About Usa and Kunisaki Peninsula Travelers
Kunisaki Peninsula in Oita, home to various shrines and temples, is said to be the birthplace of Shinto and Buddhism syncretism. Our association was set up in 2014, to attract travelers by promoting Rokugo Manzan, a unique Buddhist sect in which monks train in the mountains.
We are working with both the government and the private sector to preserve the local culture, and to create new projects to revitalize the area.
The Onie Ritual
Rokugo Manzan, a unique Buddhist sect in which the monks train in the mountains, has prospered for more than 1,300 years in Kunisaki Peninsula, receiving support from Usa Jingu. Onie, one of its important rituals, is designated as an important intangible cultural property, and held annually at the lunar New Year to ward off evil spirits.
Oni (ogres) are generally regarded as evil in folklore, but the local residents here speak affectionately about them. As the legend goes, a local oni was a deity in disguise, working to exorcise evil spirits. There is even a record of an onie ritual held about 1,000 years ago in the Heian Period, praying for a good harvest and safety for the people.
The Shujo-onie ritual lasts for more than twelve hours, starting at 15:00 and ending the next day at 5:00. It takes about two months of preparation with total commitment from the local community.
Three people participate in the ritual:
- Monk: The master of ceremony who also acts as an oni.
- Taireishi: A local resident who assists the monk.
- Host: A local resident who invites the oni into his or her house.
The photograph above shows the three parties.
An Event Without Spectators
Due to COVID-19, spectators will not be allowed to attend the Shujo-onie Festival this year. So, we plan to offer support by distributing the traditional event online, using contemporary technology.
"We hope to deliver the atmosphere of a live event to the audience. Our return gifts were selected so that they encourage the supporters to visit Kunisaki when the pandemic settles down."
Akiyoshi Buncho, Bureau Chief of Usa and Kunisaki Peninsula Travelers
The association prays that, with your support, the event can be held in a normal fashion next year, and many people will visit Kunisaki.
Details of the Online Streaming
The Shujo-onie will be streamed online twice. While there were talks about cancelling the event, the community ultimately decided to host the ritual without spectators. The decision to distribute the event online was made after conferring with the organizers, and viewers will be able to enjoy the highlights of this ancient ritual, including the appearance of the oni. There will be no editing, so please look forward to the broadcast.
- Shujo Onie at Iwatoji Temple: February 13 (Sat.), from 17:45 to 19:00
- Shujo Onie at Tennenji Temple: February 18 (Thu.), from 20:00 to 21:30
The URL of the event will be sent to supporters. Please note that the distribution may not go as scheduled, due to technical problems. In case of difficulties, a new date and URL will be sent to the supporters.
A Special Performance of Buddhist Chant and Noh Theater: A Prayer to End the Pandemic
- March 10 (Wed.), from 19:00 to 20:00
This event can be viewed by all supporters.
Buddhist Chant and Noh Theater
Shomyo, a style of Buddhist chant, is said to be the origin of music in Japan.
Kagura-mai (sacred dance performed at shrines), Buddhist chant, and Noh theater will be performed on this day.
The contribution from supporters will be used as follows.
- Preservation of the Shujo-onie Ritual.
- Operational costs for the online distribution.
- Preventive measures for the spectators attending next year's onie.
We hope to hear from you soon.