Noro Priestesses of Loo Choo
1931 - Transactions of the Asiatic
Society of Japan

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Spencer, Robert Steward
The Noro, or Priestesses of Loo Choo, 1931, Transactions of the Asiatic Society of Japan, Tokyo, Second Series, Volume VIII, December 1931, pages 94-112, 19 pages of text, 4 single sided (unnumbered) glossy photo plates each with 2-3 photographs (total of 11 different photographs), small 8vo (5 7/8 x 8 1/2 in - 14.8 x 21.7 cm), boards are paper over cardboard and spine is cloth, guilt lettering on spine. Spencer discusses the very unique Noro ("women who pray") system of worship found in the Loo Choo culture. In this system Priestesses are the religious leaders. He traces the system back through early recorded Ryukyuan history of 1603 and 1650 through to the status of the system at the time of the article (1931). Based upon the style of writing, it appears Spencer visited Okinawa and was not writing based solely on a study of the literature on this subject.

Other articles in this issue, Japanese Tree Worship by D.C. Holtom, Writings on Martyrdom in Kirishitan Literature by M. Anesaki, Notes on Early European Military Influence in Japan by C.R. Boxer, The Naoe Matsuri by G. Kato and Daigo Tenno to Sono Issennen Go-onki by N. Nakamura.

There is a recent book on this subject:

Susan Sered:
Women of the Sacred Groves, Divine Priestesses of Okinawa, New York, Oxford University Press, 1999, 296 pp, 8 pages of black and white photographs, 8vo (6 1/8 x 9 1/4 in - 15.4 x 23.4 cm). An indepth examination of the unique role of the Priestesses as religious leaders in Okinawan life.
Listing of Plates (s):
Plate I. A way-side shrine containing the three stones representing the fire god. (after page 112)
Plate II. Sono-hayamu-ohtake. (after page 112)
Plate III. Kudaka-jima Yohaijo within the palace grounds in Shuri. (after page 112)
Plate IV. The Noro ofZakimi in Yontanzan Village. (after page 108)
Plate V. Noro of Zakimi in ceremonial garb. (Magatama behind neck) (after age 108)
Plate VI. Necklace of Noro of Nago. (after page 108)
Plate VII. House of Noro of Nago. (after page 104)
Plate VIII. Request to Okinawa Ken Government to recognize change of Noro.... (after page 104)
Plate IX. Part of Jirei of Zakimi Noro received from Shuri government.... (after page 104)
Plate X. Shrine of Noro of Nago recently rebuilt in Japanese Shinto style. (after page 96)
Plate XI. Go-shintai in shrine in Nago. Here two sets of stones are preserved: on from another place. (after page 96)


One of the 4 photo plates in the article
Located after page 96

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