Tsuina (追儺)

Tsuina is an annual event held on New Year's Eve (December 30 according to the old calendar) in the Imperial Court, and this ceremony of onibarai (to expel ogres) has been held since the early Heian period. The event is also called "Oniyarai" (the event to chase off the demons and is also written to read 鬼遣らい by using Chinese characters and 鬼儺 by using different Chinese characters.) and "Nayarai." Tsuina used to be an event in China, the concept of the event was imported to Japan, and the event finally became an annual event in the Imperial Court.

The event was the origin of the bean-scattering festival that is held at Setsubun at the present day.

Summary of the Ceremony
In those days, a total of 20 government officials, including those called Hososhi, who were responsible for expelling ogres and others called Shinshi, who supported the Hososhi, participated in the event, and they called out while walking around within the Imperial Palace and government offices.

Hososhi wore outer robes and a mask with four golden eyes and held long-handled Chinese spears in their right hand and a large shield in their left hand. When Hososhi went around the Imperial Palace and government offices, court nobles holding bows and an arrows drew their weapons at Hososhi from the stairs in the Seiryoden (Literally Limpid Cool Hall, an imperial summer palace), and tenjobito (high-ranking courtiers allowed into the Imperial Palace) performed exorcism by rolling the handles of den-den drums.

However, the tables were turned as Hososhi, who had been responsible for expelling ogres, began to be expelled as ogres in the middle of the ninth century. Kazuo MIYAKE, an ancient historian explains that this change may have occurred because popularity of Shokue shinko (uncleanliness religion) in the early Heian period developed the sense of avoidance against Hososhi, who had been deeply related with funeral rites, and altered the position of Hososhi to be expelled as impurities.

Jimoku (ceremony for appointing officials) for Tsuinameshi

People who missed out on an appointment at ceremony for appointing local officials in Spring or at the ceremony for appointing Kyoto officials in Fall were given an appointment in the Tsuina ceremony. It is also called Tsuina no jimoku.

[Original Japanese]