Musical Instruments

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Musical Instruments
Fue Flute
Chanpon Cymbals
Hyoshigi Wooden clappers
Taiko Large drum
Surigane Gong
Kotsuzumi Small drum

Musical Instruments or Narimono 鳴物 [なりもの] refer to the nine instruments of the for the Service.

In the Tenrikyo tradition, six instruments are known as the men’s musical instruments (otoko narimono) and the remaining three are referred to as the three-stringed instruments (sankyoku) or women’s instruments (onna narimono).


Men's Musical Instruments

Women's Musical Instruments

Other service paraphernalia

History of adoption of Narimono

The use of the hyoshigi in the Service predates the composition of the Mikagura-uta as it was used as a percussive accompaniment to chanting the divine name (Namu) Tenri-O-no-Mikoto.[1] Records also indicate that followers played the taiko during a spontaneous prayer at Oyamato Shrine in 1864.[2]

Details regarding how Oyasama taught the so-called men’s instruments to followers are scant. However, there are surviving stories of how Oyasama began teaching the three stringed instruments to three young women in 1877.[3]

September 30, 1880 (lunar 8/26) marked the first time the Service was performed as it was meant to be with all the nine instruments.[4]

Temporary changes to Narimono

Outside interference forced Tenrikyo followers to temporarily replace the Narimono designated by Oyasama with other instruments. The first instrument to be replaced in the manner was the kotsuzumi in 1888, which was replaced by a kakko, an instrument associated with gagaku.

As a result of the Home Ministry Secret Directives of 1896, government officials deemed the shamisen and kokyu as improper for use in religious services since they were instruments associated with the pleasure quarters.[5] They were respectively replaced by the Satsuma biwa and yakumo-goto, a bowed zither. [6]

The use of the instruments as specified by Oyasama was restored on the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of Oyasama (1936).

Appearances/frequency of “narimono” in Scripture

External link


  1. The majority of this section based on A Glossary of Tenrikyo Terms, pp. 241–2.
  2. Described in The Life of Oyasama, p. 45.
  3. See also Anecdotes of Oyasama 52, Anecdotes of Oyasama 53, Anecdotes of Oyasama 54, and Anecdotes of Oyasama 55.
  4. See Anecdotes of Oyasama 74.
  5. 植田平和 Ueda Hirakazu. 「内務省の訓令(一)」 “Naimushō no kunrei (part 1 ).” 『陽気』Yōki 640 (August 2002) pp. 38–39.
  6. The yakumo-goto usually had only two strings but the Tenrikyo version had three strings. See Osashizu 1897-11-20 for the Divine Direction associated with these changes.