Jotoshiki (the roof-laying ceremony) (上棟式)

Jotoshiki is a religious service of Shinto for building a new house in Japan. It is also called muneage, tatemae, or tatemai. Jotoshiki is also held in Buddhism.

This is a ceremony to pray for the safety of the building after its completion. It is usually held when the basic structure including pillars, ridges, and beams is completed and a ridgepole is raised into place. Unlike other religious services at the shrines, the method and order of jotoshiki are not clearly defined and vary from region to region. The variation includes: a jotoshiki held at an alter placed on the roof; an alter is placed on the roof but the ceremony is held on the ground; and both alter and ceremony are on the ground. Jinja Honcho (Association of Shinto Shrines) has established a standardized version for the jotoshiki in its 'Shosaishiki yoko' (Outline of Various Ceremonies). According to this outline, the enshrined deity in the ceremony are Yafunekukunochi no mikoto, Yafune toyoukehime no mikoto, Taokihooi no mikoto, and Hikosashiri no mikoto, and the Ubusunagami (guardian deity of one's birthplace) of the region. The ritual proceeds first with Shubatsu (purification ceremony), Koshin (the invocation of the god to be present at the ritual), kensen (the presentation of the rice offerings); and then the recitation of a norito (Shinto prayer). After that, the three rituals that are unique to the jotoshiki are performed: the rope-pulling ritual (the raising of the ridgepole onto the rooftop); the mallet-striking ritual (the ridgepole is pounded into place); and the offerings-scattering ritual (mochi and coins are tossed to those below). As with other Shinto rituals, the ceremony finishes with a ritual bow, tessen (a ritual scattering of rice offerings), shoshin (the Invocation of the god to withdraw) and naorai (feast).

In regions that have construction craftsmen, tatemae and muneage mean a series of processes for scaffolding men to construct the framework by reviewing a banzuke hyo (a kind of the construction procedure manual) made by the head carpenter and to place a ridgepole on the top. This last process is the origin of the following ceremony to be called Jotoshiki or muneage shiki.

This ceremony may be held for a reinforced-concrete building when its main structure is completed.

[Original Japanese]