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Posted By Gabi Greve to Daruma San in Japan, Japanese Art and Culture (01)

23 Jul 2017

EDO - muken no kane bell

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. Persons and People of Edo - Personen .
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Muken no Kane 無間の鐘 "Unlimited Bell", "Soundless Bell", "the Bell of Muken"
mugen no kane 無限の鐘 - "The Bell of Hell"
mugen jigoku / muken jigoku 無間地獄 Hell of Avici.
Buddhist Hell of "Uninterrupted, Eternal Torment"


. kane 鐘 bell, temple bell - Introduction .

There are various temples in Japan who claim this bell.

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- quote -
Keisei Dôjôji - Mugen no Kane Shindôjôji 無間鐘新道成寺
"Keisei Dôjôji"
is a variation of the famous dance "Musume Dôjôji" (created in 1753) about a young girl who is rejected by a priest. He flees from her and hides under the bell at Dôjôji Temple. She pursues him and in her rage transforms into a serpent, which wraps itself around the bell. The bell is destroyed and the priest is fried to a crisp!


In "Keisei Dôjôji",
the girl did not transform herself into a serpent, but rather appeared as Katsuragi, a beautiful, high-ranking courtesan, thereby reflecting the close relationship between Kabuki and the pleasure quarters at the beginning of the 18th century when "Keisei Dôjôji" was created.
The story included a parallel tradition that the person who strikes the bell during life will be visited with unlimited wealth, but on death they will suffer unlimited torment in hell.
The courtesan describes her life and emotions in the pleasure quarters, which was like being lost in dark clouds of passion, as well as her punishment in hell, which she says is a forest of tightly packed swords through which souls are relentlessly pursued and their flesh cut to shreds. She has now come to pray to the bell that has caused her so much trouble. Hoping that her prayers will clear away her burden of sin, the spirit of the courtesan disappears.
- Courtesy of Jean Wilson (1999)
- reference source : kabuki21.com... -

. Anchin and Kiyohime 安珍・清姫 - 道成寺 Dojo-Ji .

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Hirakana Seisuiki "The Soundless Bell"


The story of the lovers 梅枝 Umegae and Genta.

Mugen no Kane 無限の鐘 The legendary Bell of Hell.
The person who strikes this bell becomes immensely rich in this world but will go directly to hell after his/her death to suffer eternally.
In Kabuki, many dances were created based on this legend and in association with the world of courtesans, always desperately helping their lover in need of money and ready to sacrifice themselves by striking the Bell of Hell. Nowadays, the only surviving mugen no kane scene is part of one act of the epic drama "Hirakana Seisuiki", commonly called "Mugen no Kane" or "Kanzaki Ageya".
- source : kabuki21.com...-


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Umegae muken no mane 梅が枝無間の真似
Parody of Umegae Striking the Bell of Limitless Hell

歌川国義 Utagawa Kuniyoshi


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. ume ga e utau 梅が枝うたう Umegae, Poetry for plum branches .
kigo for the New Year

- quote -
Umegae 梅枝
A pictorial subject based on "A Branch of Plum" Umegae, Chapter 32 of
GENJI MONOGATARI 源氏物語 (The Tale of Genji).


In the chapter,
Genji's household is preparing for the coming of age ceremony of the princess who will become the Akashi Empress (明石). On the tenth day of the Second Month Genji holds a competition to determine the incense she will use at court. He gathers scents from several people and calls on Prince Hotaru (Hotaru Hyoubunokyou 蛍兵部卿) to judge them. The scene most frequently chosen for illustration shows Genji and Prince Hotaru looking at two jars sent by Princess Asagao (朝顔), one indigo with a pine branch, one white with a plum branch from which most of the blossoms have fallen, and to which she has attached a poem. The Crown Prince also has his coming of age ceremony in this chapter.
In the Third Month the third daughter of the Minister of the Left (the third in rank of the three main ministers of state, below the Minister of the Right and the Prime Minister) is presented at court, while the Akashi Princess is presented in the Fourth Month.
At this time Tou no Chuujou 頭中将 (To no Chujo, here called the "Palace Minister", or Naidaijin 内大臣) begins to reconcile himself to the love between Yuugiri 夕霧, Genji's son, and his daughter Kumoi no kari 雲井雁.
- source : JAANUS -


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source : mfa.org/collections...Denman Waldo Ross Collection..

Ukiyo tokei Muken no kane 浮世とけいむけんのかね
A Floating World Clock as the Bell of Muken

Gakô Senkadô 西村重長 Nishimura Shigenaga (1697 - 1756)


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source : mfa.org/collections... William Sturgis Bigelow Collection...

Mitate Muken no kane zu 見立無間鐘図 Parody of Muken no Kane
川又常行 Kawamata Tsuneyuki (1677 - ?)

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- - - - - Once upon a time


- reference source : ochakaido.com/rekisi/mukashi... -

At the time of 聖武天皇 Emperor Shomu Tenno (around 730)
there lived an Immortal, 仙人, in the village of 菊川村 Kikugawa in Shizuoka.
He prayed every day to 不動明王 Fudo Myo-O and then went to the village for alms. After this, he rang the bell at the top of 粟ヶ岳 Mount Awagatake 淡ヶ嶽.
This bell could be heard all over the 遠州 Enshu region (now Shizuoka). Each ring had a special prayer wish:

一つつけば、事故や災難をまぬがれ、one - prevent accidents and disasters
二つつけば、病気にならず、- two - do not become ill
三つつけば、家内安全、- three - peace and well-being at home
四つつけば、運が開けて出世する、- four - find good luck for your business life
五つつけば、子宝に恵まれ、- five - be blessed with children
六つつけば、幸運がつづき、- six - may good luck continue
七つつけば、大金持ちになる、- seven - may you become rich

and so on for each ring.
The villagers climbed up to the temple to participate from these good prayers.
But the path to the temple was steep and narrow, and in their hurry they pushed and some fell into the ravine, some even died.
When the head priest saw all this, he decided to exclude the villagers from the prayers of the Immortal and threw the bell into the deep well.
This became known to our day as
"mugen no ido" 無間の井戸 "the endless well", "eternal well" at the top of Mount Awagatake.




Muken no Kane is 遠州七不思議 one of the seven wonders of Enshu. at 無間山観音寺 Mukenzan Kannon Temple.

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Daimugenzan 大無間山 is a mountain in Shizuoka.



- Read a long legend here:
. The perpetual life-giving wine and sennin heavenly immortals of Mt. Daimugenzan .
- - - - - excerpted from ANCIENT TALES AND FOLK-LORE OF JAPAN by Richard Gordon Smith [1918]


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at 瀬戸内海 - 塩飽本島 Setonaikai Shiwaki Honjima Island
極楽寺 Temple Gokuraku-Ji, at the 観音堂 Kannon-Do hall

The temple has the family graves of the 丸尾家 Maruo Clan.
The temple bell relates to the story of 丸尾五左衛門 Maruo Gozaemon, a former Samurai turned very rich merchant of the Edo period.


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. Legends and Tales from Japan 伝説 - Introduction .


. abi jigoku 阿鼻地獄 / 無間地獄 Avīci, Buddhist Hell of Avici .
is called 無間地獄 "Mugen Jigoku".
... the hell of "Uninterrupted Torment" (Avici), where big dogs, pythons and monsters with many heads vomit volumes of flame to burn the sinners.
Avīci hell is also known as the "Mugen-Do, non-stop way" (無間道).


................................................................................. Nagano 長野県
佐久市 Saku city 野沢町 Nozawa

Near Nozawa town there lived a 長者 very rich man. Once he was involved in a law suit and wanted to win it. So he pledged to go to 高野山 Mount Koyasan to ring the bell Muken no Kane, if he won. He won the law suit, but after that misfortune continued, he lost more and more money and after his sudden death nobody of the family wanted to live in his mansion.


................................................................................. Niigata 新潟県
佐渡市 Sado city 相川町 Aikawa

hiru 蛭 leech
Around 1610 a person born in Tajima (Now Northern Hyogo) came to Aikawa and made a fortune in the gold mines of Sado. But he became very stingy and on the last day of the year went to the gold mine and slept there. His wife was at home preparing New Year food and wondered what to do about him. Then she remembered the lore about Muken no Kane. She pretended the grounding mortar was a bell and banged it with the pestle. From that day on the family became even richer and more gold was found in the mines.
Legend says that one can hit this bell only once in a lifetime for a positive wish. On the grave of such a person will be leeches for the next seven generations. And indeed, when her husband died, leeches showed up on his grave stone.


................................................................................. Shizuoka 静岡県
周智郡 Shuchi district 水窪町 Misakubo

hebi 蛇 serpent
Once a person went to a special riverside, オトボウ淵, to make a wish and then rung Muken no Kane. He soon became a very rich man. But after his death a serpent showed up at the riverside. If anyone wanted to approach the riverside, he had to hang some smartweed (Persicaria)around his hips for protection.


................................................................................. Wakayama 和歌山県
有田郡 Arida district 清水村 Shimizu

hiru 蛭 leech
Once a man rung the Muken no Kane and then became very rich.
But since then the soy been rice gruel the family eat on the fifth day of the New Year suddenly turned into very large leeches.

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日高郡 Hidaka district みなべ町 Minabe

To make a Muken no Kane people need a special clay and water, and then put inside it the statues of Ebisu and Daikoku when firing the pottery.
If during this process there was a huge sound, the wish was granted and the person became rich. But in reverse he had to promise to refrain from something he liked, for example not making special New Year food. One man even promised he would offer his body after this death to be eaten by the wolves.

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- reference : nichibun yokai database -

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Muken-no-kane
Fuga hibachi muken no kane uki-e kongen - The Elegant Brazier,
Sato nomi sao muken no kane goto
- reference : "muken no kane" kabuki -




source : traveljapanblog.com/wordpress...
muken jigoku 無間地獄 Hell of Incessant Suffering


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Posted By Gabi Greve to Edo - the EDOPEDIA - on 7/18/2017 09:56:00 am