Normally, I find a single topic for these blog posts, but the July 17th issue of Jinja Shinpō had a number of small points that I want to mention, and they have no connection to each other.
The first is the editorial, which was inspired by the Marine Day national holiday (July 17th), and talked about how the sacred forests at jinja should be preserved to help preserve the oceans, and about the need to reduce plastic waste. The short piece by a journalist on the front page was about increasing biodiversity at jinja, as well. This class of issues does seem to be becoming more important within Shinto.
The second was from a report of a meeting of the Tōhoku prefectural Jinjachō. One of the speakers said that the pandemic had led to further problems with training successors for existing priests (fair enough), and that seeking a balance with social differences between the sexes had caused problems to arise concerning vestments. I have absolutely no idea what he was talking about in the second part. Male and female priests do have different vestments, but is that itself the problem? Or do the jinja not have enough female vestments for an increasing number of female priests? Or are there complaints about the form of one set or other of the vestments? I do wonder whether this point was too central to his presentation to ignore, but too involved to explain in the space available.
A jinja in Tochigi Prefecture is putting up a new torii, and there was an article reporting the “pillar raising ceremony”. For a sanctuary, this means raising the pillars that support the roof, and there is a lot of work to do after it. For a torii, the whole thing looks fairly complete once the pillars are up, especially as the lintels were placed while it was lying on the ground. Apparently further work is needed on the foundations.
Finally, there was a report of a meeting in Niigata Prefecture, where the merger of several local groupings was discussed. The report notes that the formal discussions went so smoothly that they got through the agenda in an hour. I can’t help feeling that some shade is being thrown…