lLLICISM in japan
A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE FACULTY OF ARTS,
LITERATURE, AND SCIENCE, OF THE UNIVERSITY
OF CHICAGO, IN CANDIDACY FOR THE
DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF
> I. a
iALLICISM IN JAPAN
A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE FACULTY OF ARTS,
LITERATURE, AND SCIENCE, OF THE UNIVERSITY
OF CHICAGO, IN CANDIDACY FOR THE
DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF
€t)t 3Untoet0itg of OTt)irago $ms
JAN 18 1955
Dedication - - - - . . - 4
Preface - - - - 4
Bibliography on Phallicism in Japan - - - 5
Bibliography on Shinto
Bibliography on Phallicism - - - - - 6
Museums of Shinto Cultus Implements - - 8
Museums of Phallic Cultus Implements - - - Q
I. Phallicism in Japan
I. Temples - - - - - - 10
II. Symbols - - - - - - - 14
III. Festivals - - - 10
IV. Rituals - - - - - - - 22
V. Phallicism in the Kojiki - - - 22
II. Creed of Phallicism - - - - - 26
III. Place of Phallicism in the Evolution of Religion - - 30
IV. Does Phallicism belong to Shinto? - - - - 32
V. Suggestions for Further Research " " ■ 33
Respectfully dedicated as an expression of highest esteem to
Emil G. Hirsch, Ph.D., Professor of Rabbinical Literature and
Philosophy in the University of Chicago and Rabbi in the Sinai
Congregation, Chicago, that profound scholar and ever ready
patron of liberal learning, without whose generous aid in the
Emil G. Hirsch fellowship, this thesis could not have been
This thesis is meant for a study in Shinto, while a work com-
plete at least in outline will be published so soon as oppor-
The circumscription in the circulation of an academic mono-
graph renders admissible a detail and frankness in the treatment
of phallicism which would be inadmissible in work destined for
the general public. Should any general reader happen upon
this article and find it unduly stimulating his lower sensibility,
he may thereby judge his distance from the scientific purpose of
the writer, and will do better in passing the article to fitter
hands. Finally let me say that in breaking such new ground as
is here done, errors both of commission and omission must occur,
and these should meet with prompt correction at the hands of
the many scholars in Japan who are best fitted to the task.
BIBLIOGRAPHY ON PHALLICISM IN JAPAN.
On this topic no book of course is to be expected, but there
is moreover no monograph, article, or chapter, and but four
stray references to the topic as such in any of the very numerous
works treating of Japan, or of Shinto, its native faith, which I
have been able, after visiting libraries in many capitals, to con-
sult. These four references are a description of a phallic festival
by Dresser, a single sentence by Dr. J. J. Rein, a footnote by
Rev. W. E. Griffis, D.D., and a brief paragraph in the Hand-
book to Japan. Each will be quoted in its proper place.
Neither in accounts of Shinto is any mention made of phal-
licism, nor in the accounts of phallicism given in special works
— to be described later — is any reference made to Japan. The*,
encyclopaedias of course reflect this omission of the special works.
Thus Meyer's Conversations Lexicon sub Phallos states that
phallicism "extended from India to the shores of the Nile and
Ionian Sea," no doubt ignorant of the cult of InyOseki in Japan,
as of Fricco among the Teutons.
BIBLIOGRAPHY ON SHINTO.
The authorities referred to in this work are Transactions oj
the Asiatic Society of Japan, Vols. I. -XXI. ; Japan, Kaempfer in
Pinkerton's Voyages, Vol. 7 ; Japan, Caron in the same ; Japan,
S. S. Rein; Japan, Dresser; Mikado's Empire, W. E. Grif-
fis ; Manners and Customs of the Japanese, Humbert ; Hand-
book for Japan, Chamberlain and Mason ; Mythology and Reli-
gious Worship of the Ancient Japanese, Satow in Westminster
Review for July, 1878 ; Japa)iese — English Dictionary, Hepburn ;
Inyoseki, Hirata no Kuro Tane, being selections from the
Koshiden of Hirata Atsutane ; Notes on the Ancient Stone Imple-
ments of Japan, T. Kanda, Tokyo. The only articles on Shinto
at once original and, at least in outline, complete are the three
following which are named in their time order :
Mittheilungen uber die Kamielehre, by P. Keinpermann in
Mittheilungen der deutschen Gesellschaft fiir Natur und Volker-
kunde Ostasien's, January, 1874.
Mythology and Religious Worship of the Ancient Japanese, by
E. Satow in Westminster Review for July, 1878.
Introduction to the Kojiki, by B. H. Chamberlain in Transac-
tions of the Asiatic Society of Japan. Supplement to Vol. X., 1882.
It is noteworthy that each of these correct and learned treatises
altogether overlooks the phallic cult which is undoubtedly extant
BIBLIOGRAPHY ON PHALLICISM.
Though the range of this article is limited to Japan, the gen-
eral subject of phallicism is so little known even to those
likely to meet this paper that a specification of some general
sources will probably prove acceptable. It is a matter for regret
that treatises on comparative religion omit all recognition of
phallicism as a general phase of religion. Of such may be noted:
Primitive Culture, E. B. Tylor, 1871 ; Introduction to the
Science of Religion, F. Max Miiller, 1882; Prologomena of the
History of Religions, A. Reville, 1884; Ecclesiastical Institutions,
H.Spencer, 1S85 ; Religionsgcschichte, C. Saussaye, 1887; Myth,
Ritual and Religion, A. Lang, 1887 ; Science of Religions, E. Bur-
nouf, 1 888; Natural Religion, F. M. Miiller, 1888; Physical
Religion, F. M. Miiller, 1890; Anthropological Religion, F. M.
We venture to draw special attention to the last but one, which
in treating nature-worship should have included phallicism. But
while it treats abundantly of fire, it makes no mention of the
phallos, or linga as it is called in India, to which country all Mr.
Midler's treatises are confined. Yet while the traveler in that
country sees little or nothing of fire-cult, he sees hundreds of linga,
the whole number being estimated at nothing less than thirty [ |
Saussaye's classic of course mentions phallicism in its historic
sections, but no due recognition is made of phallicism in the top-
ical treatment of the subject entitled Phenomenologischer Theil.
Strangely enough, the immense Encyclopaedia Britannica has no
article on our topic, but the American and International Encyclo-
psedias, and the German Conversations Lexicons give correct
general statements of It. An excellent account of Indian phalli-
cism appears in the Hinduism and Brahmanism of Sir M. Wil-
liams (cf. index sub lingd), and in his Buddhism, p. 372. For
the wider Aryan field consult Mythology of the Aryan Nations, by
Sir G. W. Cox, though the details here advanced are still under
discussion. It is not too much to say that all the works hitherto
devoted exclusively to phallicism are unreliable. In fact the rule
seems to be, as stated to me by Dr. Reid of the British Museum,
that so soon as one begins to study phallicism he goes crazy.
The writers of these special works on phallicism are all amateurs
— a plurality being medical doctors — and most of them are
warped by an anti-Christian bias. They represent the reaction
inevitable on the general neglect of the topic by those theologians,
philosophers and anthropologists who have for one reason or
another ignored a phase of religion, as natural as it was in fact
general, if not quite universal. The chief of these special works
A Discourse on the Worship of Priapus, by R. P. Knight, to
which is added "An Essay on the Worship of the Generative Pow-
ers during the Middle Ages of Western Europe," Anon., London,
1865. The starring of this work in Sonnenschein's "Best Books"
must be taken strictly in relation to such other works as exist,
and not as a sign of satisfactoriness, which in fact it does not
Ancient Faiths embodied in Ancient Names. T. Inman, M.D.
This is a work of Dr. Reid's "crazy " kind, full of false etymologies
and identifications, and intensely doctrinaire and anti-Christian.
Its lexical form affords excellent opportunity for the repetition
in which it abounds through the 792 pp. of Vol. I., and the 1028
pp. of Vol. II. ! The uncritical nature of the whole may be
inferred from the author's caution that where statements in the
later portion of the work differ from those in the earlier, the
later must be considered correct ! Such books will continue to
entrap the unwary until accredited writers deal with the topic in
its rightful place. Yet Inman demonstrates some survivals in
Christianity which its accredited teachers find it convenient to
hush up. Ancient Pagan and Modern Christian Symbolism. Same
author. The statement in Sonnenschein that this work will suf-
fice for acquaintance with the author's views I cannot confirm.
Wholesale condemnation of such works are usually as falsely
motived as the works themselves.
Rivers of Life. Forlong. 18S3. The experience of this
writer throughout a long residence in various parts of India as
military engineer makes him an authority on rarely known facts,
but his neglect to specify names of places and persons lends the
whole an untrustworthy air, and damages it as proof. In the six
chapters into which his 54S folio pages are divided, no analysis,
progress or order whatsoever is discernible.
Tree and Serpent Worship. J. Fergusson, 1873. This is the
Fergusson of archaeological and architectural fame and the star-
ring of his work in Sonnenschein is well deserved by his extensive
acquaintance with the phallic phenomena of India.
Monumens du Culte Secret des Dames Romaines. A. Capree,
1874. These are chiefly reproductions of gems engraved by Greek
artists at Rome about the time of Augustus, and exhibit in great
beauty and detail the phallic sacrifices and processions of their own
and preceding ages. Particularly one on Plate 50, representing a
phallic procession carved on cornelian, about 2 by 1 inches is, so far
as I know, after searching museums around the world, a unique
monument of that once familiar rite. It comprises besides the
phallos which is borne in triumph under a canopy, a gigantic
kteis (pudenda muliebria), a bull, a goat, and numerous musi-
I met the above works, among others, in the British Museum,
most of them in the reserve shelves, to which only special stu-
dents are allowed access.
1) Of Shinto Cultits Implements. The only museums outside
Tokyo where I have seen or heard of Shinto cultus implements
are the Leyden Museum, the Musee Guimet in Paris, and the
Pitt-Rivers Museum in Oxford. The last two make no preten-
sion to completeness, and indeed both are conspicuously incom-
plete. Phalloi from Japan these museums have none, nor had
their curators learned that such objects were found there. Of the
Leyden Museum I unfortunately know nothing in detail.
2) Of Phallic Cultus Implements. The implements of the
phallic cult where possessed at all are mostly withdrawn to secret
cabinets, except where so conventional as to run no danger of
" scandalizing the prude and the prudent or of pleasing the pru-
rient and the vile." Only in the Naples Museum is any notice
given of the existence of such cabinet, or is admittance granted
the general public. In all other museums examination is granted
only on request and that for scientific purposes. An eminent
American anthropologist, known to me, visited the British
Museum armed with full credentials to the curator of the religious
section, and was allowed to leave without information that a
phallic collection originally valued by R. P. Knight at .£50,000
was preserved there. It is such precautions — necessary in some
degree in behalf of present-day morality — that have made possi-
ble that garbling of history, philosophy, comparative religion, and
theology that at present misleads the majority of even the highly
educated. But true science knows no sex, and those who cannot
forget the latter should eschew the former. Altars, reliefs, neck-
laces, gems, but especially Greek and Roman vases form the most
likely places for phallic monuments — except of course phalloi
themselves, — and generally stand mixed with other objects quite
safe from the observation of the average museum visitor.
Living Authorities on Phallicism in Japan. Though I found
no one in Europe or America aware of the presence of phallicism
in Japan, I never found an old resident in Japan ignorant of it.
It is evidently high time that some mediation be made between
these two parties, and such will be the purpose of the present
I. PHALLICISM IN JAPAN.
Phallicism forms an integral part of nature worship, and as
such will, if normal, possess a cult and a creed, though the
latter may be in part or even entirely implied, and can then be
elicited only by questions put to the devotees. The content of
its religious consciousness may then be compared with absolute
religion, and finally it may be tested for conduct. These four
spheres of religious activity suggest a convenient scheme for tab-
ulating data, and will now be considered in the order named.
The phallic cult, that is worship or ceremony, requires a con-
sideration of temples, symbols, festivals, and rituals.
I. Temples. — Such phallic temples include (i) the fully equip-
ped "miya" or temple with resident priest or priests; (2) the
smaller miya with only occasional services ; (3) the mere sheds
protecting from the rain, rows of phalloi ; and, (4) a mere fence
or boundary, while the phallos stands in the open. To the
first class belongs a miya at Kasashima, fifteen miles south of
Sendai, said to have been founded about 250 B. C. by Yamato
Takeru No Mikoto. The deity worshiped is Saruta Hiko No
Mikoto, of whom more later. In the service of this famous temple
were once fifteen resident priests with their families and houses.
To the same first class belongs a miya at Makiborimura in
Iwade Ken. The deities here are Izanagi, Izanami, and Saruta
Hiko, which three are associated with Konsci Dai Myojin
"Root of Life Great Shining God."
To the second class belongs the shrine at Kande, eight miles
inland from Akashi near Kobe, locally called Dai Seki Miya, or
Ra no Seki Miya — Great Stone Shrine, or Penis Stone Shrine.
Its seclusion in the country has saved its gigantic phallos from
the iconoclastic zeal of the reformer to bless the eyes of the
archaeologist. I hope the moss-grown pillar deity I found here
may yet be granted a place of honor in some museum when the
rising sun of an exacter science and a nobler faith has enlisjht-
ened the simple, honest country folk who now trust in him for
various daily needs. This miya is about ten feet square, hung
with native pictures, furnished with altar and gohei — symbol of
divinity, — and provided back and front with a wooden grating
through which the four feet high phallos may be seen standing
behind the miya within an oblong stone fence, but unsheltered
save by the bamboo forest around. The ground inside this fence
is thickly covered with shells, of which more later. Some score
yards from the shrine and phallos stands a kteis, formed in this
instance by a natural collocation of three rocks, the whole being
some five feet high, and requiring so much imagination to con-
strue into a kteis that I doubt not the time will come when the
closet philosopher will deny they were ever so considered. Any
doubts that such a rough pile of rocks was really worshipped
would have been soon dispelled by the tiny native paper Hags
bearing the legend, Osame tatematsuru, "respectfully dedicated,"
which had been stuck into the ground before the symbol. The
local names for this interesting pair are for the phallos Okko
San, for the kteis Mekko San, which are names given by the Ainus
— the dwellers in the land before the Mongol invasion — to the
hill on which the two now stand and a neighboring hill similar
in size and shape, on which the phallos formerly stood. Local
tradition preserves the fact, and the Japan A/a// of August 22,
1 89 1, p. 224, refers to Oakkan and Meakkan as names given two
neighboring hills in Yezo where the Ainus are still extant.
Of the third, the mere shed class, I found a good specimen
in a shrine to the phallos as Konsei on the Konsei Pass above
Lake Yumoto near Nikko. That this shrine dates back to the
first possession of the land appears certain from the hnpartation
of its name to the pass on which it stands. It may turn out that
Okko and Mekko are also names of the pudenda, and originally
gave their names to the hills* on which they once stood. I got
track of this shrine from that model Handbook for Japan (third
edition) issued by B. H. Chamberlain and W. B. Mason, two of
the foremost scholars in Japan. Their brief note runs thus :
"Tradition says that the original object of reverence was made
of gold, but that having been stolen, it was afterwards replaced
by one of stone. Ex-votos, chiefly wood and stone emblems, are
often presented at the shrine. Very little is known about the
origin of phallic worship in Japan, although it appears to have
been at one time nearly universal in the country districts,
especially those of the north and east." This brief statement is
the only general one that has yet appeared on the subject, and
no doubt summed up general knowledge on it three years ago.
It was to be corrected in the forthcoming edition. The shrine
consists of a wooden shed some four feet square with a low shelf
running round three sides on which stand some dozen phalloi
of various sizes in stone and wood. Hard by stands a large
stone lantern. On the shrine appears the name and address of
a Tokyo hotel company specially catering to pilgrims, and at
whose expense the shrine had probably been restored.
Another shrine of this class stands at Yamada outside the
northwest corner of the famous Naiku San — the Ise shrine to
Amaterasu, the "Heaven-Shiner," regent of the Shinto pantheon,
— and between two temples, one to Oho-yama-tsu-mi-no-kami
"the Deity-Great-Mountain-Possessor," and the other to his
daughter Ko-no-haiia-saku-ya-himc, " Princess-Blossoming-Bril- <
liantly-Like-the-Flowers-of-the-Trees", v. ho presides over Mount
Fuji. The shrine frames a typical phallos and kteis side by side,
though scores of native miniature torii (wooden gateway to tem-
ple) ever pile over and hide these antique dual deities from the
careless observer. These torii had been removed for the occasion
when the photograph found at the frontispiece of this work was
taken. At the neighboring temple of the Ko-no-hana-saku-
ya-hime native phalloi and ktenes are brought or taken by
persons desiring children, spouse, or healing of diseases of the
generative system. An erotic story is related of this deity, Kojiki
115; and her sister Iwa-naga-hime, "Enduring as the-Rocks,"
presiding over Mount Oyama, is symbolized by a large stone in
the shrine at its summit and there worshiped by the harlots
from Tokyo. This stone should be examined to learn whether
it be a kteis or simply symbolic of the deity's name as explained
in a legend or myth, Kojiki 116.
To this class probably belonged the cases mentioned in the Mika-
do s Empire 33 : "I have noticed the prevalence of these shrines
and symbol's, especially in eastern and northern Japan, having
counted as many as a dozen, and this by the roadside, in a trip
to Nikko. The barren of both sexes worship them, or offer them
ex-voto. In Sagami, Kadzusa, and even in Tokvo itself, they were
visible as late as 1874, cut in stone and wood." The road here
referred to from Tokyo to Nikko is about 100 miles long, and
three-fourths of it is part of one of the chief highways in Japan.
Of the last class, where the temple reduces to its original
notion of a separated space in the open, there are naturally many
cases of so primitive a cult. Such I infer from the remains was
the now dismantled platform at Nikko, the stone phalloi having
been all dumped below an adjacent Buddhist temple — where
they now lie- — in response to the remonstrance of the then
American minister, on the ground that the place was one of great
summer resort for foreign families.
I transfer from a sheet published by Myase Sadao, and
extracted by him from the Koshiden (Ancient History) of the
famous Japanese historian and archaeologist Hirata Atsutane, the
following cases. All belong to the last-named class or a
subdivision of it yet to be mentioned :
Phallos in the open at Kotakainura, in Katorigori, province
Ditto at Otamura, Inabagori, Shimosa.
Ditto at Ishigimura, Mishimagori, Echigo.
Ditto at Shibuimura, Nishi Kasaigori, Musashi,
Phallos with kteis beside it at Matsuzawamura, Katorigori,
Shimosa. "Both like to drink wine, and hence are called Sake
iionii isJii, Wine drinking stones." The worshiper presents wine
which they absorb very quickly. More than 250 years ago the
kteis departed to the next village, and in consequence no mar-
riage could be contracted between the people of the two villages.
Sixty- two years ago the stone returned.
Lastly come an interesting sub-group, standing in the open
hut distinguished by being naturally of sexual shape. Whether
art of man has assisted groping nature, or the artist has embel-
lished his sketch, I cannot judge. Certainly any such stones
would not fail to attract the attention of primitive man and sug-
gest or confirm that sexual philosophy of life which meets the
student of primitive culture in every part of the world.
First comes an entire island, though of course a very small
one, of height greater than breadth and bearing on its crown
some dozen trees. It lies northeast of Awaji and is named
Onokorojima, "Spontaneously congeled island," or Eskimo,
"Placenta island," about which more later.
Next comes a natural phallos some twenty feet high and a
kteis of proportionate size, about two thirds of a mile apart, on
Inushima in Bizen.
Last on this sheet of Hiratas is a natural phallos and kteis
placed suitably for the inception of coition. " Some one did
injury to the rock and was destroyed, and all his house."
This is simply the list of a single observer and enquirer, and
needs the complementation that can easily be given when once
attention is called to the importance of the subject as a legiti
mate branch of nature worship, and one of the normal manifes-
tations of religious thought in its search for some clue to that
Absolute Ruler of Nature that the deepest thinkers still declare
Last in this strange story come two groups, each of four
immense natural phalloi 15-200 feet high, situated in the court
of a Buddhist temple called Reiganji, near Kuroki in the province
II. Symbols. — Next let us consider phallic symbols, and here I
cannot do other than describes the phallic part of my own col-
lection of Shinto cultus implements now on exhibition in the
Walker Museum of the University of Chicago. 1
1. Natural water-worn phallos of stone with a nodule forming
the glaus penis. Highly prized by former owner as the phallos
of a deity. Cn. 22x10. From one of the very numerous brothels
at Yamada, where stands the famous shrine to the Sun Goddess.
2. Natural water-worn phallos, the ridge of the glaus being
formed of a harder stratum, 9.5 x 4.8. From temple at Mizusawa.
3. Like No. 2 in all respects but size which is 7.1 x 2.3. From
4. Natural Phallos but so little like its original that only its
1 All measurements are given in centimeters.
source from a phallic temple would induce an unpracticed for-
eigner to credit that it was ever considered one. From phallic
shrine at Yamada.
5. Phallos cut from volcanic stone, well executed and new,
20 x 10. From shrine on the Konsei Pass.
6. Phallos of baked clay, blackened by age. Realistic,
22x7. From brothel at Yamada, where it stood on the Kami-
dana " God-shelf," for occasional worship when an inmate had
obtained a good fee.
7. Phallos of cast iron, 9.1x3.2. From Mizusawa.
8. Phallos of wood, 17x4. From Mizusawa.
9. Another, 19x4.
10. Another, stained pink, 22x6.
n. Phallos used in pairs as amulet for boys. Octagonal
shaft surmounted with octagonal pyramid, stained in pink, scarlet
and green. A string passing through central and vertical hole
serves to suspend over child's shoulder. From Mizusawa.