The guardian deity of KESEN's old family

  • Traditional Skills

About Oshira-sama

Oshira-sama are dolls, often worshipped as protective deities, found in old families of the Kesen region. Also pronounced "Osshasama", they are usually in pairs, one with a woman's head and one with a horse's head, each placed on a stick of ca., 30cm. Made of mulberry tree, they were worshipped from the ancient times as deity of sericulture.

People gather on fair days and on New Year’s Eve to worship and play with Oshira-sama, a custom called "Osezu" or "Sentaku", where people ask favour to the gods. There is also a popular charm where people rub the body part of the Oshira-sama that matches sites of someone's affection to relieve him or her from pain. One theory says the name Oshira-sama comes from a deformation of "Ohinasama" (doll displayed at peach flower seasonal festival or the Girls’ Festival), with a background similar to the Nagashi-bina (a ritual where Ohinasama figures are placed on a plate and let carried away by the river to carry away evil spirits with them).

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