Isora the sea deity and ancestor of the Azumi clan

 

Azumi no Isora Maru 阿曇磯良丸 Isoramaru 
Azumi-no-Isora-Maru
安曇の磯良
Adobe no Isora 阿度部(あどべ)の磯良
阿曇磯良神

 

From Frederick Hadland Davis’ Myths and Legends of Japan

Isora the spirit of the seashore. Isora was a lazy fellow, and when he finally appeared above the waves of the sea, he did so without gorgeous apparel, for he was covered with slime and seashells, and seaweed adorned his unkempt person.   When the Empress saw him she bade him go to his master the Dragon King and ask him to give her the Tide Jewels.

Isora obeyed, dived down into the water and presently stood before the Dragon King and made his request.

The Dragon King took out the Tide Jewels from a casket, placed them on a great shell, and bade Isora promptly return to Empress Jingu with precious gift.

Isora sprang from his master’s palace to the surface of the sea and Empress Jingu put the jewels in her girdle…”

 

Isora is a Shinto kami of the seashore.

He is considered to be the ancestor of the Azumi people. 

He was the first Shinto priest at the Furo shrine. The present priest at the Furo shrine, Azumi Fumihisa 阿曇史久, is the 67th generation.

His ancestor is the deity OWadatsumi no Kami 少童命 who is also regarded to be the same deity as Ryujin

 

Major shrines the Isora deity is associated with:

  • Fuurooguu 風浪宮 Furo Shrine 

Isoramaru jinja 磯良丸神社, Fukuoka prefecture, Okawa city. fuuroo literally means “waves caused by the wind yushu

The statue at the entrance is new and an imposing 2 meters high.

It has seaweed hanging, a turtle and a bowl to catch octopus.
This reminds us that he lived in a palace at the bottom of the sea for many years.

During the Ofuroo san matsuri 風浪宮大祭 Furo Shrine Festival held on February 8 – 10, people take ablutions in the sea water 裸かん行, hadaka kangyoo. On the last day, yabusame 流鏑馬 archery on horseback is performed.

Young men from the local shrines come clad only in loincloth, carrying lanterns and torches march through the town and in the compound. More than 150 thousand visitors come to attend. Source: www.ofurousan.jp 

Legend of the camphor tree of the white heron (shirasagi no kusu 白鷺の楠):

The camphor tree of Furo Shrine, said to be more than 2000 years old. Legend has it that Empress Jingu after her safe landing in Kyushu had a white heron fly to a sacred place to show her where she could build a shrine to thank the Sea Deity for her safe trip. The heron is said to have landed in this camphor tree.

 

 

Other related shrines: 

  • The three-pillar shrine (toriimihashira torii or mitsubashira torii 三柱鳥居)  which features a torii with three top lintels that symbolize the heavens, earth and mankind.
  • At Wadatsumi Jinja there are stone piles under the two three-pillar Torii, believed to be the graves of the deities – Azumi-no-Isora (安曇磯良, possibly the same deity as Ugayafukiaezu-no-mikoto (鵜茅葺不合命)); Toyotamahiko-no-mikoto (豊玉彦尊) = Wadatsumi-no-kami (綿津見神 or 海神)).
  • At the Koora taisha 高良大社 Kora Shrine in Fukuoka, Isora is depicted in a scroll, standing on a turtle catching fish.
  • Kora Taisha and Suitengu shrine in Kurume
  • Shiga Shrine of Tsushima; Shigaumi jinja 志賀海神社 Shiga Shrine in Fukuoka 
  • Shishiki Jinja 志式神社 Shishiki Shrine in Fukuoka, where in a kagura dance he appears as an old man, Ogina 翁

Source readings and references:

Azumi-no-Isora (Daruma Pilgrims)

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