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Giant good-luck arrow, rake devoted to shrine in west Japan

The giant good-luck rake on which the Seven Deities of Good Fortune are painted is seen in the city of Oita on Dec. 5, 2021. (Mainichi/Nao Ishii)
Worshippers look up at the giant good-luck arrow in the city of Oita on Dec. 5, 2021. (Mainichi/Nao Ishii)

OITA -- A giant sacred arrow and rake were devoted on Dec. 5 to a shrine in this southwest Japan city that is designated as a place of worship for those who died in wars.

    According to Oita Prefecture's Gokoku Shrine, both the arrow -- 18.8 meters in height and 1.8 metric tons in weight -- and the rake -- 12 meters in height and 5.1 tons in weight -- are the largest in Japan. Worshippers were seen taking commemorative photos of the big lucky charms for Japanese New Year.

    The rake is decorated with the Seven Deities of Good Fortune on a treasure boat, as well as rice bales and a red sea bream, all of which are symbols of good luck. A wooden votive tablet with the image of a tiger -- the Chinese zodiac sign for 2022 -- was hung on the arrow. They were hoisted up by a crane and installed at the shrine.

    Onlooker Yuna Goto, 14, a second-year student at a junior high school in the city, said: "They are really huge. I hope the new year will allow us to go out to play freely without worrying about the coronavirus."

    The shrine's chief priest Hidefumi Yasaka, 60, said, "We hope that visitors will feel their huge presence and be happy."

    (Japanese original by Nao Ishii, Oita Bureau)

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