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Matarajin (摩多羅神)

The god that protects the Buddhist temples and temples used to perform the jyōgyōzanmai, a type of meditation in Tiantai Buddhism. While Amitāba is the main god in these temples, Matarajin is praised at the rear of the temple where exorcism ceremonies are performed. Little is known about this mysterious god, but as he holds a drum in his left hand, and as sarugaku performers honor him as their own god of protection, a strong link to the performing arts is suggested. At the Tanzan Shrine in Tōnomine in Sakurai, Nara Prefecture, that Kan’ami and Ze’ami respected and served, Matarajin is worshiped as a white okinamen mask at the rear of the temple. Festivals for Matarajin include the festival of the cows held at Kōryu-ji in Uzumasa, Kyoto and the Hatsuka Yasai, or “festival of the 20th night” held at the Mōtsū-ji Temple in Hiraizumi, Iwate prefecture, and the ennen of Mōtsū-ji is performed at the end of the 20th night at the temple in offering to Matarajin.

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