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Discussion of the Court Case

The December 20th/27th 2021 issue of Jinja Shinpō included an article about a meeting of the board of directors of Jinja Honchō at which, among other things, the progress of the court case was discussed. There hasn’t been any real progress (the appeal is still pending at the Supreme Court), but there were a couple of interesting points raised.

First, Jinja Honchō paid the back salaries of the two former employees who sued them, to avoid Jinja Honchō’s assets being seized. However, the former employees returned the money, saying that they did not want it until the verdict was final. Negotiations are ongoing. (I am really not sure what is going on here. I wonder whether, if the employees finally lose in the Supreme Court, they might have to repay the money with interest — which would be quite a burden.)

Second, some more details of the motion submitted to the Oversight Council asking for the appeal to be withdrawn were reported. The motion quoted the eighth-century Jingiryō, the legal code governing rites for the kami, which says that people must not be involved in court cases while preparing for matsuri, and thus raised the concern that the continued court case would be a source of kegarë (ritual impurity). The response was that, if you take into account the situation at the time of the law code, and compare it to contemporary Japan, you can see the rules do not necessarily apply to the daily activities of Shinto priests in the present day.

I happen to agree; the rules are for a completely different context. However, it is interesting that a purely religious argument has been raised against the court case, and that it was based on quoting an ancient text. That is really unusual in contemporary Jinja Shinto.

Finally, it seems that someone complained that the documents submitted to the Supreme Court by Jinja Honchō rather suggested that there were profound divisions in the Shinto world, and that someone else said that the case should be concluded as soon as possible, because it was a cause of concern for a lot of priests and adherents.

That is certainly true. I also hope that it will be over soon.

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