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Oamushirare

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  • Japanese/Okinawan: 大阿母志良礼 (Ooamushirare / Ufuanshitari)

The Ôamushirare, or Ufuanshitari in Uchinaaguchi, were three high-ranking priestesses directly below the Kikoe-ôgimi, the top high priestess of the Ryûkyû Kingdom. Their residences in Shuri (Sui), Gibo (Jiibu), and Makabe (Makan) doubled as sacred sites, or shrines.

The positions were created during the reign of Shô Shin, alongside the reorganization of much else regarding the position of kikoe-ôgimi, the hierarchy of priestesses, and their powers and responsibilities. The three Ôamushirare were selected from among the women of the Shuri aristocracy, and accompanied and aided the kikoe-ôgimi in her travels, rituals, and prayers for the king's health and safety, for the kingdom's longevity, abundant harvests, and safe voyages. Each was also responsible for overseeing one-third of the kingdom's utaki (sacred sites) and noro (priestesses). The Shuri Ôamushirare oversaw the Ôamu priestess of Kumemura, as well as the noro of Haebaru, Sashiki, and Ôzato, while the Makabe priestess oversaw the Ôamu of Naha, Izumisaki, and Isobe, as well as Ôamu tsukasa (priestess officials?) of Miyako and Yaeyama, and the noro of a number of areas including Kumejima, Kushi, Nago, Yomitanzan, Chatan, Mabuni, Kyan, Makabe, Takamine, Kochinda, Kanegusuku, Mawashi, Tomigusuku, and Oroku. The Gibo Ôamushirare was responsible for twelve magiri and three islands, including overseeing the Ôamu of Tomari, and the noro of the Nishi-nu-hira neighborhood of Shuri, and the magiri of Urasoe, Ginowan, and Nishihara, and the islands of Kerama, Aguni, and Tonaki.

Following the fall of the kingdom in 1879, the three separate shrines of the Ôamushirare were relocated to a single site within the grounds of the Buddhist temple Tenkai-ji, called Mitunchi ("three mansions"). The former location of Jiibu dunchi, the residence & shrine of the Gibo priestess, was sold in the Taishô period, becoming privately owned, and is today the site of a Lions Mansion apartment complex.

References

  • Plaque at former site of Jiibu dunchi.[1]
  • Plaque at former site of Makan dunchi. [2]
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