Munakata Shrine

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  • Japanese: 宗像大社 (Munakata taisha)

Munakata Shrine is a collection of three shrines located on different islands, but all within the Munakata district of Fukuoka prefecture. They are divided into Hetsu-miya in Tashima (on the mainland of Kyushu), Nakatsu-miya on the island of Ôshima, and Okitsu-miya on Oki Island (Oki no shima).

The three enshrine three daughters of Amaterasu, Ichikishima-hime no kami, Tagitsu-hime no kami, and Tagori-hime no kami, said to have been born in conjunction with a truce or peace agreement made between Amaterasu and her brother Susano-o.

The islands on which the latter two shrines are located are considered quite sacred, and are associated with the identification or protection of Japan as the "land of the gods" (shinkoku). When the 1719 Korean embassy to Edo, riding on ships provided by Fukuoka han, nearly became shipwrecked in a storm, the Fukuoka samurai captains had them take refuge on the tiny and nearly uninhabited Jinoshima, rather than allow foreigners to set foot on the sacred Ôshima (which had more facilities and from a purely practical standpoint would have provided better refuge).


  • Nam-Lin Hur, "A Korean Envoy Encounters Tokugawa Japan: Shin Yuhan and the Korean Embassy of 1719," Bunmei 21 no. 4 (Aichi University, 2000), 71, 72n9.
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