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“Transport Jinja”

The 25th January issue of Jinja Shinpō carried an article about the enshrinement of kami in a new jinja. This jinja is called “Transport Jinja” (交通神社), and it is on the roof of a shopping mall attached to JR Miyazaki Station, in southeastern Kyushu. It is sponsored by three transport companies and the company that built the mall, which is closely linked to JR Kyushu (one of the three transport companies).

The companies spoke to the priests at Miyazaki Jingū about the project, and the jinja agreed to enshrine a “bunrei” of their kami. This means that all the kami of Miyazaki Jingū, which are Jinmu Tennō and “all the heavenly and earthly kami of Hyūga Province”, are now also enshrined in this new jinja. (Hyūga Province overlaps significantly with modern Miyazaki Prefecture.)

The enshrinement ceremonies followed the normal pattern: the actual enshrinement took place at night, with the goshintai for the “bunrei” taken from Miyazaki Jingū in the evening and enshrined a few hours later, and a celebratory matsuri was held the following day. The plan is for priests from Miyazaki Jingū to carry out monthly matsuri there.

These sorts of jinja are not uncommon; it may even be the case that most shopping malls in Japan have them. Inari Jinja are very common, due to the association with successful trade, but it also makes sense for a mall to enshrine kami from the local area. It is unusual to get a full article about them in Jinja Shinpō, however. This is because they are not, in most cases, religious corporations, and thus are not affiliated to Jinja Honchō, and they rarely have ujiko or full-time priests. Obviously, they do not have long traditions. However, there are a significant number of well-established jinja that started as similar establishments a few centuries ago, so who knows what will happen in the future. The jinja could outlast the companies that created it.

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