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The Shortage of Priests

“There are not enough priests.” This is the opening paragraph of the editorial in the May 29th issue of Jinja Shinpō. It goes on to quote the figures from the report on new graduates — 226 new priests, and 584 vacancies — before getting into a discussion of the problem. It seems that, recently, new priests looking for a jinja have moved beyond considering the location and the fame of the jinja. They are also looking at the “service conditions”, and jinja are being rejected because there are not enough… Read More »The Shortage of Priests

Shichi-go-san During COVID-19

I recently read the combined Issue 267/268 of the Journal of Shintō Studies, the academic journal of the Society of Shintō Studies, which I have mentioned before. This was a special issue, “A Religious Studies Perspective on Shintō”, and it contained a number of interesting articles. (I think I have mentioned before this journal has official English titles for all the articles, although the content is only in Japanese.) The article I want to talk about today is “The Meaning of Shichi-go-san and the Impact of COVID” by Taguchi Yūko.… Read More »Shichi-go-san During COVID-19

The Significance of OECMs

The editorial in the May 1st issue of Jinja Shinpō was about OECMs, the regions that are not nature reserves but that are recognised under the international biodiversity treaty as serving to preserve biodiversity. It talked a bit about the background, and then noted that, over the last couple of years, there have been a lot of articles on this topic in Jinja Shinpō, including the series on sacred forests. The editorial said that part of the reason was that sacred forests had been given as possible candidates for OECMs… Read More »The Significance of OECMs

Himeji Jinja Website

The project at Jinja Honchō to help jinja with their provision for foreigners is moving along. We actually have more jinja wanting help than we can support, now, so there is a waiting list. Fortunately, this is the sort of thing that does not tend to have a strict deadline, so jinja can afford to wait a few weeks for one jinja’s project to finish and free up some of my time. That has just happened. Himeji Jinja now has an English website. The design is simple, because they do… Read More »Himeji Jinja Website

Arguments at Appeal

Arguments in the appeal in the court case disputing the presidency of Jinja Honchō were heard on May 1st, and reported in the May 15th issue of Jinja Shinpō. To recap, briefly, there was a dispute within the Board of Directors over who should be the president of Jinja Honchō. A majority of the directors voted for Revd Tanaka, the previous president, but the chairman, supported by a minority of the members, appointed Revd Ashihara. The dispute is over which, if either, of those appointments is legally effective. For now,… Read More »Arguments at Appeal

New Priests 2023

The April 24th issue of Jinja Shinpō carried an article reporting on the graduation of priests from the main training centres for the Shinto priesthood. Overwhelmingly, this means Kokugakuin University in Tokyo and Kōgakkan University in Isë. (The other six have nineteen graduates between them, while Kokugakuin alone has 151.) The reports cover three points. The first is the shortage of priests. At Kokugakuin, 151 people qualified as priests and 109 took jobs at jinja, 102 of them as priests. (The other seven were miko or non-priest staff, and six… Read More »New Priests 2023

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