2/06/2011

The Ark of Covenant and Japanese Mikoshi

Today I uploaded the new video on YouTube titles "The Ark of Covenant and Mikoshi".
This article is related to the video.
You can watch the video first or after you read this article.
It is recommended that you go to YouTube site to watch the video, since the caption letters are too small to read from this small windows.



The Japanse mikoshi is a portable shrine in Shinto.
Shinto followers believe that it serves as the vehicle of a divine spirit in Japan at the time of a parade of deities.
Mikoshi resembles a miniature building. Actually is a small shrine for a god.


Omikoshi procession of the Gion Matsuri.
Photograph taken by Chris Gladis, Flickr user MShades.
Used under Creative Commons License

Typical shapes are rectangles, hexagons, and octagons.
The body stands on two (or four) poles for carrying.
It is usually lavishly decorated, and the roof might hold a carving of Fenghuang, an Asian Phoenix of Chinese origin.

William Simpson in 1877 wrote that mikoshi have many oints of likeness to the jewish Ark of the Convenant.
Mr.Eli-Eliyahu Cohen,Former Israeli Ambassador to Japan said that he cannot forget the impact when he first saw the mikoshi in Japan.
The late Mr. Edmond Rothschild who was Jew also got interested in the mikoshi when he saw it in Japan, sinse it is similar to the Ark of the covenant.

Let's compare the Ark and a mikoshi.
I try to extract the interesting parts from the Bible, Exodus chapter 25.
25:10 “They are to make an ark of acacia wood - its length is to be three feet nine inches, its width two feet three inches, and its height two feet three inches.
25:11 You are to overlay it with pure gold - both inside and outside you must overlay it, and you are to make a surrounding border of gold over it.
25:13 You are to make poles of acacia wood, overlay them with gold, and put the poles into the rings at the sides of the ark in order to carry the ark with them.
25:18 You are to make two cherubim of gold; you are to make them of hammered metal on the two ends of the atonement lid.
25:20 The cherubim are to be spreading their wings upward, overshadowing the atonement lid with their wings, and the cherubim are to face each other, looking toward the atonement lid.
25:21 You are to put the atonement lid on top of the ark, and in the ark you are to put the testimony I am giving you.
Replica of ark of the Covenant (Hebrew: אָרוֹן הָבְּרִית‎ Ārōn Hāb’rīt [modern pron. Aron Habrit
Photograph taken by Suseno
Used under Creative Commons License.

It seems they did not put cherubim on mikoshis in ancient Japan.  Why?
Because there is not faith in cherubim in Japan?
Fenghuang was used instead of cherubim. They are mythological birds of East Asia.
Fenghuang is used as single on the top, but other 4 Fenghuangs are often used on 4 corners of the roof.
Regarding the difference of the being on the top of the Ark and mikoshi, I guess like following.
Let's say that the part of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel had come to ancient Japan.
But they would hide their religious fath, because they would have serious trouble if they did so.
When Buddhism was imported to Japan in 6th century, there were big fighting between Shinto sect and Buddhism sect.
Many people of Shinto senct showed resistance to Buddhist to defend their own religion.
The descendants of the Lost Tribes might have tried to avoid such conflict.

Is there anything similar to the ark and mikoshi somewhere else in the world?
I showed the two examples on my YouTube video.
How about the portable shrine with anubis figure from the grave of tutenchamun, replica.
It might be related to the Ark of Convenant.But anubis and cherubim are very different.
Next example on the video is regarding Mazu(Matsu), Chinese goddes of the sea.
I went to the Mazu Festival of Mazu Shrine, Yokohama, japan, March 20,2010.
The viecle for Mazu is similar to mikoshi, but This is not an ark.
We cannot say this is a portable shrine.

What elements of the Ark of the Covenant and mikoshis are in common?

  1. Both are portable shrines.
  2. They are covered by gold.
  3. Two bars are attached on the bottom of the ark, in order to carry on their shoulders.
  4. Some being with wings are put on the roof,
  5. The two are about the same size.

Mikoshis have the history about 1300 years.
A mikoshi was believed to have been first used to transport Hachiman god to Todai-ji temple in Nara from Usa Shrine in Kyushu in 749.
When people carry a mikoshi, they say "Essa, essa".
Some Jews think that it comes from the Hebrew word "essa" that means "to carry".

Had the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel visited ancient Japan?
I still do not have the answer. But I think that the possibility is high.


'Ark of the Covenant and Mikoshi by Naoya Momose(Noya)'
is licensed under a Creative Commons 3.0 Unported License


2 comments:

ramon espinosa said...

You need Eli Cohen to explain in a audio feed

ramon espinosa said...

Read the text at the side bar