Daijōsai Offerings

Daijōsai Offerings

I have now finished reading the Society of Shinto Studies journal special issue about the Daijōsai, and there were some points that struck me as particularly interesting. For the purposes of this blog post, I am going to assume that my readers know the broad outline of the Daijōsai, and of the debates over its origins and meaning — in short, I am going to assume that you have read my Patreon essays on the subject. If you haven’t, I’m…

Read More Read More

The Names of the Kami

The Names of the Kami

One of the problems with studying Shinto is the names of the kami. First, there are a lot of kami, and they tend to have long names. Masakatsuakatsukachihayahiamëno’oshihomimi no Mikoto, Amaterasu Ōmikami’s son and the mythical ancestor of the Tennō, is a good example. Simply remembering the names is tough to begin with. (Many kami have standard “short forms”; Masakatsuakatsukachihayahiamëno’oshihomimi no Mikoto is normally referred to as Oshihomimi.) Then there is the problem that many kami have multiple names. Amaterasu…

Read More Read More

New Patreon Essay

New Patreon Essay

My patrons on Patreon have just received the paid essay for January, about Miho Jinja. This is a jinja with over 1300 years of history, in the ancient province of Izumo (modern Shimanë Prefecture). The most distinctive thing about it is its matsuri. They are famous for, apparently, preserving a great deal of the ancient forms of local festivals. If you missed this one but want to get it, you can sign up to my Patreon for next month, and…

Read More Read More

Multi-Religion Ceremonies

Multi-Religion Ceremonies

I have mentioned before that Shinto is much more open to practitioners of other religions than one might expect from a western perspective, and there was a clear example reported in Jinja Shinpō on January 13th. On Awaji Island, part of Hyōgo prefecture in central Japan, there is a memorial to the students who were killed in action in World War II after being called up by the government. This was originally built by the local government, but the number…

Read More Read More

Distributing Jingū Taima

Distributing Jingū Taima

Every year, the Jingū Taima, the ofuda from Jingū that the Shinto establishment would like every household in Japan to venerate, are distributed to jinja across Japan so that they can be handed on to individuals. However, the ofuda are not just posted to the jinja. There are a number of ceremonies involved in the distribution itself. The first takes place at Jingū in September, and is attended by representatives of Jinja Honchō, including the president and chairman, as well…

Read More Read More

Nihonshoki 1300 Years

Nihonshoki 1300 Years

This year marks the 1300th anniversary of the completion of the Nihonshoki. The Nihonshoki is the first official history of Japan, starting from the creation of Japan, and continuing up to the reign of Jitō Tennō at the end of the seventh century. It is a very important source for early Japanese history, and an even more important source for Japanese myth. Although the Kojiki, which was completed in 712, and is thus slightly older, is more famous today, the…

Read More Read More

The First New Year of Reiwa

The First New Year of Reiwa

This new year was the first new year of the Reiwa era. Although this year is Reiwa 2, Reiwa 1 started on May 1st last year, and so it did not have a New Year’s Day. Jinja Shinpō has, as normal, published a report on how things went. In general, the weather was good across most of the country, which will have been a big relief to the jinja that rely on hatsumōdë income to keep going through the year….

Read More Read More

Gokoku Jinja

Gokoku Jinja

Pretty much anyone who knows anything about Japan has heard of Yasukuni Jinja, the jinja in Tokyo enshrining Japan’s war dead, even if they know nothing about Shinto. The Gokoku Jinja, which also enshrine the war dead, are much less well known. “Gokoku Jinja” means “Country Protecting Jinja”, and these jinja were set up by the government of Japan before the war. The idea of enshrining people who had died fighting for the Tennō first appeared among the people pushing…

Read More Read More

Red Torii

Red Torii

Almost all jinja have a torii to mark the entrance, a simple gateway with two vertical pillars, one either side, and two lintels across the top. There are a number of variations in the design, but in this post I want to focus on the colour. A lot of torii are red, but not all. Why? Now, at first sight it might not seem that you really need an explanation for this. Some torii are painted red, and others are…

Read More Read More

New Patreon Essay: Izumo Yogoto

New Patreon Essay: Izumo Yogoto

I have just sent all my patrons (from my Patreon) the links to December’s essay, about the Izumo Yogoto. This is an ancient norito, which was recited by a new chief priest of Izumo Ōyashiro to the Tennō on his (the priest’s) accession to the role. It was important enough to be recorded in the Engishiki, a compilation of the details of the implementation of the law made in the tenth century that is an extremely important source for the…

Read More Read More

%d bloggers like this: