A god worshiped by the Izuna Shugen cult. This kami is also referred to as Izuna Myōjin, a shrine for this deity can be found at the summit of Mt. Izuna Kamiminochi, Nagano Prefecture.

Background[edit | edit source]

Historically the Izuna cult was first referenced in 1279 in the second half of Asaba- shō. This entry indicates that initially the practice likely originated among strict practitioners of shinto at Togokushi. Over time the cult became increasingly independent in form. During the Muromachi period it was led by a famous pilgrim guide Sennichi Tayū.

Physical Description[edit | edit source]

Statue of Izuna Gongen atop a fox

The form most often used to depict Izuna Gongen is that of a Tengu (winged demon with a long knows simmilar in appearance to a crow) riding a white fox. This diety is sugested to be simmlar to Aikiba Gongen, another mythical diety also orginiating in the same area as Izuna. The Buddhist counterpart to Izuna is the bodivista Jizō. The cult has a mutual influence within the Atago Cult so often the dieties are reffered to with the conjoined name Izunga-Atago.

The cult also underwent a combination with the Buddhist diety Dakini and as a result a kind of magical technique involving the use of foxes as spirit familliars. The cult spread accross the members of the court and Warriors pratricing techniques believed to control fox familliars. The name of these practices would later be reffered to as izuna tsukai.

The cult also became associated with the millitary arts. The school of japanese fencing, Shintō Munenryū, is said to have orginated near Mt. Izuna.

In addition to being enshrined Yakuōin on Mt. Takao, Hingadake in Gifu, and Mt. Izuna in Sendai. The Izuna Gongen of Sendai goes by the name Izuna Saburō and is known as one of three tengū of Japan.

Reference[edit | edit source]

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