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Home » 8. Schools, Groups, and Personalities » Medieval and Early Modern Schools
Tsuchimikado Shintō
A form of Shinto formulated in the mid-Edo period by the head of court diviners (onmyō no kami) Tsuchimikado Yasutomi. Yasutomi synthesized the astrological and calendrical theories transmitted by the Onmyōdō specialists of the Abe clan (later known as Tsuchimikado) that originated with the Heian period diviner Abe no Seimei, also commingling elements from Suika Shintō and Ise Shintō. Based on the legendary founder's name, the tradition is also called Abe Shintō, Anke Shintō (both referring to "the Shintō tradition of the Abe family"), and Tensha Shintō (written with characters meaning either "heavenly shrine" or "heavenly pardon"). Yasutomi himself, however, claimed to the astrologist Shibukawa Harumi (1639-1715) that he would henceforth call his tradition Anke Shintō, and that he would adopt the teachings of Yamazaki Ansai and Watarai Tsuneakira as supports. Onmyōdō was reportedly introduced to Japan in the eleventh year of the reign of Empress Suiko (603) by Kwalluk, a Buddhist monk from Paekche. Under the later Ritsuryō Codes, the Onmyōryō (Bureau of Ying-Yang Affairs) was placed under the supervision of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (Chūmushō); the head of the Ying-Yang Bureau (onmyō no kami) was responsible for making secret reports to the emperor regarding anomalous astrological and meteorological phenomena. In the Heian Period, Kamo no Yasunori (919-977), said to be a descendant of Kibi no Makibi and expert in both calendar lore and astrology, transmitted his knowledge of calendrical studies to his own son Mitsuyoshi (939-1015) and his astrology knowledge to Abe no Seimei. Subsequently, the Kamo House (later known as Kōtokui) specialized in the calendrical sciences (rekidō), while the Abe House remained in charge of astrological sciences (tenmondō). In the Muromachi period, Abe Arinaga (1527-1577) was elevated to the third court rank—the first of the Abe family to be so honored—after which time the lineage was named Tsuchimikado. From that time, the Tsuchimikado were made hereditary superintendents of the Ying-Yang Bureau, while the Kōtokui House supplied the vice-head (onmyō no suke). Toyotomi Hideyoshi expropriated the family's annual allowance (worth more than ten thousand koku of rice) from Arinaga's son, Hisanaga (1560-1625), and accused him of taking part in the conspiracy of Hideyoshi's nephew Hidetsugu. As a result, Hisanaga was expelled from Kyōto and exiled to Owari Province. However, since a Taizan Fukun shrine established by Hisanaga still exists in the Nada estate of Wakasa Province, it is possible that he escaped to that province instead. Hisanaga entered government service in 1600, at which time his elder son Yasushige (1588-1661) was made successor to the Tsuchimikado lineage, while his second son Yasuyoshi (1599-1670) took the family name of Kurahashi. While the office of head of the Ying-yang Bureau had been occupied for three generations by Tomokage, Tomotane, and Tomosuke of the Kōtokui House, Yasushige's grandson Yasutomi returned the office to the Tsuchimikado House when he was appointed head of the Bureau himself; an edict by Emperor Reigen in 1683 placed the Tsuchimikado in charge of Onmyōdō institutions throughout the country, and from that time, the Tsuchimikado House were made hereditary superintendents of the Yin-yang Bureau, while the Kurahashi House were made associate superindendents. The Tsuchimikado were also, together with the Yoshida, Shirakawa, and Fujinami Houses, the recipients of ceremonial robes worn by the emperor, and were therefore called shinke (lit., "kami houses"). The functions of Onmyōdō specialists consisted primarily of invoking good fortune and sweeping away evil influences, and praying for the safety of the emperor and peace in the realm. They were also responsible for the performance of the Tensō chifusai, a ceremony that took place once a generation upon the accession of a new emperor. In this important ritual, the Onmyōdō specialists reported to the Ying-yang deities the "deepest wishes" (shinjū kigan) of the new emperor. Until the era of Emperor Go-Mizunoo, this was an official ceremony performed in the Southern Hall (Nanden or Shishinden) of the Imperial Palace as part of the imperial enthronement rites; as a result, it represented the Yin-Yang accession ceremony and a counterpart to the Buddhist Ninnō-e, which constituted one part of the imperial enthronement rites. Subsequently, however, the Tensō chifusai began to be performed at a small shrine (hokora) known as the Hongū ("main shrine") dedicated to Taizan Fukun and located in the residence of the Tsuchimikado House, and in this way became a de facto private ceremony. Nevertheless, because of its close connection to the emperor, the expenses for the ceremony were borne by the imperial court. A low-ranking imperial envoy also participated in the ceremony, delivering a robe belonging to the emperor. The Onmyōdō priest accepted the robe and put it on, praying for blessings for the health and longevity of the sovereign. Considered in this light, some scholars consider the Tensō chifusai a revival of ancient rituals such as the Yasoshima no Matsuri and the Rajōsai. Tsuchimikado Yasutomi patterned his ritual on the Chinese ritual for heaven and earth (hōzen; Ch. fengchan) held at mount Taishan. He argued that Japan's ruler was the emperor, but when the "unified way of heaven and man" (tenjin gōitsu no dō) is attained, the way of rule in both China and Japan would be united. Yasutomi thus used the doctrine of "heavenly punishment" (tenken; Ch. tianquan) to pray to the yin-yang deities and the kami of heaven and earth (tenjin chigi) not only for the safety and longevity of the emperor, but also for peace in the realm and well-being of the subjects. Throughout the Edo period, the Tensō chifusai continued to be performed essentially as a private rite for the safety and longevity of the emperor.
       Tsuchimikado Shintō was abolished by the Meiji government in 1870 as it appropriated to itself authority over astrological and calendrical disciplines. After World War II, religious freedom allowed Tsuchimikado Noritada to revive the tradition, and he thus became the leader of the Tensha Tsuchimikado Shintō organization, which continues today.
See also Abe no Seimei , Tsuchimikado Yasutomi , Tensha Tsuchimikado Shintō Honchō

-Nishioka Kazuhiko
"Establishment of a National Learning Institute for the Dissemination of Research on Shinto and Japanese Culture"
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