Miniature Pilgrimage Systems and Community in Japan

Ryujiro KONDO(Wakayama University)

( ) In Japan, there are many imitative pilgrimage places patterned after the 88-Shikoku pilgrimage site that is circular route extends 1,385 km established the 88 sacred places, making it the largest pilgrimage in Japan. These imitative pilgrimage places are classified into three patterns: the regional pilgrimage course, the miniature pilgrimage course and the pilgrimage course in building. These types of the imitative pilgrimages have been designed to give people, who have neither the time nor the money to make these `Real' pilgrimages. These imitative pilgrimage can be regarded as pilgrim courses in which the `Real' pilgrimages model spread to various parts of the country and were transformed under local conditions. As for the spatial designing of the pilgrimage courses, the various devices to imagine the "Real" pilgrimages are planned. In the courses, the expression to perform symbolic behavior named MEGURI as pilgrim ritual remind people of the pilgrimage in Shikoku.

( ) The miniature pilgrimage courses can be regarded as one kind of "stage" to perform "Shikoku Pilgrimage" on the settlement and had been the social systems to produce two types of intercourse that vitalized the local community. One have been held between the outsiders and the inhabitants for the strangers has never eliminated as for they play as "pilgrims." Another have been held between the habitant each other, one group from village people willingly participate in the plays as "pilgrims" and the other group act as receptionist ("settai") to give to these pilgrims various alms, tea and sweets which custom has imitated the ritual custom of Shikoku pilgrimage. The miniature pilgrimage courses have also the function of the spatial combination systems. They bring the pilgrimage area the regional identity by creating a network of some institutions such as temples, houses and stone images of Buddha. It seems that the stabilization and the identity came from the characteristic of Shikoku's 88 image pilgrimage site. The 88 institutions are equally and respectively important elements regarding the total religious significance. There are the social systems with participation of people in which a environmental images has been made and played by them.

Ryujiro Kondo
Dept.of Environmental Systems, Faculty of Systems Eng.
Wakayama University(930 Sakaedani-Wakayama 640-8510 Japan)

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