Crying-at-night Kannon-sama

This is a story of about 200 years ago, in the Edo era, long before the naval station was set up in the Kure Bay.


At the upper stream of the Niko River, there sat a small temple where Niko-no-Kannon-sama (the goddess of mercy) was enshrined. It was located under the rock from which a pair of cascades can be seen. Its guard was named Kizaemon. Every day he would tread the mountain road up to the Kannon-sama and see her peaceful face and spend some time there and go down to his village with relief and contentment. It was his daily routine and his family had done it for generations.

One evening, however, a strong wind blew and the trees rubbed each other until they caught fire. Soon the flames spread to the temple. Kannon-sama was at a loss what to do but ventured to jump into the basin of the cascade.


Several years passed. Kannon-sama was still drifting in the river and then in to the sea, hoping some day she would be able to come back to the temple again.  


One day she was caught in the fishing net of a fisherman on Niho island and sold to Chokuro, an oil dealer in Kanayama-cho, Hiroshima. After that night his baby began 

to cry every night. “Oh my God, what I bought was Crying-at-night Kannon-sama,” said Chokuro with a deep sigh. But he didn’t know what to do with the Kannon-sama.


Kizaemon, the guard of the temple often dreamed of Kannon-sama. In his dream Kannon-sama said, “I’m at Chokuro’s house. Come to take me home.” She appeared in his dream so often that Kizaemon visited Chokuro in Hiroshima though he was not quite sure. His dream came true. He was surprised to find Kannon-sama enshrined there. Kizaemon and Chokuro told their stories of Kannon-sama to each other and Kizaemon took her home. To their surprise, after that night Chokuro’s baby stopped crying at night.


Soon the rumor that the Kannon-sama had proved a miracle-worker spread widely through the villages. Many worshippers from nearby villages visited Kannon-sama one after another. Peaceful years went by in this way.


However, one day, there was a fight over the borderline between the two villages which shared Kannon-sama in the middle. After a lot of trouble people in both villages decided to have a race which starts from Shoyamada and goes around Yakeyama and comes back to Shoyamada. The winning village could decide the borderline.


Shoyamada villagers hit upon a scheme. They left a lit lantern hanging on a branch by a big rock on the mountain road at Kamiide on their way so that Yakeyama villagers would 

think that the other party was still at the beginning and might slow down their pace. As expected the Yakaeyama villagers were deceived by their trick and lost the race. 


The story above is also depicted in “Geihan-tsushi (藝藩通志)“, which was published in the Bunsei era (1818-1829).


Although the temple was moved to the west side of the Niko from the east side in 1916, until now the descendants of Kizaemon have been looking after the temple as guards.


It is nice to see that the peaceful looking Kannon-sama has a panoramic view of Kure City from the quiet temple on the hill.




Kure Monthly Vol.2 No.5 June 1986