(445) Four Heavenly Kings [調べる]

(445) Four Heavenly Kings

I visited Taisan temple last month. I’d like to talk about Sanmon of the Temple.  This gate is called Shitenno-mon too, because four heavenly kings are placed in this gate. Shitenno means Four Heavenly Kings. They are the Buddhist protective deities. (愛媛県 松山市 太山寺 Taisan temple, Matsuyama, Ehime )

Pic. San-mon

I have three things to say today.

1. Position of the four statues in Sanmon
2. Condition of the statues
3. Shitenno used in a figurative sense

1. Position of the four statues

map taisanji.jpg
Pic. Map taisanji

Four Heavenly Kings are placed like this. Four statues stand clockwise in the four directions.
持国天 Jikoku-ten is in the south-east, he is the guardian of the east.
増長天 Zōjō-ten is in the south-west, he is the guardian of the South.
広目天 Kōmoku-ten is in the north-west, he is the guardian of the West.
多聞天 (毘沙門天) Tamon-ten (Bishamon-ten) is in the north-east, he is the guardian of the North. Old people made a play on words “JI-ZOU-KO-TA 地蔵買うた” to memorize the order of Four Heavenly Kings's arrangement.

Pic. 1. jikokuten

2. zojoten.JPG
Pic. 2. Zojoten

Pic. 3. Koumokuten

Pic. 4. tamokuten

2. Condition of the statues

The statues are in very bad condition. Komoku-ten’s face came off at some time after last Feb. 12.
I found another damage in Jikoku-ten, too.

2015.11.26. Komokuten


2015.11.26. jikokuten

3. Shitenno used in a figurative sense
Shitenno also means the big [best] four. This reminds me of Sugata Sanshiro. Sanshiro was reputed to be one of the big [best] four judoka belonging to the Kodokan. This is the poster of Kurosawa’s movie “Sugata Sanshro”. First released in Japan on 25 March 1943 by Toho film studios, the film was eventually released in the United States on 28 April 1974.
Pic. sugata

持国天 Jikoku-ten is the guardian of the 
east. His name means "He who maintains the state" or “Watcher of the Lands”

増長天 Zōjō-ten is the guardian of the South. King of the south and one who causes good growth of roots.

広目天 Kōmoku-ten is the king of the west and one who sees all.

多聞天 (毘沙門天) Tamon-ten (Bishamon-ten) is the chief of the four kings and protector of the north.

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(444) Word/ dinghy [英単語]

(444) Word/ dinghy

The word I chose spells “DINGHY”.
It is pronounced [díŋ(g)i].
Dinghy is defined as follows:

1. Noun. (nautical) A small open boat, propelled by oars or paddles, carried as a tender, lifeboat, or pleasure craft on a ship ¹

01 tender.jpg
Pic. 01 Tender

2. Noun. (nautical) An inflatable rubber life raft ¹

02 inflatable.jpg
Pic. 02 Inflatable

03 dinghy.jpg
pic. 03 dinghy

¹ Source:

I take an example sentence with dinghy.

A family from Gateshead, Newcastle, are rescued by firefighters in a
dinghy after heavy rains flood their home.

04 firefighter in a dinghy.jpg
Pic. 04 Firefighter in a dinghy

  Heavy rain from a tropical storm caused severe flooding in eastern Japan in last September. The Kinu River’s embankment collapsed. On the same day I happened to see a children’s book named “the flood” at my friend’s home. What a coincidence! I found this word “dinghy”. This word was new to me.

05 flood.jpg
Pic. 05 The flood



  • 作者: Roderick Hunt
  • 出版社/メーカー: Oxford University Press
  • 発売日: 2011/01/01
  • メディア: ペーパーバック


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(443) Sukunabikona-no-mikoto [調べる]

(443) Sukunabikona-no-mikoto

I’d like to talk about a god named Sukunabikona-no-mikoto in a native religion of Japan. He was a very tiny god. He visited Dogo hot spring with another god Okuninushi-no-mikoto. They were cooperated toward the development of the nation. The tiny god became sick and fell into a coma. Okuninushi-no-mikoto warmed him up in the source of Dogo hot spring. The dwarf god soon got well. He said “I wonder if I took a nap?” He stood up gladly on the stone. His foot prints remained on it.
00 tama big.jpg
Pic. 00
(玉の石 then

01 tamanoishi  then.jpg
Pic. 01(玉の石 then

The stone is called “Tama-no-ishi” (stone ball) and displayed at the North of the main building.

02 tamanoishi now.JPG
(玉の石 now

03 tamanoishi now.jpg
Pic. 03(玉の石 now

After I heard this story I really wanted to know what the dwarf god looked like. So I read about this tiny god in the book of Japanese Myths, KOJIKI. There is a story how they met for the first time.

It goes like this;
JAPANESE MYTHS And the Gods Made Love, Retold by Ralph F. McCarthy

日本の神話―Japanese myths 【講談社英語文庫】

日本の神話―Japanese myths 【講談社英語文庫】

  • 作者: ラルフ・マッカーシー
  • 出版社/メーカー: 講談社インターナショナル
  • 発売日: 1999/06/18
  • メディア: 文庫

Okuninushi was at the Cape of Miho in Izumo. Looking out to sea, he saw a tiny god riding a gourd1) over the whitecaps2) toward him. The god was dressed in the feathered skin of a wren3).Okuninushi asked the tiny god his name, but received no reply. And when he asked the little god’s attendants4), they all said they didn’t know. Finally he asked a toad5).“The scarecrow will surely know,” said the toad.
 Okuninushi sent for6) the scarecrow, who told him that the little god was the child of the great deity7) Kami-musubi. His name, the scarecrow said, was Sukuina-bikona-no-kami.  Okuninushi asked Kami-musubi if this were true.  “Yes, he is truly my child,” said the great deity. “He is one of those who slipped through my fingers. Be as a brother to him so that you may finish creating and solidifying the land.”

1) gourd [gˈɔɚd]Any vine of the family Cucurbitaceae that bears fruits with hard rinds   Cucurbitaceae ウリ科、rind〔果物の堅い〕(外)皮
2) whitecaps [whítecàps] (白く砕ける)波頭,白波.
3) wren [rén]ミソサザイ
4) attendants [əténdənt]付き添い人,随行員.
5) toad [ʊd] ヒキガエル,ガマ
6) sent for 来るように指図、要求、または命令する(order, request, or command to come)
7) deity [ːəṭi]

04 deai.jpg
Pic. 04

  I am interested in his clothes and boat. In this book its English translation said he was dressed in the feathered skin of a wren.
05 wren.JPG
Pic. 05

 Wren is a tiny brown bird about 10 cm long, smaller than a palm.  Japanese character (ひむし) is correspondent to wren in the original Japanese book. This character means goose. But goose is too big for the tiny god so wren might be correct.

06 鵞鳥.jpg

Then the dwarf god’s costume becomes like this.
07 gachou.jpg
Pic. 07

There is another interpretation about this word. That is a moth 蛾.
Then his costume becomes like this.
08 himushi.jpg
Pic. 08

09 スケッチ.jpg
Pic. 09(蛾の服)

There are other statues of the dwarf god.
10 sukunabikona.jpg
Pic. 10 常陸国出雲大社

11 sukunabikona big.jpg
Pic. 11 神田明神

The dwarf’s boat was a guard. Japanese name of this plant is gaga-imo. Gagaimo is Metaplexis japonica.
種髪のある, 綿毛のある【形】comate [kō-ˈmāt]《植物》袋果follicle [fɑ́ləkəl]《植物》
Pic. 12
13 gagaimo_mi1.jpg
Pic. 13 gagaimo

14 gagaimo.jpg
Pic. 14

15 gagaimo kagami.jpg
Pic. 15 gagaimo kagami

16 gagaimo.jpg
Pic. 16

17 gagaimo kara.jpg
Pic. 17

18 gagaimo fune.jpg
Pic. 18 gagaimo fune

There are several similar stories born from this tiny god.
Pic. 19

Pic. 20

21 issunboshi.jpg
Pic. 21

I love Sukuinabikona-no-kami very much. He is cute. Don’t you think so?
23 sukunabikona.jpg
Pic. 22 神田明神

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