C^inkon Kis^in, Pt. III


III.1 "Remarks".

p. 327 female spirit-media in Okinawa

p. 327

"In Okinawa spirit mediums are called noro."

p. 327, fn. 2

"The brothers or husbands that Okinawan noro work with are correctly called anji".


III.2. "C^inkon, Kis^in, and spirit-possession".

p. 330 (III.2.1.1) consecration of stone for c^inkon

p. 330

"During chinkon, a separated soul or fraction of a deity was invited into a person’s body ... . The fraction of a deity could also be invited into the chinkon stone ... . Chinkon, according to Honda, therefore, was a means of inducing spirit possession and could lead to supernatural powers".

p. 330, fn. 1

"The use of this chinkon stone is explained by Tomokiyo as representing the necklace of jewels Izanagi had given to Amaterasu".

pp. 334-6 (III.2.1.2) s^in-kanho, ji-kanho, ta-kanho

p. 334

"The first form of kishin is divinely inspired (shinkanho ...) ... . ... . ... it is the deity which selects the person of which it wishes to take possession." {This is likewise said of many a shaman in Siberia – selected by the deity, the deity’s demand trumping the praeference of the candidate not to have to become a shaman.}


"Kishin inspired from within (jikanho ...) is a form of deep meditation ... . The initiative is

p. 335

taken by the human practitioner, not by the deity. ... . ... kishin from within merely described the state resulting from successful chinkon."


"Kishin inspired from without (takanho ...) may be categorised as mediated spirit possession."

"Omoto everyday religious practice was restricted

p. 336

to kishin inspired from without for beginners, whereas

advanced members could additionally practice kishin inspired from within.

Divinely inspired kishin ... was regarded as restricted to Nao and Onisaburo".

p. 338 (III.2.1.3) animal-spirits as messengers from the dead

A particular, "and more frequent, type of possessing spirits are ... animal spirits employed as messengers by ancestral spirits, because many ancestral spirits were believed to be too weak to take possession by themselves".

pp. 342-3 (III.2.2.1) the 3 levels of spirit-possession : kis^in; s^inken; s^inpyo

p. 342

"when a human soul ... directly receives a stream of divinity, this state of union with the great god is called kishin."

p. 343

"it is called shinken when a heavenly being ... has advanced to the position of angel [enzeru ...] in the spirit land, comes down into a human being’s soul and conveys the divine world’s movements to the human world. This is also referred to as an indirect stream of divinity."


"state referred to as shinpyo" : "included animal spirits and spirits of living or dead people among those possession by whom was regarded as shinpyo."

pp. 347-8 (III.2.2.3) states of trance during c^inkon kis^in

p. 347

"(1) slight bodily expression, such as trembling hands ...,

(2) gradually more violent bodily movements, and

(3) verbal utterances."


"the first state of trance, in which their hands quivered ... .

Asano described the second state of trance by recounting how Onisaburo once hovered above the ground in a state of trance, albeit acting as saniwa, and that Onisaburo’s younger brother was ... always floating in the air near the room’s ceiling ... . ...

p. 348

The third state of trance in solicited spirit possession ... involves talking."

p. 351 (III.2.3) religious exercises in the spirit-world

"In the first five sections of the Reikai monogatari’s first volume, Onisaburo explained the nature of religious exercises in the spirit world {viz., in dreams}, and pointed out that they were immeasurably harder {viz., difficult to remember to undertake during dreams} and more effective than any religious exercises anyone could perform on earth (Reikai monogatari I/1-5:7-13)."

p. 352 (III.2.3) spirit-possession in offshoot-sects derived from Omoto

"Asano and Tomokiyo, who left Omoto ..., continued to support spirit possession. Hoever, neither Tomokiyo nor Asano continued spirit possession as the mass ritual it had been in Omoto.

In Tenkokyo chinkon kishin is a secret practice.

Ananaikyo, too, restricted transmission of its chinkon kishin practice to carefully selected members in the 1980s ... .

In Shinnyoen, similarly, initially dramatic state of trance during sesshin in the early period of spirit mediumship ... abated ... (Shiramizu 1979:427ff.)." [fn. 24 : This abatement occurred "in the early 1950s."]

Shiramizu 1979 = Hiroko Shiramizu : "Organizational Mediums : a case study of Shinnyoen". JJRS 6/3:413-44.

p. 352 (III.2.3) vice-protective deities

"Vice protective deities had initially been regarded as external possessing entities ... . These vice protective deities consequently had to be identified and exchanged {"vice"/"vicarious" would imply ‘exchangeable’} or subdued through chinkon kishin.

In current Omoto, however, vice protective deities are taught to be those elements of the human soul responsible for bodily upkeep and necessary instincts." {This current understanding would agree with the Taoist doctrine of internal deities innate to the body.}


III.3. "C^inkon Kis^in’s aims and functions".

pp. 354, 356 (III.3.1.1) acquisition of knowledge

p. 354

"Omoto’s Spirit Studies and spirit method ... is precisely that, through it, everyone may polish body and soul [shinkon o migakite ...], ... and bring their supernatural powers into display."

p. 356

"In Omoto, to acquire knowledge about divine matters and to "awaken to the divine mission of mankind" ..., was the ultimate goal of chinkon kishin. Asano wrote ... :

Among the phenomena occurring during the practice of yusai in the kinryuden, there is a great wealth of data valuable for awakening to the mysteries of the world beyond, and for learning about the relationship between humans and deities."

p. 360 (III.3.1.2) otsuchi, omizu, omatsu; ohineri

p. 360

"explained, like Asano had done, illnesses as caused through malevolent spirit possession whose only effective cures were exorcism or appeasement of the molesting entity. ... Nao and the female religious leaders healed through prayers combined with otsuchi ..., omizu ..., omatsu ..., or ohineri."

p. 360, fn. 8

"Otsuchi, omizu and omatsu are small amounts of earth, water and pine needles respectively, which are taken from the sacred ground of Ayabe, offered to the deities with set prayers, and used as amulets ... . ... Ohineri are small pieces of Japanese paper, about the size of visiting cards, on which Nao since 1898, and after her death the female religious leaders of Omoto, wrote the name of Omoto’s supreme god. The paper is then crumbled {crumpled} up and swallowed." {This is also a Taoist practice.}

pp. 362-3 (III.3.1.3) trance as praesence of a deity; manifestations of the soul

p. 362

"Some participants would enter into states of trance themselves and interpret them as manifestations of possessing entities. Taniguchi, for instance, `recounted that he heard and understood the questions of the saniwa as well as the answers that came out of his mouth, although he was trying to suppress them ... .


Asano’s wife, too, was reported to have felt the presence of a deity in her abdominal region and heard how its voice rose from there and issued through her mouth".

p. 363

For Asano, "it was relatively easy to explain hypnotism as "nothing but a technique through which the conductor’s soul is made to superimpose upon the receiver’s soul" ... . ...


Experiments with clairvoyance, too, Asano finally found easy to explain through ... souls and protective deities, both of which could partly leave their host’s body and perceive things physical eyes could not".

pp. (II.3.2.1) 368-9 apocalypse for Japan

p. 368

According to Deguc^i Nao, "The end was to begin with ... fire falling from the skies which would destroy the whole country ... . Only ... Ayabe, the country’s sacred centre, would be spared, and after about three years ... would then be reconstructed ... . People would then live simply, but happily ... . They would all be equal – including the emperor – and the earth’s creator, the deity Ushitora no Konjin, would rule the world."

p. 369

"Onisaburo also expected Amaterasu herself, not the emperor as her proxy, to descend to earth to save humankind".

pp. 374-6 (III.3.2.2) divine help in national crisis

p. 374

"Deguchi Nao did not overly value the emperor, because she held him partly responsible for ... social misery".

p. 375

"Corresponding to his utopian view of the future world, and based on the idea of Ayabe being ...

p. 376

model of the world, Onisaburo rather strove to .... turning Omoto’s headquarters in Ayabe into his utopia’s miniature model. Members in Ayabe lived a communal life ... sharing their resources".

pp. 377-8 (III.3.2.3) authoritative interpretation, to realize the existence of the deities

p. 377

"Onisaburo strove ... to provide members with his authoritative interpretation of Nao’s Fudesaki."

p. 377, fn. 35

"Onisaburo dictated the Reikai monogatari ostensibly in a state of divine possession, making it into a source as divinely inspired as Nao’s Fudesaki."

p. 378

"When Onisaburo joined Nao, ... his task, therefore, was to awaken the materialistic world to realize the existence and greatness of the deities and to open the way for ... the great god (Reikai monogatari I/preface:2)."

p. 382 (III.3.3) religious conversion of spirits; distinction between traditional and new useages of spirit-possession

In Omoto, "It was not generally believed that uninitiated lay people should be able to become possessed by deities high-ranking enough to present valuable information. These people were rather believed to be on their way to getting accustomed to religious practices, which required that the evil forces within them, lowly protective spirits and other beings, would have to be missionised by Omoto doctrine."

"Whereas traditional forms of mediated spirit possession catered for the medical and ceremonial needs of people – in pre-modern times treatment of illnesses relied heavily on various kinds of religious practices – Honda and Nagasawa ... were not concerned with everyday questions of business deals and harvests, but attempted to conduct research on ... the structure of the spirit worlds by chinkon and kishin."


III.4. "The saniwa, c^inkon kis^in’s mediator".

pp. 385-7 (III.4.1.1) music & intonation in spirit-possession ritual

p. 385

"As Nagasawa explained, in ancient times the task of bringing down the deity was performed by the player of the lute ..., whereas the saniwa identified and interrogated the deity : ...


[Kannagara : 5] Therefore, for spirit possession one must provide

a kannushi (spirit medium),

a player of the lute (person bringing the spirit down) and

a saniwa (referee), these three people.

Sometimes the saniwa can simultaneously be the person bringing the spirit ... .


According to Nagasawa’s explanation, the identity of the descending spirits depended largely on the player of the lute (Kannagara : 2 ...). ...

It was Honda who had combined the player of the lute with the saniwa and substituted the lute with a stone flute (Reigaku V: 37)."

p. 386

"Instead of the lute said to have been used in the ancient ritual, chinkon kishin’s saniwa played a stone flute (iwabue ..., or ishibue ...). Great importance was attributed to this flute, not only as an instrument for conducting chinkon kishin, but also as a sign of someone’s legitimation as a saniwa.

p. 386, fn. 5

"Asano reported that the names of several important deities – beginning with Ame no Minakanushi, Takamimusubi and Kamimusubi – were intoned at the very beginning of the session in 1916".

p. 387

There were also "shouted ... sounds such as "u, u" ... or "un, un" ..., to which belief in kotodama attributed the meaning that they caused the possessing entity to reveal itself."


"today ... practitioners listen to ... music by the two-stringed yakumogoto".

p. 390 (III.4.1.2) types of quaestions, or advice, posed to other oracles

In Omoto, "Depending on the possessing entity’s identity, these questions could either involve the acquisition or knowledge about the future

or divine matters,

or they involved lecturing to the being and converting it ... .

The abishaho’s [p. 60 (I.3.2.1) : /abis^a/ < Chinese /aweis^a-fa/ < Samskr.ta /a-ves.a/ (/a-/ ‘into’ ){: /VIS.n.u/ ‘Pervader’ (a meaning indicating a possessing-spirit’s ability to pervade a body)}] explanation stated that as a result of this ritual one would be able to know about things of the past, present and future.

During a typical yorigito, the shugenja cross-examined the possessing spirit about its reasons for taking possession of the patient.

At the core of oza, the maeza questions the deity inside the nakaza, for instance, about the best time for ascending Mount Ontake for the annual visit ... .

At Mount Hayama’s oracle, the sendatsu enquires about next year’s crops, impending calamities, and about auspicious dates for important events".

p. 392 (III.4.1.3) returning a malicious spirit, according to Nagasawa

(Kannagara : 4) "Occasionally, there is a being not obeying when told to withdraw after having taken possession [of someone] ..., or a being uttering irreverences to the deities during an oracle, ... and sometimes there are even beings who are so arrogant and impolite they do not even heed the saniwa’s cross-questioning and argue with them. ...

However, for beings which ... do not retreat, one has no choice but to use methods of exorcism [reibakuho ...] which ... drive it away. ... If one administers this method before the possessing spirit grows accustomed to it, it withdraws promptly. The method of exorcism is one of Honda Chikaatsu’s methods."

pp. 389, 394 praerequisites for a saniwa, according to Nagasawa

p. 394 (III.4.2.1) (Kannagara : 2) "Only is a saniwa is not well versed in ... geography to astronomy, mineralogy, physics, chemistry, ... philosophy or literature, he will not be able to distinguish between a true deity and a fake deity. Spirits of higher ranks can usually reply to scientific issues. But ... a saniwa is incompetent if he does not have a wide-ranging scientific knowledge."

p. 389 (III.4.1.2) (Kannagara : 7) "Some possessing beings give themselves the names of deities ... . The saniwa asks the following questions :

1. The meaning of the deity’s name.

2. Order and reason why the fixed stars and the planets have their current shape.

3. History of the earth during the geological age and order of its changes.

4. Problems concerning astrology and geology etc."

p. 403 (III.4.3) spirit-possession in S^innyoen

"In Shinnyoen, similarly, rituals of spirit possession, sesshin, are presided over by senior members who are trained and authorised to act as spirit mediums (reinosha ...). It is these spirit mediums who become possessed by a divine or ancestral being ... . ... . ... members may apply for the status of spirit medium after an average of fourteen years of membership."


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

p. 216, fn. 35 "An excellent source of information on present day Omoto is its official website ... (http://oomoto.or.jp )."