Red clothes

From Tenrikyo Resource Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search

Oyasama is associated with wearing red clothes (赤衣 akaki) as a visual symbol that she was the Shrine of Tsukihi. She occasionally bestowed sets of red clothes that she wore to followers as recognition of their dedication and devotion. Her red clothes were also cut up and sewn into Amulets.

The practice of making Oyasama's red clothes into Amulets continue to this day as a set of red kimono is ritually offered each morning at her altar in the Foundress' Sanctuary as a part of her お出まし o-demashi (literally “coming out” or “appearance”).

Historical background

In 1874, Oyasama began “opening a broad path from the high mountains”. In concrete terms, she initiated it by sending Ichibei Matsuo and Gisaburo Nakata to Oyamato Shrine to inquire about the deities enshrined there in the 10th lunar month of that year. This event led to increased scrutiny of the Residence by religious and government authorities.

On December 23, 1874, Oyasama and a number of her followers were summoned to Yamamura Palace to undergo an interrogation. On December 25, Matsuo, Nakata, and Chusaku Tsuji were summoned by the Nara Chukyoin and pressured to stop their faith. Oyasama wore red clothes for the first time on the very next day, December 26. Anecdotes of Oyasama 35 describes the event in some detail. It is explained that Oyasama began wearing red kimono, including kimono undergarments down to her tabi socks to “clarify that She was the Shrine of Tsukihi.”[1]

The following Ofudesaki verses are closely associated with her actions on December 26, 1874:

Until now, since I kept Myself behind a bamboo screen, nothing was able to be seen.

This time, as I have come out into brightness, everything will be seen quickly.

What do you think of these red clothes? Tsukihi dwells within.

Ofudesaki 6:61–63

The practice of offering red kimono to the everliving Oyasama

Not long after Oyasama withdrew from physical life, the reserve of red kimono that were used to make Proof Amulets ran out, prompting followers to make an inquiry for Divine Directions in 1890, which went as follows:

The granting of the amulet must continue on and on. Since my red kimono will not last forever, your thought is that it would suffice to purchase so many feet and so many inches of cloth which need not be made into kimono, and use that for the amulets. However, I direct that red kimono be made and offered. And you will request that I wear them. This is what you will use for the grant which will never change... For summer, they are to be unlined. In cold weather, they are to be lined. You are to make them for each season. I shall wear them and do My work.

Osashizu 1890-03-17

As a result, the kimono offered each morning to the everliving Oyasama at the Foundress' Sanctuary is either unlined or lined and varies in thickness depending on the season.

Narratives of red clothes bestowals

The following selections from Anecdotes of Oyasama are narratives of Oyasama bestowing a set of red clothes to a number of her devoted followers. Some of these red clothes are currently used as symbols of worship in altar shrines dedicated to Oyasama at grand churches and followers dormitories.

Main references

Specific references

  1. The Life of Oyasama, p. 93.