Shamoji Ladle

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shamoji しゃもじ ladle
杓文字, 杓、シャモジ

しゃもじ 杓子 =しゃくじ shakuji, shakushi

- source : kyoudogangu.xii.jp...

They are used to scoop rice out of the cooking pot.
Also called "Rice Paddles", rice spoons, wood spatula, rice scoop.
They were made from wood or bamboo, but nowadays of course they are made of plastic.

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shakuji 杓子 are also used to scoop liquid.


Some temples are famous for the shamoji that people bring as offerings.


Tiny folk craft of a miniature rice paddle (shamoji) and Daruma in a kiri (paulownia) wood box.
The rice paddle measures 1-7/8". Attached to the rice paddle are two grains of rice. There are some Japanese characters or words written on each rice grain. Daruma is painted on a 3/16" roundish piece of wood. The box measures approximately 1-3/4" x 2-1/4" x 11/16" and has words, a red stamp and a mountain painted on the top.

source :  kyototraditions.com

Daruma Dolls from Kyoto Traditions Com


Uzuma no namazu うずまの鯰 catfish amulet from Uzuma
from the river Uzumagawa 巴波川
in the form of a shamoji ladle

. Namazu なまず/ 鯰 catfish in legends and toys .


Miyajima shamoji 宮島 しゃもじ rice paddles

It has been invented as a souvenir to help people make some extra money.

The island of Miyajima near Hiroshima is famous for inventing the rice ladle. There is even the largest rice paddle of the world on display.

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The large one (ooshakuji 大杓)is 2.7 meters tall, 7.7 meters long and 2.5 tons heavy.
It is made from an old zelkova (kiri) tree.
It scoops not only rice, but tourists to the island.

On the island, many shops sell souvenir shamoji for good luck, in all sizes and forms. One shop owner still makes them by hand and offers more than 60 different types.

Many Japanese buy such a paddle , write a wish on it, and then send it to a friend, or leave it at a temple.

It is so famous on the island, that the local people call a rice paddle
"Miyajima" at the kitchen table.

It is also a pun with the sound of
meshi o toru 飯を取る to get some rice
meshitoru 召し取る to get a woman for marriage

and thus an extra bonus for good luck.

Personal shamoji with photos

source : miyajima-tk

source : www.shakushi.jp

for the year of the Dog

Shamoji Bento lunch box しゃもじ 弁当

shopsign with a shamoji


In 2012, the famous yearlong drama of NHK features

. Taira no Kiyomori 平 清盛 .

who built the famous shrine on the island.
Some eager souvenir shops have already started to paint the head of the actor on a shamoji.


shamoji at Enoshima 江ノ島

shamoji 杓文字 Shaped Like Benten's Biwa

The Shamoji 杓文字, or rice scooper,
was reportedly first devised by a monk from the Benzaiten island sanctuary at Itsukushima Shrine (Hiroshima). This biwa-shaped wooden spoon is used to serve cooked rice everywhere in Japan. It supposedly symbolizes both Benzaiten's musical instrument (the biwa or lute) and Benzaiten's linkage to agriculture and the rice crop. Small and large versions of the shamoji are sold as popular souvenirs at many Benzaiten shrines in modern Japan.

source : Mark Schumacher


... on this day at the temple Zenkoo-Ji 善光寺 in Nagano, the statue of Binzuru is dressed with a straw rope around his head. While the believers touch him with bamboo ladles (shamoji 杓), he is carried around the outer shrine and then back to his original place.
People pray for health and good luck for the coming year.

Read more HERE
Ceremony for Binzuru (Binzuru mawashi)



- - - - - Kobayashi Issa - - - - -

mi-botoke mo shakushi mo mushi ni nakare keri / mihotoke

Buddha and spoons
the whole wide world!
insects singing

by Issa, 1808
Shinji Ogawa notes that Issa is playing with the expression, neko mo shakushi mo ("cats and wooden spoons"), in other words, "everybody." Instead of "cats and spoons" Issa writes "Buddha and spoons."
(Tr. and Text: David Lanoue)

even Buddhas,
even ladles have to listen
to these loud insect cries

. Comment by Chris Drake .

suzushisa wa ka o ou imo ga shakushi kana

the coolness
of my darling's spatula
driving away mosquitoes

Tr. Chris Drake

This hokku was published posthumously, so it's not known when it was written. The word imo in the second line had four possible meanings in ancient Japanese:
1) a man's sister, older or younger,
2) "darling," a man's lover or wife,
3) a young woman of marriageable age, and
4) the younger sister of a woman, or "you" when used by a woman to a woman friend.

In Issa's time this was a classical word, but many writers in this period liked to use ancient words because of the romantic aura the words had. The same aura clung to imogako, "darling girl," which Issa occasionally uses in the sense of "young lady," clearly referring to young girls. Issa uses the classical imo from time to time, mainly, it seems, when he wants to be polite and raise a normal happening to a more romantic level. There is no consensus in Japan about Issa's use of imo, but my impression is that about half seem to refer to Issa's wife or, when he was younger, a possible lover or lovers, and about half seem to refer to lively young women who are doing something interesting. The present hokku, since it seems to refer to a private supper, probably refers to Issa's wife. When Issa wants to refer to his first and most beloved wife in an ordinary way, he uses her name and writes "my Kiku" (waga Kiku), but in the present hokku he seems emotionally appreciative of her and what she's doing, and perhaps he wants to evoke her actions in a more romantic and offhandedly elegant way.

The flat wooden implement Issa's darling holds is a cross between a paddle and a scoop, with a handle and an oval or semicircular flat area that acts as the scoop. Probably Issa's wife has been scooping out portions of rice into bowls, or perhaps cleaning up after supper, and when the sun goes down and the air grows cooler the mosquitoes arrive in force. In the light of an oil lamp she waves the spatula or scoop at mosquitoes to keep them away, but the way she does it is so unexpectedly graceful that Issa feels even cooler. I don't think the hokku is about using the scoop as a fan. It's the way Issa's darling holds the scoop in her hand and moves it that seems to make him feel even cooler. In another version of the hokku the first line is, "in the coolness," suggesting that the woman doesn't create the coolness with her spatula but makes the coolness feel more palpable or apparent or perhaps more pleasant. Does she make the room seem airier? Larger and more spacious? Do her movements with the spatula make Issa feel as if she's scooping air? Issa has numerous hokku about coolness, and many of them deal with shapes or sights that synesthetically make people feel cooler.

Chris Drake

. Kobayashi Issa 小林一茶 Issa in Edo .


- #shakuji #shamoji #ricepaddle #ladle #scoop -


Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

Ta no Kami 田の神 Tanokami, God of the Fields is often depicted holding phallic fertility symbols or a
. shamoji しゃもじ / 杓文字 / shakuji 杓 ladle .


Gabi Greve said...

Dragon legend from Yamagata
When the dragon, which lives on the banks of 最上川 river Mogamigawa, goes up to heaven, it will rain the next day.
When the local priest was giving a sermon, a woman showed up saying she came from the 龍宮 Dragon Palace. Thanks to the sermon she had attained enlightenment and had come to say thank you.
She brought some gifts: 1000 pieces of lumber, one shakuji 杓子 ladle and a robe with no trace of stitches.
If people scoop water from the river with this ladle, it will turn salty.