C^inkon Kis^in, Pt. I













"Mediated spirit-Possession"





"Spirit-possession & ecstasy"



"Mediated spirit-possession in Japan"



"Japanese new religions"



"Development of c^inkon kis^in"





"C^inkon & kis^in"



"C^inkon kis^in in Omoto"



"Later developments of c^inkon kis^in"



"C^inkon kis^in in Tais^o era Omoto"





"C^inkon, kis^in, & spirit-possession"



"C^inkon kis^in’s aims & functions"



"C^inkon kis^in’s mediator"



0. "Introduction".

p. 4 c^inkon & kis^in separately

"chinkon originated when the creator deity Izanagi handed a divine necklace to his daughter the Sun Goddess Amaterasu ... .

Kishin ... could be traced back to ... the legendary Empress Okinaga Tarashi Hime, posthumously known as Jingu Kogo."

"the purpose of chinkon was to secure a deity within ... a human body and thereby strengthen the soul of the human being.

Kishin’s function was to attain unity with divine beings in order to understand matters of the divine and human worlds."

pp. 5-6 combined c^inkon & kis^in : Omoto & its offshoots

p. 5

"Nagasawa Katsutate (1858-1940) ... transmitted chinkon and kishin to Deguchi Onisaburo (1871-1948). ...

In Omoto, chinkon and kishin were combined into one religious practice ... . ... On the occasion of Omoto’s suppression in 1921, Deguchi Onisaburo substituted chinkon kishin by a new ritual called miteshiro

p. 6

otoritsugi ..., which became the model for ... Sekai Kyuseikyo’s jorei and Mahikari’s okiyome. ... new religions ... were founded by ... :

Asano Wasaburo (1874-1937), who ... pursued seishin toitsu, a form of mediated spirit possession with semi-professional spirit mediums.

There were Tomokiyo Yoshisane (1888-1952) and Nakano Yonosuke (1887-1974), founders of Shindo Tenkokyo and Ananaikyo respectively. They ... went to Nagasawa Katsutate with the express purpose of studying chinkon and kishin with the ... original re-creator".


I.1. "Remarks".

pp. 16-7 anthropological researches in spirit-possession

p. 16

"anthropological interest in religious aspects of spirit possession and ecstasy began with Traugott Oesterreich’s comprehensive study of spirit possession in 1921."

p. 17

"Anthropological research on spirit possession consists mainly of an abundance of case studies (cf. Atkinson 1992:308; Lewis 1989:185-194)."

p. 17, fn. 5

"For research about Japanese Shamanism until 1960 see Fairchild (1962:13-26)."

Oesterreich 1921 = Traugott K. Oesterreich : Die Besessenheit. Langensalza : Wendt & Klauwell.

Atkinson 1992 = Jane M. Atkinson : "Shamanisms Today". ANNUAL REVIEW OF ANTHROPOLOGY 21:307-30.

Lewis 1989 = I. M. Lewis : Ecstatic Religion. London : Routledge.

Fairchild 1962 = William P. Fairchild : "Shamanism in Japan". FOLKLORE STUDIES 21:1-122.


I.2. "Spirit-possession & ecstasy".

pp. 26-7 (I.2.1.4) mediated spirit-possession

p. 26

"The main characteristic of mediated spirit possession is that it involves at least two people and one spiritual being. One person -- ... the ‘mediator’ – deliberately induces

p. 27

spirit possession into the second person – the medium – who then becomes possessed by the spiritual being. Mediated spirit possession always consists of three main phases :

inducing spirit possession,

conducting a dialogue with the possessing spirit, and

sending back the possessing spirit.

It is the mediator who ... has to induce a spirit to take possession of the medium, or to force an already possessing spirit to reveal itself.

{In many areas of the world, commonly a group of persons will act collectively mediator, chanting together the invocation to induce the spirit to enter a spirit-medium (who may be inspecific until the spirit hath chosen and entered some person in the group); and there may be two such groups functioning simultaneously : chanters and musicians.}

p. 32 (I.2.2.1) ghostly beings; ghost-stories

"the Edo period saw ... ghost stories and ghostly beings, such as females with long hair and no feet, beasts with one eye or horrendous claws".

(fn. 23) "early collections that include ghost stories are the Nihon ryoiki ... and the Konjaku monogatari ...".

"There is widespread knowledge about ... kappa ..., ,,, helpful creatures dwelling in rivers and lakes,

(fn. 24) "On kappa, see Nihon fuzokushi jiten (p. 114).".

and tengu ..., fierce and lofty creatures of more than human size with red faces and beaked noses, dwelling in mountains and often associated with mountain ascetics."

[fn. 24] "On tengu see Nihon fuzokushi jiten (p. 442) and ... the involvement of tengu in the 1867/1868 Ejanaika movements".

pp. 32-3 (I.2.2.2) Japanese terminology for ‘spirit-possession’

p. 32

"in the Sino-Japanese constructions,

hyorei’ ... or ‘hyoi’ ... for "spirit possession" and

dakkon’ ... for "ecstasy"."

p. 33

" ‘Dakkon’ ... is ... a literary translation of ecstasy’s definition as "soul-loss"".

" "Journey through the other world" (takai henreki ...),

"being hidden by a deity (kamikakushi ...),

"separated/absent soul" (yurikon ...) or

"loss of the divine", i.e. "swoon", "faint" (shisshin ...),

are terms occasionally used".

pp. 36-8 (I.2.2.3) spirit-possession in Japan

p. 36

"possessing animals" included "several kinds of foxes as well as dogs, snakes or badgers ... (Ba:lz 1907:129-132). Possession by these tsukimono ..., literally "possessing beings," ...

p. 37

able to take possession of a person ... cause that person to become ... mentally ill ..., but religious practitioners ... were believed ... able to cure ... tsukimono".

p. 38

There are "kuchiyose ... rituals performed by different kinds of spirit mediums in northern Honshu. During a kuchiyose ritual, the spirit medium calls the spirit of a deceased person (hotoke-oroshi ...) or deity (kami-oroshi ...) into his or her own body by means of set music, incantations or prayers. When the spiritual being has entered the medium, it is able to communicate through her voice ... . ...

Kami-oroshi is mainly a communal event, whereby the deity is asked for instance about agricultural matters ... .

Hotoke-oroshi is an individual ritual, ... centered on questions about the deceased’s well-being or any message he or she might want to have delivered. ... Mount Osore has become a centre for hotoke-oroshi every July. Mout Osore ... is ... on ... Aomori prefecture’s Shimokita ... peninsula, ... a volcanic region ... . {The Ainu believe that souls of the dead travel out of volcanoes.} Belief has it that the deceased may gather here to communicate with living relatives (... Reader 1991:130ff. ...)."

Ba:lz 1907 = Erwin Ba:lz : "U:ber Bessenheit und verwandte Zusta:de", VERHANDLUNGEN DER GESELLSCHAFT DEUTSCHER NATURFORSCHER UND A:RZTE 78:120-38.

Reader 1991 = Ian Reader : Religion in Contemporary Japan. London : Macmillan.

pp. 39-40 (I.2.2.4) ecstasy in Japan

p. 39

"Mountain ascetics (yamabushi or shugenja)" : "the ascetic’s soul would leave his body and journey to the worlds beyond guided by a deity or divine messenger. In the beyond he would encounter his future protective spirit and acquire supernatural powers, such as immunity from fire and mastery over spirits. This first extended ecstatic journey would serve as the ascetic’s initiation and enable him to undertake shorter journeys at will ... . Ascetics thus initiated would .. conduct rituals of healing, exorcism or divination, or co-operate with spirit-mediums in performing rituals of mediated spirit possession".

p. 40

"kamikakushi, literally "being hidden by a deity" ... refers to ... the sudden disappearance of individuals, often adolescent boys, who, when they are found, state that they have been kidnapped by spirits, usually tengu ... . Similar experiences without the traveling aspects are occasionally narrated for girls or women.

... of those ... abducted ..., ... some ... are reported to have gone insane. ... Reports by people who claim to have experienced kamikakushi ... follow a number of patterns (Blacker 1967 ...). The victim is transported, often flown through the air

{cf. "transvection" ("FW"; "SF") of European witches; and reports of abduction in UFOs (which reports are always descriptions of dreams)}to a wondrous place in a foreign country, heaven or hell."

Blacker 1967 = Carmen Blacker : "Supernatural Abductions in Japanese Folklore". ASIAN FOLKLORE STUDIES 26/2:111-47.

"FW" = http://www.whitedragon.org.uk/articles/flight.htm

"SF" = http://www.robinartisson.com/scarespite/flight.htm

p. 44 (I.2.2.5) an instance of mediated spirit-possession in Japan

[according to a book by an Edo-period diviner] "In Osaka there is a man named ... Yuemon ... who perform spirit possession rituals [yorigito ...]. He used to give her a wand to hold, make her possessed by a fox ... and have her say al sorts of things. ... But later ... the deities took immediate possession of his own body, and he started talking ..., formed a confraternity ... and ... people ... attributed the voice to Kumano Gongen or to Kasuga Myojin and gave themselves up in veneration."


I.3. "Mediated spirit-possession in Japan".

pp. 47-9 (I.3.1.1) myth of, and ritual embodying, goddess Ame-no-Uzume

p. 47

[16th section of the Kojiki (Chamberlain 1882:63-5)] "Her Augustness Heavenly-Alarming-Female ... hanging (round her)

the heavenly clubmoss of the ... as a sash, and

making the heavenly spindle-tree her headdress, and

binding the leaves of bamboo-grass ... in a posy for her hands, and

laying a soundingboard from the door of the Heavenly Rock-Dwelling, and stamping it till she made a sound and

doing as if possessed by a Deity, ... and

pulling out the nipples of her breasts,

pushing down her skirt-string usque ad privates partes.

Then the Plain of High Heaven shook, and

the eight hundred myriad Deities laughed together."

p. 48

"This is the Kojiki’s version of ... the opening the heavenly rock cave (ame no iwato biraki ...)". "the Nihon shoki professes that her spirit possession was real and even states that Ame no Uzume gave forth a "divinely-inspired utterance" (kamugakarisu ...)."

p. 49

"The chinkonsai was performed ... during the dark hours between sunset and sunrise. The participants ... performed ... dances, during one of which one cult-girl danced on an upside-down tub."

Chamberlain 1882 = Basil H. Chamberlain : The Kojiki.

pp. 51-2 (I.3.1.2) spirit-possession of Okinaga-Taras^i-Hime

p. 51

[46th section of the Kojiki] "This Empress, Her Augustness Princess Okinaga-tarashi, was at that time, divinely possessed ... . ...

p. 52

[47th section of the Kojiki] Then (the Noble Take-uchi) requested more particularly, (saying) "I wish to know the august names of the Great Deities whose words have now thus instructed us." Forthwith (the Deities) replied, saying :

"It is the august doing of the Great-August-Heaven-Shining-Deity,

likewise it is the three great Deities Bottom-Possessing-Male,

Middle-Possessing-Male and


pp. 69-70 (I.3.2.2) supernatural rites & exorcism in S^ugendo

p. 69

"Shugendo encompassed ... rituals for tracing lost objects ...,

ceremonies to demonstrate the supernatural powers gained through ...

p. 70

walking across fire (hiwatari ...) or

sprinkling boiling water over one’s head and shoulders (yudate ...),

There were magical rites (majinai ...) making use of such objects as black beans, paper with a deity’s name on it or claws of a wild animal."


"The shugenja ... wither needed to exorcise or subjugate the molesting being through ... methods of exorcism (tsukimono otoshi ...) or subjugation (chobuku ...). These included, for example, threatening the spirit by placing a sword beside the patient’s bedside, forcing it to leave through the incantation of powerful words and ritual gestures, or converting and pacifying it". {Converting-and-pacifying an evil spirit is likewise a common Bodish practice.}

pp. 71-2 (I.3.2.2) yorigito

p. 71

"the shugenja would ... induce the spiritual or divine being to enter the medium by means of incantations, drums, bells or the like. The being’s arrival would be demonstrated by a quivering wand or branch in the medium’s hands, or through symptoms of trance in her behaviour. The

p. 72

shugenja would first ask the being’s name before questioning or reprimanding it. He would finally induce the spirit or deity to return to its usual dwelling place and end the medium’s state of trance, by taking the wand from her or clapping her on the back."

pp. 73-4 (I.3.2.3) various practices in Ontake-kyo

p. 73

"Ontakekyo ... [fn. 68 : "Mitakekyo ... only after the Second World War changed its reading to Ontakekyo".] developed ... centring on belief in Mount Ontake ..., an active volcano on the border between Nagano and Gifu prefectures."

p. 74, fn. 72

"the Ontake Okami of the two shrines at the foot of Mount Okami is identified with Kunitokotachi no Mikoto ... and Sukunabikona no Mikoto ... and with Onamuchi no Mikoto and Sukunabikona no Mikoto".

p. 74

"Practices common to Shugendo and Ontakekyo include regular journeys to and ascents of the holy mountains, ...

demonstrations of special powers gained through asceticism, such as walking across fire or climbing a ladder of swords, and

the performance of the goma fire ritual".

pp. 75-6 (I.3.2.3) oza spirit-possession in Ontake-kyo

p. 75

"During the recitation ... one of the practitioners – it is not always the same person – suddenly jumps up and turns round so that he now stands on a small podium, ... his arms trembling and his breath shallow, He is the nakaza ... . A deity is believed to just have taken possession of him. Another practitioner ... takes a wand (noruhei ...) from the side-table and firmly puts it into the nakaza’s hands. This is the maeza ..., oza’s mediator. The maeza bows deeply before the deity believed to be in the nakaza, thanks it for coming and politely asks its name. The nakaza answers. All the practitioners present invocate the deity’s name and make its gestures. ...

The first deity has left and a second deity has now taken possession of the nakaza. Since this is a less majestic deity, the nakaza now sits down and the maeza sits upright facing him. Again, the maeza asks the deity’s name and, again, this name is invoked by all the practitioners. In the dialogue that follows the maeza asks the deity for advice and help in certain matters members of the congregation had

p. 76

previously requested ... . ... Through the nakaza, the deity also gives advice, for instance, from which deity to seek assistance."

p. 76, fn. 77

"the deity even named the medicine and dose the patient should take."

pp. 82-3 (I.3.2.4) oracular spirit-possession at mt. Hayama






"The noriwara, the medium, sits in front of the altar with his back to it and the sendatsu sits on his left-hand side. The sendatsu then places two wands (heisoku ... or gohei ...) into the noriwara’s hands and starts ringing a small bell next to the noriwara’s ear, while murmuring a prayer in which he asks the deity to descend. When the wands in the medium’s hands start shaking rapidly he has become possessed."



"It is always the sendatsu who enquires the name of the possessing deity, although – apart from the butsuke – the person most involved then takes over. ...



Kashiki or individual enquirers sit opposite the noriwara".



"The individual enquiries always begin by informing the deity about the exact name and address of the person or family enquired about. The deity’s answer is usually vague, indicating ... precautions [which] are [to be] taken.".



"After all the questions have been answered the sendatsu ... lays his right hand heavily onto the noriwara’s back, stroking him [fn. 90 : "pressing on the noriwara’s back and shoulders ... was an action necessary to return him to consciousness."] while murmuring a prayer of thanks to the deity who had offered the oracle. The medium, who stressed repeatedly that he had no recollection at all of what went on during the oracle, rubs his eyes and face and comes to again."


I.4 "Mediated spirit-possession and Japanese new religions".

pp. 100-1 (I.4.2.2) founderess of the Tens^o Kotai Jingu-kyo (vide :- Ko:pping 1974:49-76)

p. 100

"A prominent example of a new religion founded as a consequence of the founder’s or foundress’s spirit possession is Kitamura Sayo’s ... Tensho Kotai Jingukyo ... founded in 1945. ... She was instructed [by a locally famous religious practitioner] to undergo cold water ablutions and to worship certain shrines at night ... . After she had continued these ablutions and visits ... for nearly two years, Kitamura from May 1944 onwards, gradually began to experience spirit possession. The possessing entity forced her to openly insult people and to preach on the streets ... about an impending renewal of the world. ... On midnight between the 11th and 12th August 1945 – exactly three years after she had begun her religious exercises – she was initiated through kaleidoscopic visions into every aspect of the spiritual and material worlds. The possession being then disclosed himself not to be Tobyo [fn. 21 : "Tobyo is a regional variant of .... tsukimono, possessing animals ... . They are believed to have the form of snakes".], but Kotaijin ..., who on this very day had been joined by the

p. 101

goddess Amaterasu Meokami ... . Together they ..., aiming at constructing paradise on earth, ... made Kita Sayo’s body (hara ...) their temple (gu ...)."

Ko:pping 1974 = Klaus-Peter Ko:pping : Religio:se Bewegungen im modernen Japan. Ko:ln : Wienand Verlag.

pp. 101, 103 (I.4.2.2) spirit-possession of other founders and founderesses of new religions


new religion


The brother-in-law of Kawate Buujiro, alias Konko Daijin, "was possessed by a deity called Konjin ..., who reprimanded Kawate for having neglected it before it ... cured and thereby initiated him (Shimazono 1979:393)."


"Fujita Himiko, foundress of Yuai Gurupu Megani no Umi (Shillony 1984);


Fukata Chiyoko, posthumous foundress of En’okyo (Nakamura Kyoko 1981:199ff. ...); and


Ito Tomoji, ... co-foundress of Shinnyoen (Wieczorek 2002:99-102)."


"Yamato Shocho ... served as spirit medium in Shoroku Shinto Yamatoyama for many years beginning in 1922, that is three years after the religion had been founded by her father Yamato Shofu. Her revelations serve as divine teachings".

Shimazono 1979 = Shimazono Susumu : "The Living Kami Idea in the New Religions of Japan". JJRS 6:389-412.

Shillony 1984 = Ben-Ami Shillony : "The Princess of the Dragon Palace : a new Shinto sect is born". MONUMENTA NIPPONICA 39:177-82.

Nakamura 1981 = Kyoko Nakamura : "Revelatory Experience in the Female Life Cycle : a bibliographical study of women religionists in modern Japan". JJRS 8:187-205.

Wieczorek 2002 = Iris Wieczorek : Neue religio:se Bewewungen in Japan. Hamburg : Institut fu:r Asienkunde.

pp. 103-4 (I.4.2.2) methods of spirit-possession in new religions

p. 103

(kage no junjo, a form of yorigito in Reiyukai -- quoted from Hardacre 1984:207) "two women are involved in kage no junjo,

one as a medium who receives messages from spirits, and

another who interprets her utterances to a client who comes seeking advice about some problem."

p. 104

(sess^in in S^innyoen -- quoted from Sakashita 1995:171) "the Reinosha will enter into a trance-like state; sitting directly facing a particular member the medium begins to relay to the follower the spiritual messages from the Shinnyoen spiritual world".

Hardacre 1984 = Helen Hardacre : Lay Buddhism in Contemporary Japan : Reiyukai Kyodan. Princeton U Pr.

Sakashita 1995 = Jay Sakashita : :Shinnyoen in the UK". J OF CONTEMPORARY RELIGION 10/2:167-79.

p. 106 (I.4.2.3) spiritist planchette in Japan


"kokkurisan ... {cf. KUKKURI, name of the Saha-jiya siddha}, the Japanese version of the Western planchette or Ouija board {the spiritist planchette, known in Chinese as /fu-ji/ ("PW"), was also used in Mongolia and in antient Italy ("AOB")}, flourished in Japan, answering everyday questions ... . The kokkurisan’s basic structure consisted of three bamboo sticks tied together in a trident and topped by an upside-down bowl. Participants’ hands would be placed on the bowl and the kokkurisan’s movements would be regarded as messages from the beyond and interpreted according to various rules".

106, fn. 29

"On Spiritualism in Japan in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century see also Gebhardt (1998)".

"PW" = "Planchette Writing" = http://en.daoinfo.org/wiki/Planchette_Writing

"AOB" = "Ancient Ouija Boards" http://www.museumoftalkingboards.com/ancient.html

Gebhardt 1998 = Lisette Gebhardt : "Fukurai Tomokichi : ein japanischer Forscher zwischen Seelenkunde und Spiritismus". In :- Steffi Richter (ed.) : Japan Lesebuch III : "Intelli". Tu:bingen : Konkursbuch Verlag. pp. 108-20.

p. 107 (I.4.2.3) confirmations of clairvoyance and of psychic phainomena

"Mifune Chizuko (... 1886-1911), a young woman from Kumamoto, attracted hundreds ... by her supernatural powers. In late 1910 several scientists conducted various experiments with Mifune attesting to her clairvoyant faculties".

"One of the scientists conducting experiments in clairvoyance and psychic photography (nensha ...) with Mifune and a number of other mediums was Fukurai Tomokichi (1869-1952). He was professor at the Imperial University in Tokyo, until he was dismissed from office over ... his spiritualist experiments ... . He nonetheless continued his psychical research, founded the Dainippon Shinrei Kenkyukai ... in 1928, and published prolifically ... . ... Asano Wasaburo ... in 1923, founded the Shinrei Kagaku Kenkyukai".

pp. 109, 111 (I.4.2.4) recent resurgence in spirit-possession

p. 109

"Agonshu ... was originally founded by Kiriyama Seiyu (... born 1921) in 1954 as Kannon Jikeikai ... . ... Kiriyama is also reportedly able to light fire without using matches or lighters, but by means of his religious powers only ... – which is ... a typical feat associated with Tungus ... shamans (Eliade 1968:366-369 ...)."


"Takahashi Shinji (... 1927-1976) ... "opened "the spirits’ path" (reido o hiraku ...) of several of his closer followers through rituals during which he ... called the spirits of a follower’s former life into either the follower or himself and converse with these in strange tongues. Only Takahashi himself was able to interpret this glossolalia and used these rituals to prove the truth of the concept of rebirth".

p. 111

"Okawa Ryuho (... born 1956) ..., in a period of only four years, wrote alsmost 150 books most of where were reportedly channeled. ... (Mullins 1992:239f.)"

Eliade 1968 = Mircea Eliade : Le Chamanisme et les Techniques Archai:ques de l’Extase. Paris.

Mullins 1992 = Mark R. Mullins : "Japan’s New Age and Neo-New Age Religions". In :- James R. Lewis & J. Gordon Melton (edd.) : Perspectives on the New Age. SUNY Pr. pp. 232-46.

pp. 112-3, 166 (I.4.3) mediated spirit-possession in Japanese new religions

p. 112

description following Wo:hr (1989:19-25) :- "the initiation experience of Tenrikyo’s ... foundress Nakayama Miki (... 1789-1887) ... . ... On the 23rd day of the 10th month 1838 (Tenpo 9) ... Miki ... entered a trance ... . A voice spoke from inside her claiming to be the original and true god who had descended from heaven to save the earth, and who requested Miki as his earthly abode and shrine." [fn 38 : "Cf. Laube’s translation of, and commentary on, Tenrikyo’s official description of this incident (1978:182-188)."]

p. 113

"Gedatsukai ... was founded by Okano Eizo (... 1881-1948; Buddhist name : Okano Seiken ..) in 1929. ... Okano ... established links with the Shingon Buddhist temple ... with which Gedatsukai ... became affiliated to escape suppression under the military regime. Okano developed goho shugyo after a series of revelations which ... initiated him to it." "


description of goho s^ugyo, based on Earhart (1989:181-80) :- "during goho shugyo members enter into a state of possession, usually by their ancestral spirits, and thus become able to deliver messages or answers to problems or enquiries[,] from these spirits."

p. 116, fn. 46

Mahikari : "David reports that in the 1970s even inexperienced members communicated with spirits manifesting in people to whom they were giving okiyome (1980:56)."

Wo:hr 1989 = Ulrike Wo:hr : Frauen und Neue Religionen : die Religionsgru:nderinnen Nakayama Miki und Deguchi Nao. BEITRA:GE ZUR JAPANOLOGIE 27. Wien : Institut fu:r Japanologie.

Laube 1978 = Johannes Laube : Oyagami : die heutige Gottesvorstellung der Tenrikyo. STUDIEN ZUR JAPANOLOGIE 14. Wiesbaden : Otto Harrassowitz.

Earhart 1989 = H. Byron Earhart : Gedatsu-kai and Religion in Contemporary Japan. Bloomington : U of IN Pr.

Davis 1980 = Winston Davis : Dojo : magic and exorcism in modern Japan. Stanford U Pr.


BUNKA WENHUA : TU:BINGER OSTASIATICHE FORSCHUNGEN, Band 7 = Birgit Staemmler : Chinkon Kishin : Mediated Spirit Possession in Japanese New Religions. 2009.