Amulets and Talismans
published Nov 21, 2019

A very common sight on Okinawa is the hinpun. Traditionally created with stone, the hinpun is a wall in front of a residence that is positioned within the gate, or opening, to the property. Private residences are typically surrounded by a stone, cinder block or concrete wall. The hinpun serves at least three functions.

First, it provides some degree of privacy since its position prevents a passerby from peering directly into the resident's house. Secondly, it protects against entry into the house by malevolent spirits since such spirits are incapable of traveling in arced paths. If properly positioned the straight line from the gate to either side of the hinpun would cause the course of the spirit to miss the house altogether. Thirdly, the hinpun acts as an effective wind-break which can be vital during some of Okinawa's damaging weather conditions such as a typhoon.

I mentioned that the hinpun is traditionally created with stone. Sometimes it is managed by strategically placing large bushy hedge-like plants. In more modern times they've been made with cinder blocks or, less often, poured concrete. Even less frequently one might see a hinpun made of wood.

See more Protective charms of Okinawa

Here's a photo that I took of a hinpun at the Nakamura House during my 2015 visit to Okinawa. Notice how it's tall enough to prevent peepers from seeing what transpires within. In traditional Okinawan homes the large wooden doors are, in good weather, slid back so as to virtually open up an entire side of the house thus offering people passing by an opportunity to view much of the interior of the house. The hinpun prevents such voyeurism. Sources:

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