Oeshiki (お会式)

Oeshiki means Daihoe (great Buddhist memorial service) (a festival) that is held on the anniversary of sects' founders etc.

It is kigo (seasonal words) for autumn in haiku (Japanese seventeen-syllable poet) since Oeshiki of Nichiren Sect is held in autumn as explained below.

Oeshiki of Nichiren Sect
Oeshiki is a Buddhist memorial service that is held on the anniversary of Nichiren (October 13) in various schools of Nichiren Sect.

Oeshiki held at Ikegami Honmon-ji Temple, located in Ota Ward, Tokyo, is especially famous as a festival and hundreds of thousands of people visit it. Though its origin is not clear, it is contemplated that Oeshiki was held as early as in the Edo period because it appears in "Meisho Edo Hyakkei" (a hundred scenery spots in Edo) painted by Hiroshige UTAMARO, an Ukiyoe artist.

On the eve of Nichiren's anniversary (October 12) called Otaiya, groups of believers (kochu) gathered from around the nation parade inside the precincts hoisting mando candles (candles for Buddhist service) and chochin (a lantern), waving matoi (firemen's flag), beating uchiwa-daiko (a round fan drum) and shoko drums and chanting daimoku (Nichiren chant).

Originally, it was a simple event in which participants worshipped hoisting chochin with a candle lighted and beating uchiwa-daiko. Waving matoi became common when Machihikeshi (civil firemen) in the Meiji period participated along with people of kochu. In recent years, light bulbs, fluorescent lamps and/or light -emitting diodes that are connected to a generator are used for mando in lieu of candles.

As Kishimojin (a goddess of childbirth and children) is often enshrined at temples of Nichiren Sect, Oeshiki is often held as the one that is combined with the festival of Kishimojin.

Depending on temples, chigogyoretsu (kids parade) sometimes appears in Oeshiki or Senbue (another important event), instead of Hanamatsuri (Buddhist festival celebrating Buddha's birthday).

October 13 above is based on the lunar calendar and it coincides with November 21 on the solar calendar.

Oeshiki of Jodo-Sect
In Jodo-Sect, the memorial Buddhist service for Honen's parents, its biggest Buddhist Memorial service, is called Oeshiki.

In Jodo-sect, another important event called Ojuya is held around the same time with Oeshiki of Nichiren Sect.

Oeshiki of Shotoku Sect
At Horyu-ji Temple (Ikaruga-cho, the head temple of Shotoku Sect), 'Oeshiki' is held from March 22 -24, which coincides with shotsuki-meinichi (the anniversaries of one's death after the first anniversary) of the virtual sect founder Prince Shotoku (on lunar calendar basis). Especially, Daihoyo (Daieshiki) held once ten years is called 'Shoryoe' and on that occasion, bugaku (music accompanying traditional Japanese court dances) in which players dance along to gagaku (ceremonial court music) performed by Sanpo gakusho (organization of transmission of gagaku) is dedicated.

Other than the above, similar events are held in Kegon Sect, Shingon Sect and at some shrines.

Oeshiki held at each region of Japan
Those which are open to outsiders' visit/photo-taking and Kids parade or kids dance appear in those with * mark.

Hokkaido region

Tohoku region

North Kanto region

October 12 (lunar calendar): Hoko-ji Temple (Tatebayashi City)*

November 12: Honjo-ji Temple (Tomioka City)

South Kanto region

September: Myohon-ji Temple (Kamakura City)*

October 11 - 13: Ikegami Honmon-ji Temple (Ota Ward, Tokyo)

October 12 - 13: Myoho-ji Temple (Suginami Ward)*

October 15: Tenmyokoku-ji Temple (Shinagawa Ward, Tokyo)

October 16 - 18: Homyo-ji Temple (Toshima Ward, Tokyo)

Third Saturday in October: Myoren-ji Temple (Asahi Ward, Yokohama City)* (located along Sagami Railway and attention should be paid to 'kyoku-daimoku' (a traditional performing art that has been passed down at Myoren-ji Temple).

Middle of October: Hokekyo-ji Temple (Ichikawa City)*

November 3: Myoren-ji Temple (Kohoku Ward, Yokohama City) (located along Tokyu Railway)

Middle of November: Tanjo-ji Temple (Nichiren Sect) (Kamogawa City)*

Koshinetsu region

October 14 - 15: Honyo-ji Temple (Ueda City)*

Late of November: Myoho-ji Temple (Masuho-cho)*

November 22 - 23: Shofuku-ji Temple (Masuho-cho)*

Tokai region

April 1 - 3: Tsu-kannon (Tsu City)*

April 5: Shizuoka Sengen-jinja Shrine (Aoi Ward, Shizuoka City)* (though it is a shrine, its event is also called Oeshiki)

Hokuriku region

Kyoto Prefecture

October 12 - 13: Myoren-ji Temple (Kamigyo Ward, Kyoto City)

October 13: Honzen-ji Temple (Jinmon school of Hokke Sect) (Kamigyo Ward, Kyoto City) * 'Ritsuzo Shakuson' (standing statue of Shakuson), which was used by the sect founder Nichiren, is displayed.

Other Kansai regions than Kyoto

March 22: Horyu-ji Temple (Ikaruga-cho)

Late of March: Abe Monju-in Temple (Sakurai City)

Chugoku/Shikoku region

Third Sunday in April: Tanjo-ji Temple (Jodo Sect) (Kumenan-cho) *

Kyushu region

[Original Japanese]