather than fetuses has the practical advantage of allowing
        a
        > family-or a village- to exert a precise control over the ratio of
        the
        > sexes, and it appears that, unlike in China and some parts of Asia,
        > the horror was not directed wholly, or even mainly, against female
        > babies, but was used coolly and even-handedly to construct a gender
        > balance that would ensure the continuance and stability of the
        group.
        >
        > According to Mrs. Suzuki Fumi, born in 1898 in Ibaragi prefecture,
        > not far north of Tokyo, and recorded on tape by the local doctor
        for
        > a book of reminiscences called Memories of Silk and
        > Straw, " 'thinning out' babies was pretty common" even at the time
        of
        > her own birth. "It was considered bad luck to have twins", she
        > explains, "so you got rid of one before your neighbours found out.
        > Deformed babies were also bumped off. And if you wanted a boy but
        the
        > baby was a girl, you'd make it 'a day visitor.' " The murder was
        > often entrusted to the midwife. "Killing off a newborn baby was a
        > simple enough business", Mrs. Suzuki remembers. "You just moistened
        a
        > piece of paper with spittle and put it over the baby's nose and
        > mouth; in no time at all it would stop breathing." But there were
        > alternative methods, and another of Dr. Saga's informants, Mrs.
        > Terakako Tai, born in 1899, describes two of them. One was "to
        press
        > on their chest with your knee."
        >
        > Another was called usugoro (mortar killing), in which the murderer
        > was usually the mother herself: "The woman went alone into one of
        the
        > buildings outside and had the baby lying on a straw mat. She
        wrapped
        > the thing in two straw sacks lids, tied it up with rope and laid it
        > on the mat. She then rolled a heavy wooden mortar over it. When the
        > baby was dead, she took it outside and buried it herself. And the
        > nest day she was expected to be up at the crack of dawn as usual,
        > doing the housework and helping in the fields...."
        >
        >
        > Note that Kokeshi dolls have no arms or legs. So Booth continues :
        >
        > "The absence of limbs might be disquieting, I suppose, if you had
        > made the possible connection between kokeshi and child murder and
        had
        > read Mrs. Suzuki's account of a midwife's attempt to quicken death
        by
        > wrapping an infant tightly in rags so that its arms were bounds
        > invisibly to its sides, or if you knew that one of the traditional
        > attributes of Japanese ghosts is that they have no feet."
        > http://www.jref.com/forum/archive/index.php/t-1365.html
        >
        >
        > Young babies just after birth have not had time yet to commit any
        > crime, apart from the crime of bringing sorrow to their parents. So
        > they have to hang out in limbo for a while.
        > For how long, you might ask? For as long as the mother is weeping
        in
        > sorrow for them.
        >
        > In the Edo period and certainly in earlier times too, every hand in
        > the poor farmers home was needed for work and a mother just could
        not
        > afford to be struck with grief long after the birth (and possible
        > death or killing) of her baby. So after seven days she would get a
        > kokeshi as memento for the baby, put a red bib on the statue of a
        > Jizo in her neighbourhood temple and try to forget it all. The red
        > bib would still carry the smell of the dead child and Jizo could
        use
        > this smell to identify the baby when he made his way to the local
        Sai
        > no Kawara to help the child out of limbo and into the Paradise of
        the
        > West. That is why Jizo statues are sometimes covered up with red
        bibs
        > of lost children.
        >
        > xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
        >
        > Just by chance a store to buy kokeshi online.
        > http://www.japanese-doll.biz/item/kokeshi-doll_23.html
        >
        > You might have guessed, they also sell DARUMA DOLLS.
        > http://www.japanese-doll.biz/item/auspicious-doll_19.html
        >
        > And for a change, they also sell Jizoo Dolls.
        > This handmade pottery Jizoo is quite popular in Japan.
        > http://www.japanese-doll.biz/db_img/1090566259up.jpg
        > http://www.japanese-doll.biz/item/auspicious-doll_18.html
        >
        > Well, that is a long story and all is not yet told.
        >
        > Greetings from Mysterious Japan
        > Gabi san
      • Gabi Greve
        ... Dear Izabel, thanks a lot for your information. That is all so interesting. There are still a lot of shamanistic traditions well alive in Japan, just
        Message 3 of 5 , Oct 16, 2004
          >
          > Dear Gabi:
          >
          > Thank you so much for posting this enlightening and so deeply
          > researched article. The illustrations surpassed any possible
          > expectations.
          >
          > As a shaman, trained in the North American Indian Tradition, and
          > mainly by the Michael Harner Foundation of Shamanic Studies,
          >
          > http://www.shamanism.org/
          >
          > Mitak - oh - yasin ( for all your relations)
          >
          > Izabel
          >
          >xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

          Dear Izabel,
          thanks a lot for your information. That is all so interesting.

          There are still a lot of shamanistic traditions well alive in Japan,
          just called by other names so as not to be auspiciously BACKWARD or
          so... :o)

          I will try and tell you more about it.
          There is even a shamanistic festival in my own village !
          And down in Okinawa, many acitivities are still alive.

          So wait a little.

          Inbetween you might want to read this one about the
          Living Mummies
          which I posted a while ago.

          Living Mummies, Buddhist Mummies in Japan,

          Haguro san, Dewa Sanzan, Northern Japan

          http://www.geocities.com/gabigreve2000/mummiesinjapan.html

          Thank you again and good luck and good energies with your work !

          GABI san
        • Gabi Greve
          It has been a while since I collected this material. Mark Schumacher has now finally put it into a presentabel form, with a LOT more interesting info on the
          Message 4 of 5 , Jul 6, 2006
            It has been a while since I collected this material.
            Mark Schumacher has now finally put it into a presentabel form, with
            a LOT more interesting info on the subject.

            http://www.onmarkproductions.com/html/sai-no-kawara.html

            Take your time when visiting!
            GABI

            and a BIG thank you to Mark !

            ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::


            >
            > A friend has asked about Sai no Kawara, the limbo for children in
            the underworld.
            > Here are some explanations.
            > This is a rather long story, so take your time.
            >
            >
            > Buddhist mythology
            >
            > According to legend attributed to the Jodo Sect around the 14th or
            > 15th century, children who die prematurely are sent to the
            underworld
            > as punishment for causing great sorrow to their parents. They are
            > sent to Sai no Kawara, the river of souls in purgatory, where they
            > pray for Buddha's compassion by building small stone towers, piling
            > stone upon stone. But underworld demons, answering to the command
            of the old hag Shozuka no Baba, soon arrive and scatter their stones
            and
            > beat them with iron clubs. But, no need to worry, for Jizo comes to
            > the rescue to protect the children. In one version of the story,
            Jizo
            > hides the children in the sleeves of his robe.
            > http://www.onmarkproductions.com/html/jizo1.shtml
            >
            >
            > In Shinto mythology
            > the story goes that between life and death there flows a river.
            This
            > river is called Sai no Kawara (translated it means Sai [Childrens
            > Limbo; Limbo means a region on the border of hell or heaven,
            serving
            > as the abode after death of unbaptized infants.] Kawara
            [riverside].
            > According to Shinto belief, children do not go to heaven or hell,
            but
            > the souls of the dead babies play on the banks of this river, Sai
            no
            > Kawara. And one of the things they have to do as their Duty
            > (penance) there, is to stack up pebbles, and build little towers.
            > However, while doing so, a naughty, horrible devil usually appears
            > who disturbs their playing, breaks their towers up, and scares
            them.
            > And, it is here where the long sleeves of Jizos robe comes in
            handy.
            > Because Jizo is the god who protects children, and he does not fail
            > to protect them there on the banks of the Sai no Kawara. So when
            > scared by this devil, they all jump into the sleeve of Jizos robe,
            > where they hide and feel safe and warm. It is said that in the old
            > days, some of the Jizo statues were covered in pebbles from people
            > who stacked the pebbles in front of the Jizo, because it is
            believed,
            > that for every tower of pebbles you build on earth, you help the
            > souls of the dead children to perform their duty there on the Sai
            no
            > Kawara.
            > http://www.aosara.com/articles/jizo.htm
            >
            >
            > There are many areas all over Japan with this name, where the
            > grieving parents can go to try and pacify the sould of the lost
            child
            > as well as their own. Let me tell you about some of the more famous
            > ones, most of them I visited myself.
            >
            > The Sai no Kawara at Mt. Osorezan
            > in Northern Japan is maybe the most famous of all these places
            > throughout Japan.
            >
            > Osorezan, Mountain of the dead
            > Quote
            > Mt. Osore, located in Mutsu and two neighboring towns in Aomori
            > Prefecture, is regarded as a sacred mountain. The smell of sulfur
            > hangs in the air, and it is dotted with small cairns of stones
            > erected by pilgrims at places called <>Sai no Kawara<> , Buddhist
            > rivers believed to be home to the souls of deceased children. Atop
            > the piles of stones, pinwheels, left by parents praying for the
            > transmigration of their departed children's souls, chatter in the
            > wind. It has long been believed in the Shimokita region of the
            > prefecture, that the souls of the dead congregate on Mt. Osore, or
            > Osorezan. Every year, during the grand festival of Osorezan Taisai,
            > held July 22-24, people climb the mountain to "talk" with the souls
            > of the dead through itako, female shamans who act as mediums.
            > < picture >
            > http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/visions/img/vj037.jpg
            >
            >
            > The female Itako Shamans of Osorezan
            > are a phenomen in themselves, I will take that up elsewhere. I have
            > even had one of these shamans call up my dead father from Germany
            and
            > get his advise, all in almost non-understandable dialect of
            Tsugaru.
            > They play an important role in connecting the dead with their
            > grieving relatives.
            >
            > Here are some more pictures from Osorezan
            > http://hirano.us/toru/sai/osorezan.html
            >
            > This link takes a while, but it has impressive photos and some
            > English about Osorezan.
            > http://degulab.cs.dis.titech.ac.jp/museum/osorezan.html
            >
            > Pictures from the great Shaman Festival at Osorezan
            > http://www.geocities.co.jp/SilkRoad-Oasis/9236/ghost/tr0207.html
            >
            > English page
            > http://jpatokal.iki.fi/photo/travel/Japan/Tohoku/Osorezan/
            >
            >
            > Hotoke-ga-ura
            > This is the most western part of the Osorezan Buddhist world, from
            > here the souls take off directly to the Paradise in the West. The
            > rough mountains look like Buddhastatues and a huge area is reserved
            > for the dead children.
            > http://www6.ocn.ne.jp/~abowind/photo/photogallery1/001_640.jpg
            > http://www.net.pref.aomori.jp/sai/image62.jpg
            > http://sozainomori.posca.jp/card_img/3847/9064.jpg
            > Sunset
            > http://www.yadokame.net/n047.html
            >
            > xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
            >
            > Here is a great list of all these Sai no Kawara areas throughout
            > Japan.
            > It says that this word is not mentioned in the Buddhist scriptures,
            > but has been in the folk belief of Japan long before the advent of
            > Buddhism.
            > http://hirano.us/toru/sai/index2.html
            >
            > Let me introduce some of this list:
            >
            > Island Okushiri in Hokkaido
            > http://hirano.us/toru/sai/okusiri.html
            >
            > Shakotan Peninsula in Hokkaido
            > http://hirano.us/toru/sai/syakotan.html
            >
            > Mount Esan in Hokkaido
            > http://hirano.us/toru/sai/esan.html
            > http://www.hiyama.or.jp/soul/sai-2/default.htm
            >
            > Imaizumi in Aomori
            > http://hirano.us/toru/sai/imaizumi.html
            >
            > Moriyama in Aomori
            > http://hirano.us/toru/sai/moriyama.html
            >
            > Kesamaruyama in Gunma Prefectuer
            > http://hirano.us/toru/sai/kesamaruyama.html
            >
            > Kusatsu Hot Spring in Gunma
            > http://hirano.us/toru/sai/kusatu.html
            >
            >
            > Island of Sado, Niigata Prefecture
            > This one is on the beach of the sea, one of the typical locations
            of
            > it.
            > <picture>
            > http://hirano.us/toru/images/sai/sado2.jpg
            > http://hirano.us/toru/sai/sado.html
            > More pictures, take your time.
            > http://www41.tok2.com/home/kanihei5/sadosainokawara.html
            > <> Jizo the protector of the children
            > http://www41.tok2.com/home/kanihei5/sadosainokawara14.jpeg
            >
            >
            > Temple Koozen-ji in Nagano Prefecture
            > http://hirano.us/toru/sai/kozenji.html
            >
            > Tatami-ga-ura, Iwami, Shimane Prefecture
            > http://www.sanjo.co.jp/yamane/tatami.html
            > http://kyushu.yomiuri.co.jp/pre-spe/sfuruten/sfu9905/fu990520.htm
            >
            > Mt. Daisen, The Big Mountain, in Tottori Prefecture
            > http://www.page.sannet.ne.jp/katsu-imamura/daisenaki030.html
            > http://www.page.sannet.ne.jp/katsu-imamura/daisenaki029.jpg
            > http://www.town.daisen.tottori.jp/photolib/P00592.jpg
            > http://www.town.daisen.tottori.jp/photolib/P00594.jpg
            >
            > More pictures about this most holy mountain of Western Japan.
            > http://www.page.sannet.ne.jp/katsu-imamura/daisen2.html
            >
            >
            > Mt. Iwaki san in Aomori
            > There is a special festival for the dead children during August
            > 23/24, Iwaki Sai no Kawara Daisai.
            > <pictures>
            > http://www.mutusinpou.co.jp/pic/04082408_s.jpg
            > http://www1.ocn.ne.jp/~isk/ivent/saino_taisai1.jpg
            >
            > I have been there myself, half way up the mountain beside the small
            > shrine are mountains of tennis shoes, sweets, windwheels and piled-
            up
            > pebbles. Old people would not hesitate to take the steep climb from
            > the cable car to the top of the mountain to pray for the eternal
            rest
            > of the souls. It is a very moving sight to see all these people
            climb
            > through mist and strong wind towart the top of stony Mt. Iwaki.
            > It is one of the many mysterious festivals in Aomori.
            > http://www.mutusinpou.co.jp/news/04082408.html
            > http://www.thr.mlit.go.jp/aomori/mitimiti/mitimiti8/8-6.html
            >
            > xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
            >
            > Now back to Northern Japan, where most of the Sai no Kawara are
            > located.
            > Here is another famous one, which I had a chance to visit many
            years
            > ago.
            >
            > Kawakura in Aomori Prefecture
            > Within the temple compounds are many items for the dead, like warm
            > coats for winter and tennis shoes. Someone even offered a bicycle
            for
            > the dead child.
            >
            > As you can see on the picture
            > http://hirano.us/toru/images/sai/kawakura1.jpg
            > it looks like the shop of an old cloths and dolls dealer. These are
            > all offerings.
            > http://hirano.us/toru/sai/kawakura.html
            > http://www.ne.jp/asahi/sp/a/n1.html
            > < pictures >
            > http://www.h3.dion.ne.jp/~nanchan/tugaru3.jpg
            > http://www.h3.dion.ne.jp/~nanchan/tugaru2.jpg
            > http://www.kanagi.jp/kanko/k_data/img/jizouson03.jpg
            >
            > At this temple, I saw these kind of dolls, have a look.
            > http://www.ne.jp/asahi/sp/a/ni1/ng8.jpg
            > http://www.sukima.com/12_touhoku00_01/05keikou_05.jpg
            >
            >
            > <> They are Wedding Dolls for the Dead. <>
            >
            > Let me tell you an amazing story.
            > At Kawakura and at some other temples in Northern Japan, mostly in
            > Tsugaru, I found these dolls, sold for about 100 Dollars or more,
            > sometimes only one bride or one groom. Asking the priest about
            these
            > rows of doll showcases in a special hall, he told me it was mostly
            > for young people who died during an accident or an illness.
            >
            > When the dead children would come of age around 20, their grieving
            > parents, mostly after consulting with an itako Shaman, would by
            such
            > a doll for their dead child to be married in the neather world. The
            > shaman would then tell the parents at the next session that their
            > child is now happy there and this will relief the grief of the
            > parents.
            >
            > I have also seen these wedding doll cases with a little baby added
            > (when the couple in the netherworld announced this happy event
            > through the help of the shaman a year after the virtual wedding !)
            >
            > You can read this story (if you read German) here:
            > http://homepage.univie.ac.at/bernhard.scheid/rel_vo/ikon/jizo.htm
            >
            >
            > On the bottom of the following page, you can see some of the
            > corridors filled whith Wedding dolls.
            > http://www.ne.jp/asahi/sp/a/n1.html
            > http://www.sukima.com/12_touhoku00_01/05keikou.htm
            >
            > xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
            >
            > Writing about Sai no Kawara so far brings to memory another story
            > about the red bibs of Jizo statues which I heared from a priest in
            > Kamakura, but for an introductuion read this first:
            >
            > Kokeshi and Infanticide in Japan
            >
            > First read this story about weeding out unwanted children:
            >
            > "Few Japanese people have any notion of where kokeshi came from or
            > what they might originally have been used for, nor have they given
            > the matter much thought. Partly this is because, like nebuta, th
            word
            > kokeshi is usually written not with ideograms but in the purely
            > phonetic syllabary called hiragana, so it is difficult to deduce an
            > ethymology. Ko, for instance, might mean "small" and keshi might
            > mean "poppy", in which case the curators of Japan's doll museums
            > would all be bouncing with joy. But it strikes me as more likely
            that
            > the word is an amalgam of a different ko, meaning "child", and
            kesu,
            > meaning "get rid of", and that these cute, tender-faced little
            dolls,
            > made from simple pieces of wood, a sphere for the head and a
            cylinder
            > for the body, may in origin have been fetish substitutes for
            children
            > murdered at birth.
            >
            > Infanticide was not an uncommon practice in rural Japan during the
            > feudal period and it survived here and there into quite recent
            times.
            > The American historian Thomas C. Smith suggest that, in the
            > eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries at least, it was
            practised
            > in Japan "less as a desperate act in the face of poverty than as a
            > form of family planning." In the towns, abortion was the commonest
            > form of family planning (and, as the Japanese government persists
            to
            > this day in refusing to permit the sale of oral contraceptives, it
            > remains widely and lucratively practised). But in rural areas,
            though
            > officially prohibited by most clan governments, infanticide was the
            > preferred choice. Moral questions aside, the killing of newborn
            > babies rather than fetuses has the practical advantage of allowing
            a
            > family-or a village- to exert a precise control over the ratio of
            the
            > sexes, and it appears that, unlike in China and some parts of Asia,
            > the horror was not directed wholly, or even mainly, against female
            > babies, but was used coolly and even-handedly to construct a gender
            > balance that would ensure the continuance and stability of the
            group.
            >
            > According to Mrs. Suzuki Fumi, born in 1898 in Ibaragi prefecture,
            > not far north of Tokyo, and recorded on tape by the local doctor
            for
            > a book of reminiscences called Memories of Silk and
            > Straw, " 'thinning out' babies was pretty common" even at the time
            of
            > her own birth. "It was considered bad luck to have twins", she
            > explains, "so you got rid of one before your neighbours found out.
            > Deformed babies were also bumped off. And if you wanted a boy but
            the
            > baby was a girl, you'd make it 'a day visitor.' " The murder was
            > often entrusted to the midwife. "Killing off a newborn baby was a
            > simple enough business", Mrs. Suzuki remembers. "You just moistened
            a
            > piece of paper with spittle and put it over the baby's nose and
            > mouth; in no time at all it would stop breathing." But there were
            > alternative methods, and another of Dr. Saga's informants, Mrs.
            > Terakako Tai, born in 1899, describes two of them. One was "to
            press
            > on their chest with your knee."
            >
            > Another was called usugoro (mortar killing), in which the murderer
            > was usually the mother herself: "The woman went alone into one of
            the
            > buildings outside and had the baby lying on a straw mat. She
            wrapped
            > the thing in two straw sacks lids, tied it up with rope and laid it
            > on the mat. She then rolled a heavy wooden mortar over it. When the
            > baby was dead, she took it outside and buried it herself. And the
            > nest day she was expected to be up at the crack of dawn as usual,
            > doing the housework and helping in the fields...."
            >
            >
            > Note that Kokeshi dolls have no arms or legs. So Booth continues :
            >
            > "The absence of limbs might be disquieting, I suppose, if you had
            > made the possible connection between kokeshi and child murder and
            had
            > read Mrs. Suzuki's account of a midwife's attempt to quicken death
            by
            > wrapping an infant tightly in rags so that its arms were bounds
            > invisibly to its sides, or if you knew that one of the traditional
            > attributes of Japanese ghosts is that they have no feet."
            > http://www.jref.com/forum/archive/index.php/t-1365.html
            >
            >
            > Young babies just after birth have not had time yet to commit any
            > crime, apart from the crime of bringing sorrow to their parents. So
            > they have to hang out in limbo for a while.
            > For how long, you might ask? For as long as the mother is weeping
            in
            > sorrow for them.
            >
            > In the Edo period and certainly in earlier times too, every hand in
            > the poor farmers home was needed for work and a mother just could
            not
            > afford to be struck with grief long after the birth (and possible
            > death or killing) of her baby. So after seven days she would get a
            > kokeshi as memento for the baby, put a red bib on the statue of a
            > Jizo in her neighbourhood temple and try to forget it all. The red
            > bib would still carry the smell of the dead child and Jizo could
            use
            > this smell to identify the baby when he made his way to the local
            Sai
            > no Kawara to help the child out of limbo and into the Paradise of
            the
            > West. That is why Jizo statues are sometimes covered up with red
            bibs
            > of lost children.
            >
            > xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
            >
            > Just by chance a store to buy kokeshi online.
            > http://www.japanese-doll.biz/item/kokeshi-doll_23.html
            >
            > You might have guessed, they also sell DARUMA DOLLS.
            > http://www.japanese-doll.biz/item/auspicious-doll_19.html
            >
            > And for a change, they also sell Jizoo Dolls.
            > This handmade pottery Jizoo is quite popular in Japan.
            > http://www.japanese-doll.biz/db_img/1090566259up.jpg
            > http://www.japanese-doll.biz/item/auspicious-doll_18.html
            >
            > Well, that is a long story and all is not yet told.
            >
            > Greetings from Mysterious Japan
            > Gabi san
            >
          • Gabi for Worldkigo
            Here is more about SAI NO KAWARA http://happyhaiku.blogspot.com/2004/12/jizoo.html And the page of Mark Schumacher
            Message 5 of 5 , Jul 3, 2009
              Here is more about SAI NO KAWARA

              http://happyhaiku.blogspot.com/2004/12/jizoo.html

              And the page of Mark Schumacher

              http://www.onmarkproductions.com/html/sai-no-kawara.html


              and two haiku about sai no kawara !

              Gabi
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