WKD - Horseheaded Kannon


for hakuba, white Shinto horses, see below


Horseheaded Kannon (Batoo Kannon)
馬頭観音 Bato Kannon

Horseheaded Kannon -
please share my headache!
too much sake ...

Temple Eifuku-Ji, Nr. 54 Shikoku

My husband just brought a wagonload full of horse
manure from a nearby farm to prepare the vegetable fields.
And I helped, of course ...

I will spare you the smell that goes with this haiku ...

shoveling manure
to the summer fields -
Horseheaded Kannon


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The Horseheaded Kannon

Batou Kannon is not only said to protect dumb animals, particularly those who labor for mankind, but she extends her power to protecting their spirits and bringing them ease and a happier life than they experienced while on earth.

By neighing like a horse, the horseheaded deities ward off the bad demons. Batoo Kannon has been known in Japan since 7th century. He/She is especially honored by the horse breeders in Northern Japan. Nowadays you even find bicycles in front of the stone votive statues on waysides.

Read more about this Batoo Kannon at Mark Schumacher's pages.

Kannon Bosatsu is an important deity in the Buddhist pantheon.
bato kannon

. Eko-In, Ekō-in 回向院 Ryogoku, Tokyo .


kubi uma 首馬 "horse head" toys

. Kubi ningyoo 首人形 head dolls INFO .
from various temples dedicated to Bato Kannon.


on earthen clods
he talks of next year
shoveling manure



source : www.shimogamo-jinja.or.jp
A white horse in a Shinto ceremony at Shimogamo Shrine, Kyoto
Mikage Matsuri 御蔭祭 "honorable shadow festival"

. "honorable shadow festival" Miare shinji .

Horse-deities of Japan

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White horse, hakuba 白馬 sacred horse at Shinto shrines

As in all the oldest nations, we find in Japan, as its most ancient religion — Sun-worship. Nor are the Elements forgotten, as those are the abodes of all the "minor gods or spirits" — namely, the Powers or Forces of Nature. The Sun still receives deific honours; and its emblem has fully survived in the Sinto temples, called Maya, [Divine residence. Hence the name of the ecclesiastical metropolis Myako, the abode of the Spiritual Emperor] where no idols or images are to be found, save a bright mirror in the shape of a disc, before which are placed high metallic poles, with long and broad slips of paper attached to them, and mysterious inscriptions on these, traced in the Nai-den style, that peculiar sacerdotal written language used only for religious and mystical subjects.
Strange to think, the Japanese practise in reference to Sun-worship that curious ceremony so well known in India under the name of the aswamedha, or sacrifice of the horse. Anciently the horse was considered by every nation an emblem of the primeval and universal manifested being, who, when identified with the Sun, had the horse given him as his attendant.

"The horses of the Sun" are famous, and were deified in all the old religious systems, even in the youngest of the latter — the Mosaic, or Jewish creed. [And he (Josiah) took away the horses that the Kings of Judah had given to the Sun, at the entering of the House of the Lord. (2 Kings, xxiii. II)]
Every Sun-God has a horse (always white) associated with him. Sosiosh, born of a virgin, is expected to appear at the end of the days upon a white horse as Redeemer, says the book Bun Dehesh. Vishnu, or the "Kalanki Avatar", is to come upon a white horse; and St. John, in the Revelation (xix., 11, 14), sees the heavens opened and the "Faithful and True", or the coming Christian Messiah, seated on a white horse; and the "armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses". The white horse is the horse of the Sun; and Mithra, the old Medo-Arian Sun-God, reappears everywhere. [ “The Manicheans held that the Sun, who is Mithra, is Christ himself,” says St. Augustine (cap 8) who had belonged to that sect]

For the Sun is the fiery source of Spirit-power or Spirit of LIFE, while the chariot typifies the body, and the horse its animating principle. And thus in Japan Ten-Zio-Dai-Zen, "he who darts out his rays" is presented with its emblem, the horse, at its Temple on certain festive days. A number of sacred horses in pictures and horses cut out of paper with sacred inscriptions on them are hung on the walls.
source :  www.theosophical.ca

At Saijo Inari Shrine, Okayama pref.
Photo Gabi Greve 2008

. hakuba 白馬と伝説 Legends about a white horse .


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At Kibune Shrine, Kyoto

The ancient Japanese religion was heavily concerned with water, many of the oldest shrines were placed at important water sources, and this is the case with Kibune. Enshrined here are the God Kuraokami no kami and his wife the Goddess Mizuhonone no kami, both considered water gods. Once the capital was moved to Kyoto the Emperor would visit here for ceremonies connected with rain.
If rainfall was needed,
a black horse would be offered to the shrine,
if dry weather was needed, a white horse.
source :  japanvisitor.blogspot.com


CLICK for more shinba photos

jinme, shinme, shinba 神馬,
kamikoma 神駒(かみこま), 御神馬
horses offered to a shrine as vehicles for the gods

The White Horse at Miyajima 宮島白馬
Horse of the Gods at Miyajima 宮島の神馬

One of the seven wonders of Miyajima.
Horses offered to this shrine will turn to a white color within four or five years of living here.
It is sayed that Taira no Kiyomori, who had the shrine build, came visiting often because there was a beautiful woman with white skin living on the island.

© PHOTO : www.miyajima1.com

. Itsukushima Shrine and Kigo 厳島神社  


At Shrine Oasahiko Jinja in Awaji
Oasahiko no Okami 大麻比古の大神

Photo Gabi Greve, 2007

Oasahiko Shrine - Introduction


White horse ema votive tablet of Hakone shrine


Memyo Bosatsu 馬鳴菩薩(めみょうぼさつ)
"Neighing Horse Bosatsu"

"Neighing horse deity", menari myojin 馬鳴明神

Silkworm Goddess on a Horse

The Woman Who Married a Horse
Japanese SILK Deities


batoo jizoo  馬頭地蔵 "horse-headed Jizo Bosatsu"
still looking for the details.

- reference - xxx


Horse-headed Fudo Myo-O. Bato Fudo Myo-O
不動明王馬頭独鈷杵 Batoo Fudoo Myoo Oo

On a Nepalese Vajra

- reference -


The Horse in Japanese Haiku

Ema 絵馬 Votive Plaques, Votive Tablets, Prayer Boards
Lit. "Paintings of Horses"


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. hakubasai, hakuba sai 白馬祭(はくばさい)
Festival of the White Horse

oumesai, o ume sai 【白馬祭(おうめさい)】

ao-uma no matsuri 青馬祭 (あおうまのまつり) 
aouma no sechi-e 青馬(あおうま)の節会(せちえ)
. . . . also called
hakuba sechi-e 白馬節会
nanuka no sechi-e 七日の節会 (なぬかのせちえ)
Seasonal Feast on the seventh day (of the New Year)

kigo for the New Year

If you see a white horse during the New Year celebrations, you will live a long life and ward off evil for the coming year and stay healthy. Therefore shrines with a white horse make a parade for all to see the animal. Some parades are quite famous and reach back to the Kamakura period. In Kashima, they parade seven white horses. If you pick up a small stone where the horses walked or have your hankerchief trodden on, this will bring your love to fulfillment.
On this day, white sweet ricewine (amazake) and porridge of seven herbs is also served.

There is a poem by Otomo Yakamochi 大伴家持 in the ManyoShu poetry collection, dating from 758:


The people who viewed the white horse today
- the color of the wings of a white duck -
Will enjoy long life, it is said.

Tr. Taro Sakamoto

. hakuba 白馬と伝説 Legends about a white horse .


The famous Painter Higashiyama Kai has a serious of "white horse" paintings,
"White Horse in a Forest" is the most famous.
. . . CLICK here for Photos !
東山 魁夷【白馬】


. Kunimuke matsuri 平国祭(くにむけまつり)Kunimuke Festival   
with a sacred horse procession

. "Horse-headed Kannon of Kamioka"
上岡の馬頭観音 .

with a famous market for ema votive tablets of horses
Saitama, Kanto

. Koma 駒 horse folk toys from Japan

- #batokannon #horsehead -



Unknown said...

Smell so much !
This let me back to my native
town where once househead Kan-non
has stood.

Thamk you, Gabi san.


Unknown said...

Thank you, Gabi san for your interesting information about O-take san , refering to Issa haiku.
It is very helpfull for me, and Otake-san become more familiar.

Warmly sakuo.

Gabi Greve said...

Hi Sakuo and all,
here is a little more about O-Take Nyorai, I am still working on it.


Quite intersting subject, Sakuo san! Thank you!


Anonymous said...

bow to Batou kannnon sama deeply

The Kannon guard for horses.
horses were very important animal for labor and traffic long time
ago in Japan.

People made the Kannnon to graduate horses

My fathere is next me now on my office at Tokyo . He told me looking your picture.

The batou kannnon face of yours
very nice



Anonymous said...

love it Gabi...brings back some memories when my daughter wanted a horse I told her she had to kiss a horse turd (excuse please) and wish.... she did ... she got her horse... and to this day I love the smell horses only eat good stuff...

loved your saki haiku...I make saki lilikoi saki..


Anonymous said...

on the cobble stones
old Bruges

the marchers pelt
horse-dung at the police
peace on earth


anonymous said...

Discussion about a white horse haiku by
Patrick Sweeney

And there are literally "White Horse Mountains" in China (Yunnan and Zhejiang provinces), America (California), in Japan (Nagano Prefecture), and there may be others. We know Patrick Sweeney lives in Japan.

THF The Haiku Foundation

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

Komagatachoo 駒形町 Komagata district Tokyo
Komagata doo 駒形堂 Komagata Do Hall
with a statue of Bato Kannon


Gabi Greve said...

Ekoin Kannon, Ekō-in 回向院観音 - Ryogoku
諸宗山 Shoshuzan, 無縁寺 Muen-Ji

with a statue of Bato Kannon

Gabi Greve said...

Legend from Aichi, Temple Daichi-In 大智院
馬頭観音(お前立) Bato Kannon with a Horse Head (o-Maedachi)