Sacred tree. The character for sakaki is made up of 'tree' plus 'kami'. It is used for a variety of purposes in Shinto ritual, e.g. for tamagushi. Sakaki generally means cleyera ochnacea or theacea (japonica). It is an evergreen bushy shrub with dark, narrow glossy leaves about 3 metres in height and depth. It bears small, fragrant saucer-shaped white flowers in early-mid summer and small black fruits. Sakaki may also refer to species of pine, cryptomeria (cedar) and oak. Sakaki is mentioned in the Nihongi as a tree set up and strung with jewels, a mirror and cloth offerings or nusa, cut paper. At the Izushi jinja, Hyogo prefecture, 'pure fire' is made by rubbing sakaki and hinoki wood together. Sometimes artificial sakaki leaves are used for decoration or a local more prolific evergreen such as shiba.

A Popular Dictionary of Shinto. .

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  • sakaki — sa·ka·ki …   English syllables

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