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Home » 9. Texts and Sources » Other Basic Texts
Banshinkō
(Ban Nobutomo)
This one-volume text was written by Ban Nobutomo(1) at an unknown date. Banshin literally means "foreign deities", but more specifically refers to the ancestors of immigrant families and the deities they introduced from their home countries. The text is an historical inquiry concerning the four kami enshrined at Hirano Shrine (saijin), which is itself valued as a myōjin taisha (a shrine of "famous kami"). These four kami are ancestors of the Kudara dynasty, the maternal ancestors of Emperor Kanmu whose roots lie in the Korean Penninsula; as such, these four kami are considered to be banshin. Among the four enshrined kami, Imakinokami (Seimyōō) ranks as the primary deity (honshin). In addition, the text seeks to demonstrate that the saijin of the Asukabe, Morimoto and Masamune Shrines are ancestors of the Kudara dynasty or Liu family of the Chinese Han dynasty and are therefore also banshin. Moreover, in the appendix it is pointed out that the saijin of Himekoso, Ōsake, Izushinimasu, Kyōman, and Koma Shrines, as well as the Eleven Shakuten of Daigakuryō, are also banshin. According to the introduction, this book seeks to elucidate the process by which ancestors of foreign families came to be enshrined in Japan; its target audience was people who thought worshipping banshin was a questionable activity as well as those who believed that banshin are the ancestors of "non-immigrant" lineages (torai igai kei ). Nobutomo examines Busshinron (theories concerning the relationship between hotoke (buddhas) and kami ) as evidence that hotoke were also introduced into Japan as banshin. He argues that the acceptance and worship of banshin is a feature of the "wide road" presented by the Japanese kami, and consequently that it should not be surprising in the least that Shintō would tolerate foreign deities. The Banshin is included in the Ban Nobutomo zenshū , volume 2 (1907, Kokusho Kankōkai), and in the Jingi zensho, volume 2 (1907, Kōten Kōkyōsho). See also banshin, gairaishi.

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