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David Chart

2023 Snake

My local jinja, Shirahata Hachiman Daijin, had its annual First Rabbit Festival a few weeks ago (on the first day of the rabbit in March, as always), which means that there is a new snake up on the inner torii. Here are some photographs, which I took the day after it was put up, in nice weather. It still looks very fresh. At some point, I should put up photographs of what it looks like after a few months of being rained on. The festival itself is primarily a divination… Read More »2023 Snake

The Pre-War Ideal

I have mentioned before that the Shinto establishment often seems to think that the ideal state of things in Japan was achieved in 1925, and that we should try to get back to that. One of the organisations that often gives that impression is the ‘Group to Correct the Relationship Between the State and Religion’, which basically wants the state to carry out lots of Shinto rituals. Like it did in 1925. However, the February 27th issue of Jinja Shinpō reported an interesting presentation given at a meeting of the… Read More »The Pre-War Ideal

New Donations Law

The Japanese Diet recently passed a new law, called “The Law Concerning the Prevention of Inappropriate Solicitation of Donations by Corporations and Other Bodies, and Other Issues”. (I think that whoever started the trend for Japanese light novel titles like “That time I was reincarnated as a slime” may have had legal training.) This law was inspired by the actions of the former Unification Church, and thus it is particularly directed at religious corporations. The February 20th issue of Jinja Shinpō included an article reporting on a meeting held by… Read More »New Donations Law

Fractious Board Meeting

The February 20th issue of Jinja Shinpō included a long article on a meeting of the Board of Directors of Jinja Honchō, held on the 9th of February. While some ordinary business was conducted, and there was a discussion of the new law about donations (which will get its own blog post soon), the main event seems to have been a big fight over who was the president. A “big fight” is a slight exaggeration, as they do not appear to have come to blows, but the article explicitly refers… Read More »Fractious Board Meeting

The Practicalities of Receiving Offerings

The survey of priests’ experiences of hatsumōdë that I discussed last time also covered a couple of issues related to money: the service charge on depositing coins, and cashless payments. These are both serious issues for jinja, and both become more pressing around hatsumōdë. The new bank charges for depositing coins have had a large impact. A number of jinja reported finding a lot of small-denomination coins in the offering boxes this year, and reasonably concluded that people had decided that, rather than depositing them and paying the charges, they… Read More »The Practicalities of Receiving Offerings

Hatsumōdë Survey 2023

I mentioned in my earlier post that Jinja Shinpō was gathering more information about this year’s hatsumōdë. That information was published in the February 13th issue. The newspaper asked the priests who are affiliated with it as local reporters about their hatsumōdë experiences, and they received responses from 373 people across the whole of Japan. This is not a randomly selected representative sample, but it does cover a wide geographical area and many types of jinja, so it is the best data we are likely to get. The first thing… Read More »Hatsumōdë Survey 2023

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