" Naniwa Tamatsukuri Gem
of a " Haniwa " of " Kiritsuma
-zukuri " ( gable ) style house
of the Yaoi Period "
The monument of
( Naniwa-Tamatsukuri Gem
Museum ) built to commemorate
the second millennium of
the foundation of the shrine.
The main deity enshrined
in this Shinto shrine is
( Shinto Shrine )
The Magatana on the right hand
is made of jade and is
Tamatsukuri Inari Shrine
( Gem Shrine )
3-ban 8-go Tamatsukuri 2-chome
Chuo-ku, Osaka City
Tel : 06-6941-3821
Fax : 06-6947-7418
E-mail : email@example.com
The Korean Peninsula
in the mid-4th century A.D.
The Ages of " the
Three Kingdoms "
The Tamatsukuri Shrine
is situated at the south
of the Osaka Castle.
Tamatsukuri Inari Shrine
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|Around the first century B.C.E., the Seto Inland Sea was penerated into
a large area of what is
called now Osaka. The penetrated sea of the Kawachi Bay was connected to the Osaka Bay.
People inhabited the narrow strip of the peninsula that is called now " Uemachi Daichi - Uemachi
Plateau ". The tradition of the Tamatsukuri-inari Shrine says that this Shrine was founded in the
eighteenth year of the reign of Emperor Suinin, or in 12 B.C.E. to enshrine the god " Ukanomitama
-no-Ôkami. "This god was born between the god Susano-o-no-mikoto and the goddess Kamuôichi
-hime and has been worshipped from ancient times as the spirit of rice, and the god of all kinds of
cereals and foods. The god came to be called Inari Ôkami. It was associated with the fox which
protects rice by catching sparrows which eats rice. The fox was considered as a messenger of
the Inari god but it came to be considred as the incarnation of the god itself. The fox is a mysterious
animal who hide itself at the sight of persons.
Immigrants from the Asian Continent are said to have arrived in Osaka with a higher civilization of
making articles of bronze and iron, and cultivation of rice. Prople began to settle down to engage
themselves in agriculture. The swampy land down the peninsula became useful for rice cultivation.
In the fourth century, Emperor Nintoku ruled Japan and Osaka was the capital of Japan .He was
well-known among Japanese people as one of the most benevolent rulers. The emperor did
not collect any tax during six years and made people free from any labour for three years.
He built canals, ponds and dikes. The Korean peninsula at that time was in the Ages of the Three
Kingdoms. ( 37 B.C.E - 668 C.E. ) Japan had close and friendly relations with the Kingdom of
Paekche known in Japan as " Kudara ". The allied troops of Japan and Paekche were defeated
in 663 at Hakusukinoe by the allied troops of China of Tang dynasty and Silla. The Kingdom of
Paekche, thus, perished for ever. In 668, the Kindgom of Silla unified the Korean Peninsula after
defeating the Kingdom of Koguryo.
The members of the Royal family, noblemen, and craftsmen of the perished Kingdom of Paekche
fled to Japan. They were received with much respect. They were given land,high-ranking positions
in the Japanese Imperial government. The craftsmen from Paekche contributed to building of the
temples, palaces and to promoting other industries.
Around the fourth century, there was a guild of gem makers called Tamatsukuri-be in the area
which is called now " Tamatsukuri - gem makers ". The Chronicle " Nihon Shoki " compiled
in 720 at the order of the Imperial House says that in 493, Hidakanokishi was sent to the
Kingdom of Koguryo in the north of Korean Peninsula to look for expert jewel makers.
The comma-shaped gems called " Magatama " are found only In Korea and Japan.They must
have their origin in Korea but they developed more in Japan.They were associated with
the Mythological Genesis of Japan.
" Magatama "is one of the Three Heavenly Treasures " Sanshu no Shingi " that the Goddess
of the Sun " Amaterasu Ômikami bestowed on the Heavenly Descendant Niigi-no Mikoto, as
the symbol of his sovereign rule on Earth, when he descended to Earth.
The Genuine Heavenly Magatama " Yasakani no Magatama " - the symbol of the Imperial
rule has been handed down from generation to generation to the present Emperor. It is said
that it is treasured in the " Kashikodokoro " shrine in the Imperial Palace. But, there is almost
no public inofrmation about it. We don't really know how it looks like. Legend says also that
the Godess of the Sun Amaterasu-no-Ômikami wore an ornament of magatama on her head.
The god Susano-o-no Mikoto asked her to give it to him. Susano-o-no-Mikoto is said to have
crushed it with his teeth and vomitted out 5 island creating gods.
The Magatama are comma-shaped curved gems usually made of precious stones like green
or greenish jades, blue agates,crystals or also many other materials. Why they are curved is
not known and is a mystery. Some people say that they were shaped after fish,human kidneys,
embryos, crescent moons, or the universe of Ying and Yang ( Moon and Sun).
The Magatama were worn as ornaments by high ranking government officials and noblemen.
Shintoist priests are believed to have used them to conduct some religious rites. The Magatama
were charms and symbols of power.
Ancient Japanese began to make Magatama in the third centrury C.E. and ceased making them
in the seventh century C.E. , when Buddhism which had been introduced a few centuries earlier
took firm root in Japan.
In the grounds of the temple, there is a cottage-like house which is a house in ancient times
of Kiritsuma style( gabled ) whose replicas called " Haniwa " have been discovered in many places
archaeological sites of Japan. The small house is a mini-museum called " Naniwa Tamatsukuri
gem Museum ". It houses many kinds of gems made in ancient times, and exibits of gem making.
" Naniwa " was the ancient name for Osaka. It meant " rapid currents in the sea ".
The shrine is on the south of Osaka Castle on Uemachi Plateau in Tamatsukuri 2-chome,
In the second half of the 6th century C.E., Japan had a short period of conflicts between
Buddhists and Shintoists. Buddhism was a new religion and had not yet any firm root in Japan.
The Soga clan and the prince regent Shotoku-Taishi, worshippers of Buddhism fought against
the clans closely related to the Shinto priesthood led by the Mononobe clan. The Mononobe
clan which had supported militarily the Imperial House since ancient times unknown were
defeated and perished for ever in the war and Buddhism began to be popular supported by
the Imperial House.
He fought againt the Mononobe clan to introduce Buddhism to Japan but not to deny the
Japanese gods of Shinto Religion. Although he declared in 594 in the name of the emperor the
Imperial Rescript to propagate Buddhism and promulgated in 604 the Seventeen Article
Constitution which provided that Buddha, Buddhist teaching and the Buddhist priests should
be revered, he issued in 607 the imperial rescript to adore the gods of Shinto religion.
The Shinto had been traditionally the religion of the Imperial House to which he belonged.
The prestage of the Imperial House is closely related to the Shinto religion. To deny the Shinto
religion would be therefore to denigrate the honor of the Imperial House. What he wanted was
peace and harmony.
He stated in the first article of the Seventeen Article Constitution, " WA - Harmony and peace "
is to be most valued, and an avoidance of wanton antagonism to be honored. All men are
easily infleunced by class and group feelings,and wise persons are rare among us.
Hence there are some who disobey their lords, masters and fathers or who maintain feuds
with the neighboring villages. But, when those above are harmonious and peaceful-minded
and those below are friendly and discuss harmouniously and peacefully the matters of the
communities and the State, there will be no discord and the right view-points of things naturally
gain acceptance and prevalence. Then any difficult task can be accomplished smoothly and
From the starting point of the introduction of Buddhism and foreign cultures, PrinceRegent
Shotoku wanted harmony, peace and coexistance between the religions, and between foreign
cultures and Japanese culture. When he was 16 years old, he participated in the war to introduce
Buddhism into Japan. It was an invevitable war for him to bring peace and harmony into
Japan. He wanted coexistance of Buddhism and Shinto religion. In spite of his sincere
wishes, the political conflicts would continue about a half century. In 643, prince Yamashiro
-no-Ôeno-ô, son of Prince regent Shotoku was killed by the troop of Soga-no Iruka and the
family of Prince Regent Shotoku perished for ever. In 645, Soga Iruka was killed in the
Imperial Palace by Prince Nakano Ôeno-ô, Nakatomi-no Kamatari and their assassines
to bring into Japan so called Taika Reform.
At the foot of Chausuyama Hill, near Shitennôji Temple, there is a Shinto Shrine called
Horikoshi-jinja Shrine. This shrine is said to have been built by Prince Regent Shotoku for the
thirty third Emperor Sushun, uncle of Prince Regent Shôtoku. The emperor was assassinated
in 592 by the assassin sent by Soga-no Umako, who was his father-in-law and and an important
comrade in the combat to introduce Buddhism in Japan. What Umako did was against the
principle of Prince Regent Shotoku who valued " WA - harmony and accord. " He and empress
Suiko, however,should have wanted to make the most of the power that Soga-no Umako had.
According to a tradition of the Shrine, before the Prince Regent
Shotoku Taishi ( 574 - 622 ) fought against the Mononobe clan
which was strongly opposed to the introduction of Buddhism in 587,
he had prayed to the god of the shrine, striking a piece of white
chestnut wood stick into the grounds at this shrine,saying " Let me
win, and bring forth branches and leaves as a sign of my victory. if we
could win, we will build the temple for the four buddhist guardian gods. "
The stick of the chestnut wood grew soon to be a tree with braches
and leaves and he could win the battle.He build Shiteñoji Temple.
The hill became to be called " Kurigaoka Yama - Chessnut Hill ". Some
careful Western readers may wonder why the prince regent prayed to
the Shinto god for the victory in the war against the pious Shinto believer
Mononobe clan who was opposed to the introduction of Buddhism.
He won the battle and built Shitennôji temple at the place called Arahaka
in Naniwa ( Osaka ) in 587.
The Mononobe clan believed firmly that the angers of the Japanese
gods at the introduction of Buddhism brought about serious
epidemics in the Asoka region.
According to tradition of the Chôgosonshi-ji in Nara prefecture,
while Prince Regent Shotoku prayed to Bishamonten god of the
Buddhist temple for victory in war, the god appeared on the back of a tiger and taught him secret arts to win the war, and Prince Shotoku won the war.
In the precincts of Tamatsukuri Shrine, there is a pond called " White Dragon Pond " and a bronze
replica of a white dragon. At the side of this pond, there was a buddhist hall for the eleven-faced
Kannon goddess carved from a chessnut wood of the tree in the hill by Prince Regent Shotoku.
It is said that the goddess Kannon appeared riding a white dragon. We know from an essay written
by Ihara Saikaku and a play script written by Chikamatsu Monzaemon that the Kannon Hall was
visited by many worshippers.
Prince Regent Shotoku was the son of the emperor Youmei. The ruling empress Suiko was his aunt.
Some Western readers may again wonder why such a wise prince could not rise to take the throne.
After the first ruling empress Suiko, Japan had 7 more ruling empresses mostly in the Asuka period.
The Soga clan was the most powerful, but there were other powerful clans like Mononobe.
Two of the ruling empresses re-assumed the throne with a different name for the second time, after
having retired once already. This was necessary to maintain a peaceful balance of power between
the conflicting clans. The empresses were elected to evade any disastrous confrontation between
the clans. Several princes were assassinated in the Asoka Period but no princess was
assassinated. No empress was treated ill like being expelled to a far-away island.
The ruling empress Suiko had been the empress of the emperror Bitatsu. He was a widow, after the
emperor died. The empress was a half brother of the emperor Susyun and the forth daughter of
emperor Kinmei. Her uncle was the head of the Soga clan, Soga no Umako.
Soga no Umako thought that she can be the best for the benefits of the Soga clan as a ruling
empress. He thought that she would not be antagonistic towards the Soga Clan like the emperor
Susyun who tried to ruin the Soga clan.
If his son-in-law, Prince Shotoku would assume the throne, they must have conflicts.
From the Heian Period until the present time, Japan has had only 2 ruling empresses. Both reigned.
during the the Edo Period. At that time, the enthronement of an empress had nothing to do
with the balance of powers because only the Shogunate had economic, military and political
powers. The Imperial Court long ago lost its economic and political power. She was just a figurehead,
as had been other emperors. The Shogunate exercised its strong political power in the succession
issue of the emperors and empresses. The ruling empress Meisho was the grand-daughter
of the second Shogun Hidetada. From 593 when empress Suiko assumed the throne until the
end of 8th century, there were 6 ruling empresses and 8 imperial reigns,as two empresses
once retired ascended once again the throne to fill the politicl vacuum.
During the battle in 1576, the main hall, the secondary halls and
historical records of the shrine were burnt down. The Toyotomis
considered the temple as the protector of Osaka Castle. Hideyori,
son of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, constructed several building of the
temple in 1603. It was burnt down again during the Battle of
Summer of Osaka en 1615. The Osaka Castle was burnt down
and the 2 generations of the Toyotomis ended.
Now, we can see the Torii gate donated by lord Toyotomi
Hideyori in 1603. A large part of it is burried underground
and only the top of it is exposed out of the grounds.
The Tokugawa Shogunate rebuilt the buildings of the temple. But, a great fire in 1863 which started in
Shinmachi spreaded to the Tamatsukuri area, and they burnt again.
After a short period of the ruling by a warlord, Osaka
soon belonged to the direct administration of the
Shogunate. The Shogunate sent to Osaka
governors. They were called " Osaka Jyodai "
the depuly ruler of the Osaka Castle. Each of them
stayed in office for some time.
During the opulent Genroku era in the Edo period, the
Buddhist Kannon Hall in the grounds of the shrine
was the 10th site of the 33 Kannon pilgrimage temples
in Osaka. There were 33 places where the buddhist
godess Kannon was enshrined. It was crowded with
many worshippers as described in two works of plays
written by the playwright Chikamatsu Monzaemon, and
the short story writer Ihara Saikaku.
They were rebuilt in the fourth year of the Meiji Era
(1871). On 23rd March 1945, at mid-night, Osaka
was covered by 274 American bombers B29. Almost
all the central areas of Osaka city were reduced
to ashes. The Tamatsukuri Inari Shrine could not be
escaped from the bombings. They were all burned
En 1954, the present temple buildings were built
again by the worshippers and parishioners
of the temple. In 1975, the road there was
designated as the first " History Walk Road "
by the Osaka city's government.. In 1976, the
temple held the ceremony to pray for the
coming successful celebration of the 2,000th
anniversary of the foundation of the temple,
inviting His Highness prince Mikasa-no-miya
Tomohito, mayor of Osaka City, other important
persons and the parishers.
In 1989, Tamatsukuri Inari Shrine celebrated
the 2,000th anniversary of its foundation.
The main god enshrined in Tamatsukuri Inari
Shrine is Ukanomitama-no-ôkami. The deity
was a son born to the god Susano-o-no-Mikoto
and the goddess Ôichi-no-Mikoto.
" Uke " or "Uka " meant foods and the spirit they holds
in ancient Japanese language,. " Ôichi " meant
" large markets " or commerce. The two deities, put
together, meant " distribution of foods " important
for the humans.
The god Ukanomitama-no-ôkami is the god of
abundant harvest and foods and the goddess Toyouke-
hime-Ôkami has the same character.
The latter is enshrined in the Gekû shrine ( outer shrine)
in the Ise Sanctuary. Both deities were confused and
considered as the same sometimes.
Foxes are considered as cunning and deceitful animals
in the Western countries, as described in the fairy tales
like Aesop's Fable. Aesop was a writer in ancient
Greece, cradle of Western Civilazation. The ancient
Greece had a rich mythology. The foxes appear in also
Foxes in Japan have double images. There are good
foxes and bad foxes. Both foxes and tanuki are
considered as deceitful animals. But, Tanuki have
.We have a popular saying of " Deceiving game
between fox and tanuki ", referring to two persons
who try to deceive each other.
In English speaking countries, they say " as sly as a fox ".
Foxes are considered also as " cunning" and "crafty ".
Some people think that foxes are beautiful and rare
creatures. They have sharp minds, and fast and hard to
In America, in the 1970's , a cute boy or girl was referred
to as a fox or as being foxy.
Foxes are considered as mysterious animals for us in
Japan, because they hide themselves very fast at the sight
of the humans. Tanuki, on the contrary, are not mysterious.
Recently in Kobe, they have begun coming down to the suburbs
of the city from the mountains. Some people have begun feeding
them so they have begun appearing everyday to be fed. They
have become something like pet animals, although they litter
Tanuki appear in fairy tales which Japanese mothers
tell to their children. Many Japanese children at the age
of six all over Japan know them in common. They are
cunning animals but humorous animals for many
There are many legends also about foxes, good foxes
and bad foxes. But, most of them are well-known only
regionally, not like the fairy tales of Tanuki with which
Japanese children are familiar.
In Europe, foxes are considered bad animals as
they eat harvested crops. Foxes are considered, however, in
Japan as good animals. They catch and eat rats and
sparrows, which eat harvested crops. Scarecrows, which
are in rice paddies, are actually used to scare off sparrows.
In 1747, " Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura - Yoshitsune and
1,000 cherry trees " written by plywright Takeda Izumo
and two other plywrights was put on the stage of puppet
show plays. It was adapted later into Kabuki theater.
Takeda Izumo made the fiction story of Minamoto no
Yoshitsune. He was a younger brother of Minamoto no
Yoritomo, the first shogun of the Kamakura Shogunate.
Yoshitsune was always loyal to his brother,and fought
hard and bravely for his bother, but was tragically
ill-treated and persecuted by the first shogun Yoritomo.,
as the shogun was jealous of the favors which his younger
brother obtained from the Imperial Court and his fame
as a brilliant warrior in so many battles. The shogun finally
wanted to kill his younger brother Yoshitsune.
Yoshitsune wanted to flee leaving the capital of Kyoto. His
illigitimate wife Shizuka Gozen wanted to acompany him.
Yoshitsune didn't permitted her to go with him. He gave her
the wonderful hand drum called " Hatsune no Tsuzumi "
given to him by the emperor and ordered one of his samurai
Sato Tadanobu to stay with her to guard her.
Lady Shizuka Gozen was humble by birth. She was an
entertainer( dancer and musician ). She and Yoshitsune
are the favorite doll characters on the carriages in many
festivals specially in the Kanto region.
The brave samurai Tadanobu was a fox in his real form.
The hand drum was made of the skin of his parent
foxes.He longed to see his parents and so wanted
to become a retainer of Yoshitsune who owned the hand
drum made of the skin of his parents.
In the Kabuki play " Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura ", some actors
are very skillful at depicting the momentary transformations
that reveal Tadanobu's true identity - the white fox who longs
who longs for his parents.
In our Japanese culture, the trragic heroe, unsuccessful
and ill-rewarded, have been beloved and admired more
than the successful heroes by Japanese people. This
cultural trait is called " Hangan Biiki ". or preference to
Hangan, which was title bestowed on Yoshitsune by the
" Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura " is considered as one of
the tree master-pieces of the Kabuki plays.
It is very difficult to see foxes in the mountain, as they
hide themselves quickly at the sight of the humans.
On the contrary, In Kobe city, tanuki come down to its
suburbs from the mountain. Some people feed them.
So, they began to appear everyday to be feeded well.
Foxes were sometimes considered as good animals,
because they catch and eat rats and sparrows which
eat harvested crops. Scare-crows which are in rice
paddies are actually scare-sparrows.
In the street in front of the Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto,
there are many shops which sell grilled sparrows. Tourists
and worshippers eat them heads, bones and all. It is
believed that fried tofu is also a favorite food of foxes. Noodle
in a soup with fried tofu on its top is called Kitsune Udon,
or fox noodle. Kitsune Udon is one of the typical food of
Fried tofu stuffed with vinegared and boiled rice and other
ingridients in it is called Inari Azushi.
The word Inari is said to have come from " Ine Nari - rice
growing " and also the practice of carrying sheaves of
harvested rice on the shoulders to a shrine in order to
offer it to the gods.
As foxes protected crops, catching sparrows which
eat cereals, they were considered as the messengers
of the god Ukanomitama-no-ôkami. In the course of
time, foxes became confused as being deities themselves.
It is not known well when foxes began to be considered
Since ancient times, they have been considered as
messengers sent by gods to protect harvests, and
would go back to mountains after havest times.
Saint Kukai ( Kôhô Taishi ) returned to Japan in 806
after having learned in China the Esoteric Buddhism
which he bagan propagating in Japan.The Hindu
goddess Dakini ( Dakiniten in Japanese ) got confused
with the Inari god. This gave birth to buddhist Inari
Toyokawa Inari Temple in Toyokawa City, Aichi prefecture is the most important Buddhist Inari Temple. Its sub-temples are found in Tokyo and also in other prefectures.
Toyokawa Inari temple was founded in 1441. Its 30 meter high Main Hall was completed in 1930, after 20 year long works. There are 100 temple buildings in a area of 110,000 square meters.
The Inari gods which had been originally the deities of Abundant harvest and foods were the almighty gods of commerce, industries, ever-lasting prosperity and hapiness of people in the Edo Period.
Now, the Inari gods are worshipped far and wide in Japan. Among 80,000 shintoists shrines, about
32,000 are said to be Inari Shrines. But, people have more small Inari Shrines in their factories, in
their shops, restaurants, gardenes,offices, warehouses and individual houses, and many places.
Even if they are not Inari shrines, many shrines have small inari sub-shrines which can be identified
easily for their stone statues of foxes and vermillion-colored wooden Torii gates. ( See the above
The most important Shintoist Inari Shrine is Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine ( Grand Fushimi Inari
Shrine ) in Fushimi-ku,in the south of Kyoto city. A large area of Fushimi-yama mountain is the
sanctuary of the shrine and it has an area of 870,000 square meters, 22 times more larger than
the Kôshien Baseball Stadium. The long tunnel of 10,000 red Torii gates at Grand Fushimi Inari
Shrine are well-known. In the Edo Period, when people prayed to the the god of the Shrine and the
god came through with the wishes, they associated the realized wishes with " go through the
Torii gates " and donated Torii gates. Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine is a head shrine of 30,000 Inari
shrines in Japan. The devided spirit of this head shrine must be transferred to a new Inari shrine.
But, the buddhist Inari shrines and Tamatsukuri Inari shrine are independant from Fushimi Inari
Taisha Shrine. Tamatsukuri Inari was founded seven centuries before the foundation of Fushimi
Legend says that Hata no Irokogu enshrined a deity in the Inari mountain in 711, which is said to be
the origin of Grand Fushimi Inari Shrine. Hata clan is to have come from China, but some historians
believe that it is not a trustowothy legend and they should have come from Silla in the Korean
Peninsula. They were experts in cultivation of silk worms and making silk textile goods.
The Inari god was originally a god for harvested cereals became a good for prosperous business
and industries, health of family, and for more in the Edo Period. During the three days of the New
Year, 2 millions and a half people visit Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine.
Children Taiko Parade
The chief priest of Tamatsukuri Inari Shrine, Mr. Suzuki Kazuo was deeply concerned with
recent sad and tragic ill-treatments of children and infants and crimes by children even
murders which we did not know a few years ago and in any ages of our history, even in
the times of successive wars.
Something must be wrong in our society , in our education system or in our families. Mr.
Suzuki Kazuo, to make children happier, decided to organize the children's parade of
people who lived 400 years ago in Tamatsuruki area.
The parade took place took place on August 6th 2004. The parade of children clad as warlords,
samurai, ladies and princesses walked 2 kilometers fron Tamatsukuri Shrine to Osaka Castle.
I hope that this parade will become a new tradition of Osaka and will be held every year.
More About Tamatsukuri Shrine
The Japanese Traditional Customs and ceremonies
The Holy Land Blessed by the gods ( Japanese Mythology )
The remains of the well of Lord Hosokawa Ecchû-no-Kami Tadaoki
and Lady Gracia and the ages in which lived in.
( Near the Tamatsukuri Shrine )
Shitennôji Temple and Prince regent Shotoku Taishi -
Introduction of Buddhism in Japan （ Under construction )