- What is Kuze Komagata Chigo? 久世駒形稚児とは？
- With Komagata 駒形, he is considered as the Deity
- The two aspects of the Deity integrated
- When can we see Kuze Komagata Chigo? 久世駒形稚児を拝見する機会
- Ayato Kuninaka shrine 綾戸國中神社
What is Kuze Komagata Chigo? 久世駒形稚児とは？
Kuze Komagata Chigo is the most important figure in Gion Matsuri festival. On his steed, he participates in Gion Matsuri festival with put a horse head on his chest and leads a Mikoshi when it goes to downtown and comes back to Yasaka shrine. (See around 0:09 in the video.)
His name is divided into three words: “Kuze” is a name of place, “Komagata” is a kind of figurine of horse, and”Chigo” is a child. In the following chapters, I’ll show you what each word mean along with his role in the festival.
With Komagata 駒形, he is considered as the Deity
Kuze is a rural area located it the southern part of Kyoto. Kuze Komagata Chigo came from Ayato Kuninaka shrine which enshrines Suasanoo no Mikoto as Yasaka shrine does.
He has a Komagata, a wooden horse head in his chest. It is a Goshintai of Ayato Kuninaka shrine. Goshintai is an object Shinto Deity descend to. With it, he was considerd as Aramitama of Susanoo no Mikoto.
See the video. He is in the area of Yasaka shrine. In Japan, no one, even Emperor, can be in Shinto shrine on horse back. Kuze Komagata Chigo is an exeption because he is Susanoo no Mikoto.
The two aspects of the Deity integrated
Shinto Deity has sometimes two aspects: The tender aspect called “Nigimitama (和魂)” and the rough one called “Aramitama (荒魂).” For example, Nigimitama brings us good harvest and Aramitama brings us disasters. We often see both of them put together to be a supreme state to make important Matsuri complete. For example, in Mikage matsuri, a Matsuri held prior to Aoi Matsuri festival, Aramitama and Nigimitama of Shimogamo shrine are integrated to celebrate Aoi Matsuri festival.
In Gion Matsuri, the same kind of integration is executed. It is said that both of them are merged into the supreme state. (It is very hard to translate the original sentence. It reads「一体にして二神、二神にして一体で神秘の極み」 )
Without Kuze Komagata Chigo, Mikoshis cannot leave Yasaka shrine to Otabisho. Otabisho is located downtown and the Deities of Yasaka shrine stay there about one week to put the Ekishin, the Deities who cause epidemics. (In Japan, we have good and evil Deities.) That is, without him, the aim of Gion Matsuri cannot be acomplished.
On the day of Shinkosai, he left Ayato Kuninaka shrine to Yasaka shrine. Before he reaches Yasaka shrine, he visit Hararyokaku spice shop, a ritual is held and he changes cloth and put the Goshintai on his chest to be Susanoo no Mikoto. This ritual started some 300 years ago.
It is not clear when Kuze Komagata Chigo became an integral person of Gion Matsuri. The Yasaka Jinja Monjo, the document compiled by Yasaka Shrine says that a person in charge of Komagashira (駒頭) have pawned it. Komagashira means “horse head.” It is controversial whether this Koamagashira is the same thing as Komagata Kuze Komagata Chigo has today.
These are parts of a picture called Gion-e Atomatsuri Yamahoko Junkozu Byobu. It describes the Atomatsuri in the 17th century. In the red circle, there is a child who has a horse head in the chest. This picture tells us that there was a Chigo who wore horse head at least about 300 years ago.
When can we see Kuze Komagata Chigo? 久世駒形稚児を拝見する機会
Kuze Komagata Chigo Shasan 13 July 久世駒形稚児社参
We have two Kuze Komagata Chigo. The younger one leads Mikoshi in Shinko Sai and the other one leads it in Kanko Sai. Both of them visit Yasaka shrine on the day to pray for Susanoo no Mikoto. They are not on horses because without Komagata, they are still human beings.
14:00~ at Yasaka shrine
Sinko Sai 17 July 神幸祭
Three Mikoshis depart Yasaka shrine to Otabisho taking different routes each other. Kuze Komagata Chigo leads Nakagoza Mikoshi.
With Komagata, he is the Deity and he never touches his feet on the ground.
16:00~ at Yasaka shrine
Nakagoza Mikoshi and he leaves Yasaka shrine around 18:00 and arrives at Otabisho around 21:00.
In front of Otabisho, you can experience the most exiting moments in Gion Matsuri.
Kanko Sai 24 July 還幸祭
Nakagoza Mikoshi and he left Otabisho around 17:00.
Around 17:30, they reache a small shrine called Ohmandokoro Otabisho. In ancient times, Otabisho was located here.
After that, they arrive at Shinsen-en temple. This is the place where the first Gion Matsuri was held 1151 years ago.
Then thet arrive at Matatabisha shrine around 20:00.
In the end, they come back to Yasaka shrine around 22:00.
Ayato Kuninaka shrine 綾戸國中神社
What is Ayato Kuninaka shine? 綾戸國中神社
Ayato Kuninaka shrine is located in Minami ward of Kyoto city. Ayato Kuninaka Shrine was fusion of Ayato shrine and Kuninaka shrine. So, we can find name boards of them. It enshrines Susanoo no Mikoto. When he descended there, he made a horse head, i.e. Komagata which Kuze Komagata Chigo wears today.
About 15 minutes walk from JR Katsuragawa station. The red alien indicates the entrance. Shamusho office is next door to Sugiura farmacy.