Hatsumōdë: The Visitors’ View

Hatsumōdë: The Visitors’ View

In my last post, I reported on Jinja Shinpō’s hatsumōdë survey of about 400 priests across the country. They also conducted an online survey of about a thousand “ordinary” Japanese, to see how they had handled hatsumōdë this year. The first result they reported is that 78.2% of them had come across the encouragement to spread out hatsumōdë visits. That advertising campaign really does seem to have been effective, which underwrites the complaints made by rural priests, reported in my…

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Shinto Ethics Essay

Shinto Ethics Essay

Buy Essay Last month’s Patreon essay was about Shinto ethics, and it is now available for purchase on Gumroad, for people who did not get it through the Patreon. Shinto does not put much emphasis on ethics, but that does not mean that the topic is entirely ignored. Obviously, individual Shinto priests have ethical standards, and priests do criticise certain activities on ethical grounds. However, there is very little in the way of “official” statements on ethics, which means that…

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Purely Punning

Purely Punning

The February 15th issue of Jinja Shinpō had a short article about a new purification font at Harina Jinja in Nagoya, a jinja I have actually visited. This font was designed to be hands-free, so there are no ladles, and there is a wheelchair-accessible font off to one side (the main font is on a small dais). However, that’s not what I want to talk about today. The water flows from six nozzles, placed around a hexagonal pillar. These nozzles…

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Hatsumōdë: The Big Picture

Hatsumōdë: The Big Picture

This year’s hatsumōdë was, thanks to COVID-19, very different from most years. I have already written about some of the early reports, but Jinja Shinpō has now completed a survey of its local contacts, which means that it has responses from over 400 priests from across Japan, covering a wide range of types of jinja. The results show that, unsurprisingly, the impact of the pandemic varied a lot from jinja to jinja. The simplest statistic is that about 80% of…

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Papercraft Kamidana Items

Papercraft Kamidana Items

The Tokyo Shinto Youth Association (Tokyo-to Shinto Seinenkai) has put some downloadable PDFs online for papercraft items for your kamidana. There is an ofuda-tatë, which is something to lean the ofuda against so that it stands up, a pair of koma-inu, and a pair of lanterns (which should not actually be lit because they are made of paper.) http://www.tokyo-shinsei.jp/papercraft.html The page and instructions are all in Japanese, but there are instructional videos, so they should be usable even if you…

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Earthquake Commemoration

Earthquake Commemoration

Next month will see the tenth anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake. There will, I am sure, be a number of events to mark it, and since it is a very solemn event to start with, the necessary pandemic countermeasures will not, I think, be a serious burden. (The largest issue that immediately comes to mind is that people who had to leave an area in the aftermath probably will not be able to go back for a memorial…

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The Perils of Research

The Perils of Research

One of the problems with continuing to research a topic that you have written about in the past is that sometimes you discover that you had misinterpreted something. For example, when I wrote about Miho Jinja, I noted that the jinja claims that Jinmu Tennō’s empress was a daughter of Kotoshironushi, the main kami at Miho Jinja. I also noted that the Kojiki says that she was a daughter of Ōmononushi, the main kami at Miwa Jinja, and I speculated…

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The Tennō’s Priestesses

The Tennō’s Priestesses

A few months ago I wrote about a series of columns in Jinja Shinpō being written by a female priest who did not grow up in a priestly family. The latest instalment was in the January 25th issue, and was about her service in the jinja of the Imperial Palace, the Three Sacred Halls. The priests for these jinja are divided into the male Shōten and the female Naishōten. The Naishōten are required to be unmarried, and today I believe…

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My Favourite Sanpai Time

My Favourite Sanpai Time

I visit my local jinja, Shirahata Hachiman Daijin, every day to pay my respects to the kami. Because of my work schedule, this normally happens in the morning. However, my favourite time to visit is in the evening, when it is just starting to get dark, but before the doors to the haiden (the prayer hall) are closed. The lights in the haiden are on, and it is dark enough outside that they give the room a warm glow. Normally,…

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Epidemics and Matsuri

Epidemics and Matsuri

Jinja Honchō runs an annual conference for priests, at which academics give presentations on topics relevant to the religious content of Shinto. Normally, the priests gather for this, but that was not possible last year. Instead, two presentations were recorded, and made available on the priests-only website. I haven’t seen them, because I’m not a priest, but quite a lot of priests apparently did. They may even have been accessible to more priests than usual, as there was no need…

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