2016-04-04

sanbi shinibi fire taboos

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. Japanese legends and tales 伝説 民話 昔話 - Introduction .
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sanbi 産火 / 産忌 - - shinibi 死火 / 死忌 fire taboos for birth and death
サンビ / / 死に火
shinippi 死火 /しにっぴ / シニッピ

This is closely related with many other taboos (忌み imi) related to birth and death.

kegare 穢れ spiritual contamination, uncleanliness, or pollution.
. imi 忌み / 斎み taboo .
- Introduction -

The kegare of childbirth lasted 32 days, and during this time the new mother could not leave the house through any of the rooms that held a household shrine. For the first 15 days, the mother must do no cooking, and if she went outside, she must cover her head in order

shi-e, shie 死穢 kegare that pertains to death, death impurity

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. kinki 禁忌 taboos and legends .



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Since a family eats meals cooked on the same fire, if a birth or death happens in a family, people from other groups must take a distance so as not to adhere to the family taboos and impurity.

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aka fujoo 赤不浄 "red impurity" - "blood impurity" from bleeding wounds or menstruation

shiro fujoo 白不浄 "white impurity" through childbirth

kuro fujoo 黒不浄 "black impurity" through death

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bekka 別火 "separate fire", - - the sacred fire of a shrine or temple
Also a separate fire for cooking meals, if the family is in the time of a taboo for birth or death.

. Homusubi no mikoto 火産霊命 Deity of Fire .
火結神

Hinokagutsuchi no Kami 火之迦具土神 fire deity for blacksmiths
. kajiya 鍛冶屋 kajishi 鍛冶師  blacksmith .


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Fishermen call the taboos connected to birth in the family
aka fujoo 赤不浄 "red impurity" - "blood impurity"
Those with this family situation are not allowed to go fishing during this time.

People who do not keep the taboos connected to birth will be eaten by bears in the forest.

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- - - - - ABC List of the prefectures :

........................................................... Akita 秋田県 .............................................................
鹿角市 Kakunodate town

When the frame for a new home is set up (mune-age 棟上げ), there should not be a case of birth or wedding taboo in the family.
iwaibi 祝儀火 / イワイビ fire taboo for a wedding

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仙北郡 Senboku district

yama no kami 山の神 Deity of the Mountain
This deity spends the summer in the fields (ta no kami) and the winter in the mountains.
It is a female deity and likes stonefish (okoze 虎魚, Okoji in local dialect).
She is also
o-san no kami お産の神 the deity of birth.
For a difficult delivery, she comes to welcome the dead to the mountain.
Since she dislikes Sanbi, a family where a birth happened is not allowed to enter the mountain for one week.

. Yama no Kami 山の神 - Ta no Kami 田の神 .

. Ubusunagami 大産土神 Deity of one's birthplace.


........................................................... Fukushima 福島県 .............................................................
南会津郡 Minami Aizu district 檜枝岐村 Hinoemata

The hunters of the region are more afraid of the taboos for a death.
If there is a death or birth in their own family, they do not go to the forest and stay home, "eating fire" 火を食う.
Other families do not come for a drink or food and stay away.


........................................................... Ehime 愛媛県 .............................................................
南宇和郡 Minami Uwa district 愛南町 Ainan

yamainu 山犬 wolf
If someone takes food or drink within three days of a family just having a birth, he will be bewitched by a wolf.
"If you have eaten in a Sanbi home, do not walk alone at night!"
The wolf likes the red color and therefore often bewitches women in menstruation. But they are not behaving too bad, not biting people.


........................................................... Kochi 高知県 .............................................................

If someone has died in a river or mountain forest, people come together for the funeral and eat a meal together 産火(サンビ) sanbi "fire of life" and 死火(シニビ)shinibi "fire of death".
Some get a sudden fever from it or a severe stomach ache.

. shichinin misaki 七人ミサキ "Misaki of seven people" .
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yamainu 山犬 wolf
If someone eats or drinks in a family with a Sanbi taboo, he will get mixed up with the Sanbi (産火をまぜる) and get defiled.
A man called 寿太郎 Jutaro did not care, went to such a family of his relatives, had a feast with them and then . . . on his way home in the dark he was attacked by two wolves.
He swung his torch and called out "I am on official business!" 天下の御用
Thus he could drive away the wolves.


........................................................... Miyagi 宮城県 .............................................................

kinki 禁忌 all kinds of taboos
For seven days it must be avoided to share food and drink at a family with a birth or death.
If someone got involved with a Sanbi family, he had to be especially careful with construction work and forest work. They were also not allowed to use New Year decorations.
Even they had an urgent business to help the family, outsiders had to stay away during a taboo period.
A fisherman should not step on a boat during one week. It might cause shipwreck and a bad catch.
Nobody should accompany a Shinibi family to a shrine.
Other sources quote a period of 21 days to stay away, called
hi ga warui ヒガワルイ "these days are bad", otherwise they would encounter 3 years of bad fortune.

If someone had a smoke in a taboo family and then went to the forest, he would not be able to get a shot out of his gun, if he happened to meet a bear. Even if he would hit, the animal could not die from it. Such a man had to go back as fast as he could and have some exorcist rituals performed.

A man with a pregnant wife was not supposed to help with funeral preparations.


........................................................... Nagasaki 長崎県 .............................................................
壱岐市 Iki town

Fishermen with Sanbi taboos are not allowed on board.
They have to call an exorcist, called ホリドン Horidon, to perform cleansing rituals.


........................................................... Yamagata 山形県 .............................................................
西村山郡 Nishimurayama district

sanbi no tatari 産火のたたり curse of the Sanbi
A woman in the family of her husband usually calles a midwife to give birth in the living room or a storage room. At that time the Sanbi taboos for the family begin.
All members of the family are now prohibited to go to the forest and work in the mountains.

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米沢市 Yonezawa town 笹野町 Sasano village

. Yama no Kami 山の神 - Ta no Kami 田の神 .
It is a female deity.
She is also venerated as
o-san no kami お産の神 / ubugami 産神 the deity of birth.


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- reference : nichibun yokai database 妖怪データベース -

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. Japanese legends and tales 伝説 民話 昔話 - Introduction .

- Yookai 妖怪 Yokai Monsters of Japan -
- Introduction -

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- #sanbi #shinibi #firelegends #taboo-
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