There is a Shintô shrine called "Iminomiya Jinja" in Chôfu quarter of Shimonoseki City, where Kyokuyo Shipyard is located. You may have seen its guardian before, as we ask him to attend our keel-laying and other ceremonies, if they are held with Shintô rites.
I would like to express my deepest sympathy for the victims of the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck North Japan on March 11. I also sincerely wish the affected people a speedy recovery from this disaster.
For your information, located in the westernmost end of Japan's Honshu Island, Kyokuyo Shipyard Corporation has not suffered any damage. We are operating normally.
President, Kyokuyo Shipyard Corporation
This "Jinja" has a long history. It is said that the historic shrine was built around 200 A.D. by the legendary Empress Jingū to commemorate the death of her husband, Emperor Chûai.
Innomiya Jinja hosts a unique festival "Suhôtei Matsuri" which was designated by Yamaguchi Prefecture as intangible cultural property. Every year, between August 7 and 13, local people gather at the shrine to walk around a giant stone with very tall bamboo labarums attached to their body. This year, about 200 people participated the festival (besides a lot of spectators) and the tallest labarums was 30m high, and weighed 100kg...
Believe or not, the matsuri also dates back to the 2nd century. The curious rite is said to imitate the victory dance after central Japan-based Yamato government's win against allied forces of south Japan-based Kumaso and then eastern Korea-based Silla, which attacked from the air, riding black cloud. The emperor Chûai played the central role in that war, legend says. People used to use pikes and fauchards, but they were replaced by bamboo at the end of 18th century by order of the feudal lord.
So why don't you come over to Shimonoseki to witness this curiously-ritualized-ancient-barbarism-maybe ? (Those who have no such time - please follow the link below to experience its uniqueness a little bit)
home > news > Webmaster's Column No.9 : Innomiya Shrine & Suhotei Matsuri