New Priest Training

Prefectural Jinjachō run short training/orientation courses for newly qualified priests who have just taken up their posts, and these have been disrupted by the pandemic like everything else. Saitama Jinjachō recently ran its course for this year, and it was reported in the September 20th issue of Jinja Shinpō because they had a hybrid version, with part online and part in person. The in-person course was held on two days, with half the priests attending on each day, so that they would not be crowded.

I’m writing about it because the article was accompanied by a photograph of one of the in-person days. You can see all of the new priests standing holding norito papers, while older instructors stand around giving advice.

Tatiana is one of the new priests. She stands out, being taller and blonder than the others.

She stands out less than she might, however, because all the other new priests are female as well.

They may well have deliberately done a male-female split, because the ritual actions for matsuri (the main topic of the in-person course) are slightly different for men and for women, and so if about half of your new priests were female it would make sense to split it this way, to keep the lessons simpler.

That suggests that about half of the new priests in Saitama Prefecture (next to Tokyo to the north) are female this year.

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