Dōsojin (Sino-Jap., dō, ‘way’, + so, ‘ancestor’, + jin, ‘deity’). A Japanese folk deity, especially associated with crossroads, mountain passes, and village entrances, attested from medieval times to the present, and having a complex syncretistic history. The name Dōsojin seems to come partly from this Shinto tradition (road or path deities) and partly from Chinese folk belief in ancestral influence upon the health and prosperity of subsequent generations. Stones carved with human couples and labelled ‘Dōsojin’ can still be found in Japan and are thought to be guardians of marital harmony and fecundity.
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