This article analyses different variants of the origin of the syncretic cult of Hachiman – the god of the Eight Banners – in Japan. On the material of the “shrine chronicles” engi, such as “The history of the path to enlightenment [bodhisattva] Hachiman” (“Hachiman go-inni engi”, the 12th century) of Kagoshima Shrine in the south of Kyushu island and “Admonition to the stupid children about Hachiman” (“Hachiman gudo:kin”, the beginning of the 14th century) of the Ivashimizu Shrine in the capital, the process of modification of the legend about the origin of the Hachiman cult in the Kagoshima Shrine by the Chinese princess Oohirume, who gave birth to deity Hachiman from the sun's rays, as well as the incorporation of this legend into the history of the cult of the Ivashimizu Shrine, are studied. The legend about Oohirume, one of the early versions of the emergence of Hachiman, reflects the ancient beliefs of the inhabitants of the Japanese islands and contains a different variation of the Japanese imperial myth. In addition, the article examines the attempt to legitimize the Kagoshima Shrine as the “original shrine” of deity Hachiman through the use of the “incident with the stone body” accrued in the first half of the 12th century, as well as the reaction to this event of the Usa Shrine in the northeast of Kyushu, which is traditionally considered as the birthplace of Hachiman. Apparently, the “incident with the stone body” (the appearance of the name of deity Hachiman on the splitted stone) was fabricated by the Kagoshima Shrine with the support of the Ivashimizu Shrine.
Key words: mythology, Shinto, Buddhism, deity Hachiman, Jingu Kogo, Ojin, Amaterasu, solar cult, imperial myth, engi stories.
About the author
Anna M. Dulina – PhD (history), independent researcher,