I am currently preparing for a future Patreon essay (or maybe two or three) on how the Great East Japan Earthquake on 11 March 2011 affected jinja in the region, and what has been done to help with the recovery. I have mentioned some aspects of this on this blog, but it is sufficiently important to Shinto and contemporary Japan to merit essays of its own. (It is worth remembering that, for Japan, the earthquake and tsunami killed about as many people in twelve hours (18,425, if you total the dead and missing) as COVID-19 has killed so far (18,280 as of October 31st), and had a much greater economic impact.)
As part of that, I am reading a collection of essays published by Jinjashinpōsha to mark the fifth anniversary of the disaster, in which a lot of priests report on their experiences. These cover an extremely wide range, from priests who lost their whole jinja, through priests who served at jinja that survived, although the homes of all the ujiko were washed away, to priests whose jinja just suffered “normal” damage. Although I have been visiting Tōhoku at least twice a year since the disaster, this still made me realise, once again, just how wide the scope of the disaster was.
I am not at all sure when these essays will appear on the Patreon, because I have to find an effective approach that will give a sense of what happened, within the scope of a relatively short essay.