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Sakai City , Fukui
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The Shinto ritual of the Hyoko rice    

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Entire story: 45 minutes
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The Hyoko no Kome is a Shinto ritual which has been handed down in Fukuro Shrine in Kitayokoji, Maruoka-cho, Sakai City. Fukuro Shrine is a time-honored shrine listed in the Engishiki (compiled in 927) and enshrines Emperor Ojin and Princess Maruyahime, who was a daughter of Empress Jingu and Emperor Keitai.
There are several legends as to the origin of this ritual, including one that a rice donation was gathered in order to show gratitude for Princess Maruyahimes efforts in irrigation.
On the evening of September 14, men and children, naked except for their loincloths, get together at the Hyoko no Kome hall and perform a ritual called Otashiyori, making a circle by clasping each others shoulders while singing in time to hayashi music played by drums. It is followed by Komeuchi or milling the rice ritual. The men place the first ears of rice dedicated from each household in the area into the rice mortar and mill it while singing a song, "the rice we mill now is the rice born out of peasants tears..." Then, the milled rice is rinsed in clear water, steamed in a seiro steamer basket, and dedicated to the altar. The rest is made into ball shapes and given away to the congregation in the mi or winnow.

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