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The 2024 Noto Earthquake 4

The February 19th issue of Jinja Shinpō devoted a whole page to a list of jinja damaged by the earthquake on January 1st. For most of them, there is also a summary of the damage. I did read it all, but I’m not going to go through it one jinja at a time. I think that might be a struggle even for this interested audience. There are a few points I want to pick up, however.

First, the reports are grouped by chief priest, presumably because the chief priest provided the information to the prefectural Jinjachō, which then passed it on to Jinja Honchō. One of the chief priests lists fourteen jinja. At all of these the sanctuary buildings were damaged, and at two the main buildings were completely destroyed, along with the torii, walls, and so on in the precincts. At nearly all of them the torii had collapsed, along with the koma inu and the stone lanterns. This is a lot of damage to repair, and there is only one chief priest. The following two chief priests have the same surname, so it is possible that this is one priestly family, with responsibility for 23 badly damaged jinja.

It is likely that there are ujiko and sōdai who provide support at those jinja, but the chief priest is still the head of the legal corporation, and thus needs to sign off on any decisions about rebuilding. And, of course, everyone connected to the jinja is also a victim of the earthquake. They may even have evacuated to a different area, meaning that they cannot do anything at the moment. (The jinja in question are in Nanao City, which is on the edge of the worst-affected area.)

Second, for a number of jinja there are no details of the damage. The most likely explanation for this is that the chief priest has not yet been able to confirm exactly what the damage is, because most of these jinja are in the worst-affected areas. I very much doubt that all the damaged jinja are listed here, and the introduction by the editors says that it has not been possible to confirm the situation of all jinja yet. So, the ones with no detail are most likely jinja where an ujiko has told the priest that there is damage, but not in enough detail to fill the form out accurately. The jinja that are not mentioned at all are probably the ones where nobody has been able to check yet, or the chief priest has been so badly affected that they haven’t had time to respond yet. (I believe the current situation is that no priests died in the earthquake, but they may have lost their homes, or evacuated to a place from which their jinja are not accessible. This is mentioned on the prefectural Jinjachō website.)

According to the Ishikawa Prefectural Jinjachō website, they are sending people to the worst-hit regions to check all the jinja during March. This should allow them to grasp the current situation, and the extent of the damage, and then they can start planning an appropriate response.

The article in the February 19th issue covered Ishikawa and Fukui prefectures. The February 26th issue had an article about Niigata prefecture, while the March 4th issue covered Toyama. The worst damage was in Ishikawa Prefecture (which includes the Noto Peninsula), but the area affected is broad. Full recovery will take some time.

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