The Ritual of Issho-Mochi

In this video, a Japanese child participates in the ritual of issho-mochi (“issho” implies “entire life” and “mochi” is “rice cake” in Japanese). The ritual represents the parents’ wish for the child never to go without food. The Shinto text, Kojiki, relates an account of the Sun Goddess Amaterasu being driven into a cave by her brother, the God of Storms. A large boulder seals the entrance to the cave, preventing the land of Japan from receiving light. The large mochi utilized for the issho-mochi ritual is intended to represent the rock which hemmed Amaterasu in. The child carrying the heavy rice cake is symbolic of the removal of the rock behind which Amaterasu hid. With Amaterasu’s light, rice, the staple food of Japan, could be grown again, saving the people from famine. The round mochi also symbolizes the Yata no Kagami, the sacred mirror of the Imperial Family. Mirrors connote truth and honesty in Japanese paganism as mirrors reflect back that which is projected into them. This little ritual shows nature worship very much alive in a modern state. Europeans would be wise to explore their own pagan indigenous religious rituals which were displaced by Judeo-Christianity.

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