Doso-shin (Japanese Shinto deity) (道祖神)
Doso-shin (also referred to as Doso-jin) is a deity on roadsides. The deities are mostly deified in stone monuments or stone statues at village boundaries, city limits, crossroads, trifurcate roads, etc.
These from the old era symbolize a pair of male and female. The trace remains, for example, in steamed rice pounding, which symbolizes sexual intercourse. They have been worshiped as a village guardian and fertility deity, and in recent times, a travel and traffic safety deity.
Although they have been spread nationwide, there are few of them in Shimane prefecture where is the birthplace of the Izumo myth. They are popular in Koshinetsu and Kanto Region.
The word 'doso' already appeared in a book from the Heian period. It became well-known for being written in the preface of Basho MATSUO's "Narrow Road to the Deep North". However, Basho himself showed no interest in the origin of Doso-shin at all.
Although some say that it derived from Chinese deity and Jang-Sung faith of the Korean Peninsula, its origin is unclear.
When it was introduced to Japan, it turned into the Momodayu/Hyakudayu faith as well as yin and yang stone faith, and then combined with the folk religion deity of Chimata (crossroads, highways and footpaths).
Moreover, was combined with Sarutahiko-no-kami, also known as deity of a Chimata, and his so-called wife Amenouzumenomikoto in the shape of a male and female pair. It was also combined with Jizo Bosatsu (Jizo Bodhisattva) in syncretization of Shinto with Buddhism. Accordingly, Doso-shin has become fused to various faiths and religions from ancient to modern times.
The letter '且', which is a part of the character of '祖 (so)' as in Doso-shin indicates a penis in ancient Chinese hieroglyphic characters left on bones and tortoise carapaces and Kinbuntai (Chinese bronze inscriptions).
In response to that, character of 'Do' may form female genitals in a letter type Doso-shin statue.
It is called by various names in various places. For example, it may be called Dorokujin, Sai no kami, Sae no kami, Tamuke no kami, and so on. Around Yuzawa city, Akita Prefecture, it is called "Nio-san".
Varieties and shapes
Stand alone Doso-shin
Stand alone two deity Doso-shin
Spherical Doso-shin (it is said that a sphere symbolizes a placenta)
Letter type Doso-shin
Penis shaped Doso-shin
Natural stone Doso-shin
Two figure Doso-shin
Steamed-rice-pounding Doso-shin (sexual intercourse is symbolized)
Stone, metal, wood, straw, paper, etc.