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Home » 5. Rites and Festivals » Rituals in Daily Life
Jōtōsai
An architectural ritual; also called the 'muneage' (roof-raising). This ritual is performed during construction of a new building to pray that there will be no problems with the new building's roof during or after construction. References to jōtōsai in some Nara period literature, and is thought to have been conducted within the Imperial Palace beginning in the mid-Heian period and at the Grand Shrines of Ise beginning in the late-Heian or early-Kamakura period. These rituals range from elaborate formal ceremonies to simple events, and differentiated as formal or "true", abbreviated or "practical", and ad hoc or "grass-roots" versions of the ceremony. There are also three distinct ways in which it is performed: one in which the altar and ceremony are on the roof; one in which the altar is on the roof but the ceremony is conducted under it; and one in which both the altar and the ceremony are both conducted under it. This ritual is usually held at the stage of construction when the basic framework of columns and beams has been completed and the roof's ridgepole is raised into place. The jōtōsai was not among the Shinto rites formalized in the 1875 Rules for Ritual Procedure at Shrines, so it took various forms in different regions, but today the Association of Shinto Shrines (Jinja Honchō) has established a standardized version for it in its Shosaishiki yōakō (Outline of Various Ceremonies), according to which the standard enshrined kami (saishin) worshipped in the ceremony are the "four pillar" kami, Yafunekukunochi no mikoto, Yafune toyoukehime no mikoto, Tokihooi no mikoto, and Hikosashiri no mikoto, and the ubusunakami ("Protector kami of the life-giving land") of the region. The usual ritual proceeds first with a hand washing ritual, followed by a purification ritual, a ritual invoking the descent of the kami, the presentation of the rice offerings; and then the recitation of a norito liturgy by the head ritualist. After that, the three rituals that are unique to the jōtōsai are performed. The first of these is the rope-pulling ritual, which symbolizes the raising of the ridgepole onto the rooftop. The second is the mallet-striking ritual, wherein the ridgepole is symbolically pounded into place. The third and final ritual is that of scattering offerings, in which mochi and coins are tossed to those below. After those three rituals are concluded, the ceremony finishes with a ritual bow, a ritual scattering of rice offerings, and the ascent of the kami.

— Endo Jun
"Establishment of a National Learning Institute for the Dissemination of Research on Shinto and Japanese Culture"
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