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Yabosa

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  • Other Names: yabusa

Yabosa, also known as yabusa, are a type of sacred space commonly found on Iki Island, Tsushima, and parts of mainland Kyushu. Most are believed to date from the 1350s, or perhaps earlier. In most cases, they enshrine the spirits of local village founders, settlers, and pioneers, or deities associated with protecting such figures. Several notable Shinto shrines in Kyushu dedicated to the spirit of Minamoto no Tametomo are yabusa sites, and Tametomo is frequently referred to as Yafusa-san.

Such sites typical center on a pile of stones gathered around a tree, and a stone altar, placed near a natural water source and in a site which receives considerable sunlight.

Some have suggested that these sites bear a connection with the Yabusatsu (or Yabusasu) utaki (sacred sites) on Izena Island and at Sashiki Tamagusuku in southern Okinawa Island.

References

  • Gregory Smits, Maritime Ryukyu, University of Hawaii Press (2019), 29-30.
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