I have mentioned before on this blog that I wrote a booklet for Jinja Honchō entitled “Jinja: Heart of Japan” to serve as their general introduction to Shinto for foreigners. Most of the content was incorporated into Jinja Honchō’s English language website, and has been available for a while, but the only way to see the full booklet was to get hold of a physical copy. That has changed.
The PDF is now available on their website.
As you can see, there are nine languages available. The choice of languages was based on the languages spoken by people living in or visiting Japan, which is why there is a Thai translation — the number of Thai tourists in Japan is surprisingly high. As you might also notice, there is no Japanese version. That is because the English version is the original, and translating it into Japanese has not seemed sensible. There has been talk of doing something similar in Japanese, because most Japanese today know little of Shinto, but this booklet was aimed at foreigners, with no daily experience of Shinto and jinja, so the equivalent for Japanese would have to be slightly different.
I wrote about the process of producing this before, so I have little more to say here. I will just complain about the file names. They are called jinja_xx.pdf, where xx is replaced by a code for the language. The English one is jinja_us.pdf. No. It is written in British English. It should be jinja_uk.pdf. Or even jinja_en.pdf. Hmph.