- Or Konpira. A Buddhist deity until the Meiji period. Now technically a kami (O-mono-nushi), Kompira is widely venerated for safety at sea and is the protector of sailors, travellers, fishermen and shipping companies who are its ujiko. The name Kompira—in full Kompira dai-gongen, the pre-Meiji name of the deity—probably reflects the Sanskrit Kumbhira which is also the name of one of the Buddhist 'Twelve Heavenly Generals' of the Yakushi-kyo, the 'Medicine-Master Sutra'. Kompira's main shrine is the Kotohira-gu of Kagawa prefecture, Shikoku, and its great annual festival is held on October 9-12th featuring a mikoshi parade late at night on 10th. Sailors in trouble used to (and perhaps still do) throw into the sea a small barrel (nagashi no taru) of offerings to the kami, for the finder to take to the shrine. Amongst other bunsha, a Kotohira-gu of the Shikoku shrine was established in Tokyo (Minato-ku) in 1660.
A Popular Dictionary of Shinto. Brian Bocking.
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