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Onshi Maruoka Sodayu Residence

Onshi Maruoka Sodayu Residence



 

Onshi Maruoka Sodayu

Maruoka Sodayu was once an onshi in theYamada area (today's lse City).

He moved to the present site at Eboshizekoa narrow street  in Shimona-kanogo
town in 1602. Until the Meijigovernment ordered an end to the onshi 
business in
July 1872
his family worked as onshia kind of Shinto priest of Ise Jingu (Geku)
and also as administrative officers in theself-governed Yamada area.

Maruoka Sodayu was a mid-level onshi whorepresented 8,000 households in
Osaka and Nagano Prefecture. Some notebookswere found in the Maruoka

Sodayu house that contained information onwhat fees were collectedthe visitors'
schedules as well as menus. Wecan also see memorial prayer 
plaques, vermilion
lacquered dinnerware,and other historical artides in the 
house.

*Onshi were people who served as innkeeperstour guidesand priests to people
visiting Ise Jingu from other areas.

A recreation of a dinner menu found in an oldbook from the Maruoka Sodayu house

served on antique dinner ware. 

A menu used for guests from Fukagawa Edo (today's Tokyo).

 

The only remaining onshi house

This house is the only remaining residence ofan onshi and therefore is an important
part of Japan's history. Theremnants show that the Maruoka 
family lived there for many generationsbeginning in the 17th century.

According to documents found in the housethe Nagayamon* gatemain
entrancekitchenand mainresidence were built in 1866 at a cost of 700 gold ryo.
It survived the air bombing inJuly 1945. Ultimately
the south part of the house was
lost to decay
howeverthe 230 square meter main building is still intact.
Currentlythere are some old gates of onshi houses in Ise City. The Fukushima
Misakidayu gate is at theentrance of the Jingubunko library 
and the Hayamadayu
gate is near the easternpart of Chokokan museun.

However, they are Yakuimon*type gates, notthe Nagayamon type like that found at
the Maruoka Sodayu house.

After the end of the onshi business in 1872many documents and artifacts related
to onshi were lost from the Yamada area.So, the Maruoka Sodayu 
house is very
important resource for us tostudy the history of the 
Yamada area, because it has its
ownbuilding, documents and antiques still 
intact.

 

*Nagayamon gate:

A gate with a warehouse. Rooms were builton either side of the gate and they were
often used as guardhouses. Theywere often found in Bukeya-
shiki (samurai
residences) in the Edoperiod.

 

*Yakuimon gate:

A gate having one roof covering both mainand rear pillars.

amulet printing block

 

Onshi in Ise Yamada

The onshi's job was to convey people'sprayers to the deities of Ise Jingu. The inner
sanctum of IseJingu was exclusive 
to the Emperor until the Meiji period.
In Japanese
this is called Shihei Kindan. It was built for theemperor to pray for
peace and good harvests. However
towards the end of the Heian periodas the
legal system (called Ritsuryo) 
became unstableIse Jingu faced an economic crisis
and 
many Jingu territories were taken over by samurai warriors. On the other
hand
court nobles(called Kuge) and feudal lords (called Daimyo) still wantedto
worship at Ise 
Jingu. Onshi started giving Kagura* prayersat their own premises for
powerful people other than the emperor. This 
was the start of the onshi profession.
In the Edo periodonshi started visiting ordinary people and farmers all over Japan
to sell talismansfrom Ise Jingu and 
to receive fees for performing ceremonies. Onshi
provided 
lodgingfood and drinklocal toursand Kagura prayers. ln the mid-18th
century
there were 750 onshi (480 in Yamada and 270 in Uji) in today's Ise City
and they welcomed 
pilgrims from all over Japan.

The onshi not only acted as Shinto priestsbut also as administrative officers of the
Yamadaself-governed area.

As for the economyonshi built trust in the economy by distributing Yamada
notes
the oldest paper money in Japanwhich were first issued in the Yamada
area. In addition
they established Toyomiyazaki Bunko library and school. There
they collected many valuable books to offer education 
and invited some prominent
scholars to visit.

 

*Kagura a ceremony involving the reading of prayers,dancing and purfication with
boiled water and a ritual object called a sakaki.


Onshi in Ise Sangu Meisho Zue:


A geographical booktet of historic sites inIse Yamada (today's Ise City) in the latter
part of the Edo period.


Restoration of the Maruoka Sodayu house

In December2010volunteers whowere concerned about the house got together
to clean and openthis historical 
building to the public. 0n Apri1 182012NPO Kyu
onshi 
Maruoka Sodayu Tei Hozon Saisei Kaigi NPO Onshi Maruoka Sodayu
House Restoration Committee
was established. Monthly cleaningrepairingand
gardening are the 
main activities of the committee.

 

NPO activities

Some of the NPO Onshi Maruoka Sodayu House Restoration
Committee activities indude ancient document seminarsrecreation of onshi menus
talisman making

classespilgrim-themed tours and walking tours around the Yamada area and
educational programs for elementary 
school students and foreign exchange students.

 

Cooperation

Building inspection and drawings fordocumenting the house are done by the Ise
architects association. Ancient document 
organization and bibliography making
aredone by the Ise 
City History Compilation section. Antique investigation is
performed by the Mie Prefectural Museum.

Ancient document seminars are offered by students from Kogakkan university.
Public viewing and event management 
are handled by the Ise local History Association.

 

Regisiered tangible cultural assets of Japan

As a result of these restoration activitiesthe main building, Nagayamon gateand  Tsuijibei fence became registered tangible cultural assets of Japan on August42015.
It is 
now known to the public that the house is a highly important part of our
historical heritage
and the committee hopes that visitors approve their restoration
activities and the house 
becomes a center for Ise Yamada history and culture through the aforementioned activities they offer.


Non-profit Organization

Kyu Onshi Maruoka Sodayu Tei Hozon SaiseiKaigi

address:1-9-7 Miyamachi, Ise City

TeL: 0596-27-0455

E-mail: tak17amigo2.nejp

 

Photograohy by Kazyhuri Suzuki (2015)

Translation by Yuko Hanabusa.

Copyright © Kyu Onshi Maruoka Sodayu Tei Hozon SaiseiKaigi
 
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