Jinja Honchō has just set up a Research Group on Contemporary Problems in Shinto Practice, or, as I will call it, the Digital Group. The main problems it has been asked to deal with are cashless payments and online connections with jinja.
The article in Jinja Shinpō, on July 11th, reports that the first meeting was held on June 29th. The group has six members, four of whom are professors at Kokugakuin University, and it is expected to meet several times before writing a report for Jinja Honchō that will probably shape Honchō’s policy on these issues for the next ten years or so. (That is roughly how long it is since Jinja Honchō last formally reviewed these questions.)
The first meeting consisted of the head of Jinja Honchō’s research department introducing the purpose of the group (reading it into the minutes, I would guess — I’m sure the participants already knew why they were there), followed by a lively exchange of views on the questions. In this case, I don’t think that is a euphemism for “argument”. As one would expect, there was nothing like a conclusion from this meeting.
This group is likely to be very significant for readers of this blog, because they are going to decide what Jinja Honchō will approve of in terms of online and digital activities, and that will make a big difference to what is accessible to Shinto practitioners outside Japan. Obviously, some jinja will ignore Jinja Honchō’s recommendations and do what they want anyway, but a lot of jinja will follow the guidelines to the best of their ability. I will keep an eye on things and report on what happens.