immortal wishes:
labor and transcendence
on a Japanese sacred mountain

Ellen Schattschneider

Duke University Press (2003)


Teaching Resources

Akakura Mountain Shrine Rituals


Ancestral Memorialization Rite (Senzo Kuyo)


The imperative to perform memorialization (kuyo) for dead relatives is among the most important obligations fulfilled by worshippers at the shrine. These obligations culminate each October in the annual memorialization rite, the final rite of the annual cycle performed on the mountain.

Here, priest and kamisama spirit mediums pray in front of burning pyre. Meanwhile, worshippers circumabulate through the shrine precincts, singing "Saigi Saigi" (the shrine hymn)

More still images of the Senzo Kuyo


Previous Ceremony:

Hakkoda Pilgrimage (August)


Next Ceremony:

Mountain Closing (November)




Website developed by Ellen Schattschneider (Brandeis University)