Dosojin : Road Blocking Spirits
Dosojin are roadside deities and spirits of the crossroads. There is not one spirit named Dosojin; instead this is a type of spirit. There are many Dosojin; Daruma is sometimes classified among them, as is Chimata. Dosojin offer aid and protection to travellers and are venerated at roadside shrines and shelters. Their images are traditionally placed at crossroads, at village boundaries (thresholds) and along country roads to protect and bless residents and travellers. They are sometimes found amid old mountain passes. Dosojin protect towns and villages from illness, epidemics, droughts, and vermin infestation. Although traditionally associated with rural areas, Dosojin are now sometimes placed at busy urban traffic intersections to protect pedestrians at these dangerous modern crossroads. Dosojin ward off danger, disaster, and malicious spirits.
Dosojin frequently, though not always, come in pairs, envisioned as an older married couple. This type of Dosojin serves a double function: not only are they crossroads spirits but they are also the kami of marriage, fertility, pregnancy, and childbirth. They bestow happy marriages, easy fertility, and safe, reasonably painless childbirth. The spirits are believed present in their stone images. In addition to the protective powers associated with Dosojin images in general, married-couple Dosojin images also serve to ensure and boost fertility and virility for women and men, respectively.
ALSO KNOWN AS:
Sae no Kami; Doosojin
Images of Dosojin are usually small to medium-sized carved stone statues, often phallic shaped. Many have human figures carved onto them; sometimes of an individual but usually depicting an older couple (one male and one female), often engaged in oblique or explicit sex.
Encyclopedia of Spirits: The Ultimate Guide to the Magic of Fairies, Genies, Demons, Ghosts, Gods & Goddesses – Written by: Judika Illes Copyright © 2009 by Judika Illes.