Responding to Depopulation

Responding to Depopulation

A very important feature of Japan at the moment is rural depopulation. Japan’s population is falling overall, and most young people are moving to cities. This has led to rural communities where the average age is around seventy. This causes many problems, and in the grand scheme of things the problems it causes for jinja are probably not the most important. They are, however, the most important from the perspective of this blog. Fundamentally, jinja need a certain number of…

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Court Case

Court Case

At present, Jinja Honchō is being sued by two people, one former employee and one who was demoted. The former is suing for (the Japanese version of) unfair dismissal, while the latter is suing for unfair demotion. (I’ve never heard of that in the UK or US, but apparently it is a thing here: Japanese law appears to rely on “abuse of authority” rather than any particular consequence.) They are asking for the courts to confirm that the decisions were…

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Questions of Accounts

Questions of Accounts

This blog post continues my report on the October meeting of the Oversight Council. You might want to start with my explanation of the council, or with the first part of this report, or even with the second part. The budgets were followed by the accounts, which specified what Jinja Honchō had spent its money on in the previous financial year (July to June). The accounts were all accepted by the council. And then it was time for questions. The…

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Budgetary Issues

Budgetary Issues

This post continues my report on the October Oversight Council meeting at Jinja Honchō, based on the article in the November 2nd issue of Jinja Shinpō. You might want to start from the first part, or from the description of the Oversight Council. The next item on the agenda was the budget measures. These had already been passed by the standing committee of the Oversight Council, so there was no vote, just an explanation. This immediately raised questions. Revd Ashizu,…

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Anime and Manga Back Issue

Anime and Manga Back Issue

The essay on Shinto in Anime and Manga that I wrote in January 2018 is now available for purchase on Gumroad. It isn’t systematic or deeply analytical, but I think it is a good introduction to the way Shinto tends to be portrayed, and used, in manga. Most of the examples are from manga; I think I could write an essay of similar length on Shinto in Miyazaki Hayao’s anime, but that has probably been done already. Buy Essay

Vigorous Debate

Vigorous Debate

The highest decision-making body at Jinja Honchō is the Oversight Council, as described in my last post here. Its meetings have tended to be a simple rubber stamp for the proposals brought forward by the Board of Directors, but that was not entirely the case at this October’s meeting. Before people get too excited, I should emphasise that it did rubber-stamp all of the proposals brought forward by the Board of Directors. The accounts and budget were approved, as were…

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The Oversight Council

The Oversight Council

The Oversight Council (評議員会, hyōgiinkai) is the highest decision-making body in Jinja Honchō. It appoints the chairman, directors, and auditors. It must approve all budgets, and all major changes to regulations, and the board of directors is required to respect its decisions when conducting day-to-day business, unless there is a really good reason not to. The regulations require it to meet once a year, and the chairman may convene it more often if he feels that it is necessary. In…

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Priests of Many Jinja

Priests of Many Jinja

I have mentioned before (in the book if not on this blog) that most Shinto priests are responsible for multiple jinja. Simple arithmetic makes this clear: there are about 80,000 jinja, and about 20,000 priests. However, things are worse than that makes it sound, because large jinja in cities may have over a dozen priests, leaving even fewer priests to serve multiple jinja in rural areas. I read something that referred to a man who was chief priest of over…

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More Back Issues Available

More Back Issues Available

Some more of the old Patreon essays are now available for purchase if you missed them. First, The Descent from the Heavens and The Hyūga Generations are available on Amazon in Imperial Origin Myths. These are the myths of how the ancestors of the Tennō got to Japan, and what they did there, up to the birth of the first Tennō, Jinmu. They were first released earlier this year. Second, Shinto from the Shore is available independently on Gumroad. This…

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“Worship”

“Worship”

A few days ago, I was talking about translation with people at Jinja Honchō (as I often do, that being my job…), and the difficulty of translating certain words came up. I have mentioned before that “kami” is basically untranslatable, which is why I don’t. In this post, I want to talk about “worship”. It is not uncommon for “sūhai” or “hairei” to be translated as “worship”, “haiden” to be translated as “worship hall”, and “sūkeisha” to be translated as…

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