執筆 上野陽子
2011/12 Up

第7回 日本の12月、師走
Vol.7 Shiwasu-another name for December in Japan

Who is “running around” in “Shiwasu”?


* 赤い色の語句の上にマウスカーソルを移動させる(スマホの場合はタップする)と語注が表示されます

The people running around in this season were those Japan's oldest travel bureau!?

December has another name, “Shiwasu” in Japan. It means even a “shi” runs around because they are busy. Well, who is the shi running around? There is an opinion that shi refers to Buddhist monks. Because they are busy preparing for the many Buddhist events at the end of the year, they have to run around. From a linguistic point of view, it is said that it comes from the phrase “toshi hatsuru” (the year comes to an end) that then turned intoshi hatsu.” There are many different opinions about who's “running” in this season, but there is one particularly interesting one, which explains that shi is from “onshi,” and that they ran Japan's oldest travel bureau. Well, why did they have to run around in this season?

日本では12月の別名を「師走」といいます。これは「師」も忙しくて走り回るという意味です。さて、この走る「師」とは誰なのでしょう? 「師」は僧侶の意味で、年末の仏事の準備で走り回る忙しさという説もあれば、言語学的には「年果てる」が「し果つ」に変化した……など、この走り回るのは誰? の疑問には諸説あります。ここで、ひとつ面白い説がありました! この師とは「御師」であり、日本最古の旅行業者ともいわれる人たちだというのです。では、なぜ旅行業者である彼らが年末になると走りまわるのでしょうか?

Shi were also spiritual counselors?

Recently, Princess Mako visited Ise Jingu, which is the Japanese Imperial Families' tutelary shrine, for the traditional 20-year-olds' celebration. It is said that many Japanese people long to visit the shrine at least once in their lifetime, and five million people visited Ise Jingu during the Edo period.
The attendants at Ise Jingu were called onshi from “Onkitoshi,” who were originally a type of priests (a kind of shaman), who also performed rituals and sacred observances to the gods. This means their role was comparable to that of a spiritual guide in today's word. Besides spiritual matters, there was also another reason to visit there...


年に1度のバケーション! 憧れのお伊勢参りを実現する
An annual vacation; realizing the dream of visiting O-Ise

When a new year begins, people visit the Ise shrine to replace their old amulets with new ones. Visiting the shrine itself is a very sacred matter, but it was a kind of vacation for old people at the same time.
So, onshi not only guided people to sacred places, but also helped people to find accommodation and meals and with buying souvenirs. Onshi worked as a travel bureau would today. So, the season when people visited Ise shrine was the busiest time of the year for onshi and they had to run around.


お坊さんも走れば旅行業者も走り回って……ああ忙しい! 兎(と)にも角にも忙しいこの季節を乗り越えたら、いよいよお正月です。次回はやっとホッと落ち着ける新年について眺めてみましょう。

The person, shi, running around at the end of the year were attendants at Japan's oldest travel bureau.

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