banshin 蕃神
KEY WORD : architecture / shrines
Also kyakushin 客神, ishin 夷神. Also written 蛮神 banshin. Gods that were thought to have originated from outside Japan. In very ancient times Japanese people imagined that gods lived in countries extremely remote from Japan. People also believed that many of these deities came to Japan before the advent of Buddhism. Such gods were called banshin and were integrated with the pantheon of indigenous gods or kami 神. After Buddhism had become well established, Buddhist gods were grouped as Buddha's, hotoke 仏, or Bodhisattvas *bosatsu 菩薩. Hiruko 蛭子--who is worshipped at Inari 稲荷, Hachiman 八幡, Matsuo Taisha 松尾大社, and Hakusan Jinja 白山神社, has characteristics very unlike gods indigenous to Japan and is presumed to have belonged originally to the banshin. Two of the four deities worshipped at Hirano Jinja 平野神社 in Kyoto are believed to have come from the Paekche kingdom in Korea. Any special building said to contain a foreign god is called banshindou 蕃神堂.


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