Chosen-dera Temple (Korean Temple) (朝鮮寺)
Chosen-dera Temple (Korean Temple) refers to the common name of the temples worshipped by korean people living in Japan, particularly, the women. A lot of Korean Temples are concentrated at the foot of Mt. Ikoma. This name is conveniently given by researchers, and are not used by the temples or devotees.
According 1981 statistics, the 30 percent of the korean people living in Japan resided in Osaka. Increasing the scope to include Hyogo Prefecture, Kyoto Prefecture and Osaka Prefecture increases this number to 50 percent. It used to be reported that 60 Korean Temples were located around the foot of Mt. Ikoma as the object of worship of these people, but these days, the number has decreased to about 20. In the area spreading 10km from north to south on the west side of Mt. Ikoma viewing Osaka, specifically, from north, Zushidani Valley, Nukatadani Valley, Narukawadani Valley, all of which are known as hiking trails, Yamahata and Hattorigawa Area, and Kurotani, a few temples are closely located in line along each valley running in parallel. These correspond to Shijonawate City, Daito City, Higashiosaka City and Yao City in public administration. In the center of this area located is Hozan-ji Temple visited by so many devotees, and the presence of this temple seems to have influenced the foundation of Korean Temples concentrated in this area.
Overview of temple
Many Korean Temples have Hondo (main hall), Shichiseido (hall to worship Septentrions) and Sainokami (guardian deity). The first and the second correspond to Daeungjeon Hall and Samseonggak Hall in Buddhist temples of Korean Peninsula. Its Honzon (principal object of worship at a temple) and main hall enshrining Bosatsu (Buddhist saint) were different from the general Buddhist temples of Japan in terms of appearance, and they would be almost mistaken for folk dwelling or gathering place on first visit. The temple's name plate is fairly modest. In Shichiseido, God of the mountain, God of the sea and so on are enshrined with God of the stars in the center, and all Shichiseido is located on a geographically higher location than the main hall. God of the stars and God of the sea are also worshipped in Korean Peninsula to pray for happiness and wealth respectively, which shows syncretization in their beliefs. Sainokami-jo (place of guardian deity) is generally a space with a width of a few tatami, without ornaments. Sainokami-jo is a place where the belief in material benefits like Shamanism is carried on, and miko (shrine maiden or male attendant) holds a ceremony dedicated to gods or Buddha to pray for devotees' benefits of this world. Sainokami-jo and the belief in material benefits are outstanding features of Korean Temple. In numerous believes in Korean Temple, the importance of Buddhism and Sainokami differs depending on each temple.
In the precincts, hokora (small shrine) and fall used for gyoba (ascetic practice place) are usually situated, making use of natural landform. In many of them and the main hall, Fudo Myoo (Acala, one of the five Wisdom Kings) is enshrined.
Many Korean Temples use the name of any religious school of Buddhism in Korea or Japan. A popular Korean religious school is the Jogye sect, and that of Japanese is Shugen-related school such as Tendai sect and Shingon sect. The actual overview of temple mentioned above doesn't vary according to any religious school that a Korean Temple belongs to. In addition to the fact that they are not affected by any systematic or religious influence, Korean Temples have no relation to the ceremony for dead, therefore, it can be considered to belong to Buddhism for prayer, worshipping material benefits.
The representative annual event is Bussho-e (Buddhist mass celebrating Buddha's Birthday) of April 8, Shichiseisai Festival of July 7 and Setsubun (the traditional end of winter) of winter solstice (all date according to old lunar calendar) where dozens people gather to take part in ceremony or festival. In these annual events, any magical element is rarely seen, and prayer for family's safety remains at the core.
On the other hand, ceremony of sainokami conducted by temple and miko upon request by devotees who suffered through a disaster has features of shamanism. This ceremony carries out the process in the following way; at first, calling the ancestor's spirit that caused the family disaster, then, asking it to stop the torture in exchange of for dance, offerings or money, finally sending it back to its original place. Sometimes, more than two spirits show up, so a-few-day ceremony costs 150,000 yen, and a-week ceremony costs 1,000,000 yen, that is paid by a devotee. The expense includes food, drink and transportation fee for miko who stays overnight at the temple during the ceremony, and money offerings repeatedly done during the ceremony. The money offering also joins miko's income.
In the ceremony, monk and miko stay side by side, and miko performs dance and exchange of spirits. Miko is highly respected by devotees and called by a title of honor. On the other hand, although Buddhist monks wear general uniforms of a monk, they are only expected to serve to authorize sainokami with Buddhism, so there is no difference in the ceremony carried out between each religious school.
Many existing miko are supposedly dozens of middle-aged or old-age women, and some of them reside as chief monk in Korean Temple, and the others are living in their own residence equipped with an altar. Many of them are tied by blood-related or master-and-pupil relationship.
Devotees of Korean Temples are mainly korean women living in Japan. In general, men, the head of family, serve to hold funerals and festivals in consistency with Confucianism, while women show their belief by visiting Korean Temples. Very few temples in Korea participated in the danka seido (parishioner system), and most devotees of such temples assembled after hearing of the reputation miko had for providing this-worldly benefits.