Kudaka Jima island of the gods

Said to be the origin of Okinawa, Kudaka jima is an outlying island somewhat unlike the rest of the Ryukyu Islands. Kudaka is considered to be the birthplace of the Ryukyus and various legends have been preserved for posterity. It is both an island and a god. The sacred grounds of Kubo are found in the heart of the island. Kubo is one of the seven sacred places that appear in the legend of the creation of the Ryukyus and is holy ground to where gods would descend.

The round, open space within the sacred Kubo grounds is used for the traditional Izaiho ceremony that was observed every twelve years. The Kudaka Islanders take great care in protecting this sacred ground essential to performing the ceremony.

An unusual peacefulness permeates the island as it is among some of the quieter islands of the archipelago. The quiet may well be attributed to the fact that it is home to an abundance of prayer sites. On Kudaka, people believe in a "priesthood of all women", and all women serve the gods from age 31 to age 70.

Legend holds that some time in the 1500s two gods came to the island. One was male (Shierikyu) and the other female (Amamikyu). Having been barren until then Amamikyu eventually gave birth to 3 children. Her first-born, a male, grew up to become the first Ryukyuan king. A daughter was next born to the gods and she grew up to be a noro - a priestess. The third child, another male became a farmer.

Another version of the tale reveals that Amamikyu and Shierikyu did not themselves have children yet in time a grandson came along and was named Tentenshi. He was father to five children. It is held that it was Tentenshi's children who became a king, a high priestess, a lesser priestess, a nobleman and a farmer.

Izaiho ceremony

  • http://www.mapitokinawa.com/2011/11/kudaka-jima.html
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ryukyuan_religion
  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VSPpgujKC-g
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/12201974/6112421548/
  • http://www.okinawastory.jp/en/view/portal/0120290901/
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Izaiho4.JPG

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