Browsed by
Author: David Chart

The Ritual of the Daijōsai

The Ritual of the Daijōsai

The Daijōsai is one of the most important Shinto rituals. It is performed once each imperial reign, by the Tennō in person, to honour Amaterasu Ōmikami and all the other kami. The current Tennō will perform it in a week’s time, and I have just released a paid essay on my Patreon describing how the ritual is performed. If you are interested in seeing it, the Patreon Back Numbers page contains details on what to do: you should sign up…

Read More Read More

When Disaster Strikes

When Disaster Strikes

Most jinja are located in Japan which is, as readers of this blog surely know, prone to natural disasters of many kinds. Because there are jinja all across Japan, almost every natural disaster affects at least one of them. Sometimes, they do a lot of damage. Much of the damage done to jinja is no different from the damage done to any other building, albeit often more expensive to repair than a typical family home. However, there is a unique…

Read More Read More

Miko Vestments

Miko Vestments

Miko vestments are possibly the best known of the standard vestments for staff at jinja, because they feature in a lot of manga and anime. Miko wear bright red hakama (called “hibakama”) over a simple white kimono (called a “byakuë”). Because the hakama completely cover the kimono below the waist, it looks like they are wearing a white top and red bottoms, but the white kimono is also ankle length. (You can find pictures of “miniskirt miko” online without even…

Read More Read More

The Enthronement of the Tennō

The Enthronement of the Tennō

Today is a national holiday in Japan, to celebrate the enthronement of the Tennō. The enthronement ceremony itself happened at 1 pm, with heads of state from around the world in attendance. And it had nothing to do with Shinto. The enthronement ceremony has, in fact, never had anything to do with Shinto. It was originally copied from Chinese models, and until the late nineteenth century, everyone wore traditional Chinese official robes for it. (By the late nineteenth century, those…

Read More Read More

Female Priestly Vestments

Female Priestly Vestments

As I mentioned in my post about male priestly vestments, the vestments for female priests are different. When female priests were officially permitted after the war, the vestments were initially based on the formal clothes for female Heian aristocrats, just as those for men were based on those for male aristocrats. However, the robes of female courtiers, the “jūnihitoë”, or “twelve robes”, have multiple layers, are very heavy, and are difficult to move in. As a result, it was not…

Read More Read More

Patreon Special Offer

Patreon Special Offer

To celebrate the release of the video about Shinto that I helped Greg Lam of Life Where I’m From to make, I am running a special offer on my Patreon. Anyone who signs up before this month’s paid post (which will go up at 11:55pm Japan time on the 31st), and whose payment clears, will get one or more bonus essays. What you get depends on the level you sign up to. $1 • Matsuri. The heart of Shinto practice….

Read More Read More

Male Priestly Vestments

Male Priestly Vestments

Shinto priests wear distinctive vestments when performing ceremonies, based on the clothes worn by the nobility of the Heian period (ca 800 – 1200 CE). The vestments are different for male and female priests, and for priests of different ranks, and for matsuri of different levels of importance. This post just gives a couple of representative examples for male priests, as most Shinto priests are still male. (I plan another post on female priests in the near future.) The base…

Read More Read More

To The Next Generation

To The Next Generation

A couple of weeks ago (in the September 9th issue) I had another article published in Jinja Shinpō. This article was mainly about Shin’yūsha, an organisation that was set up primarily to run workshops for children at which they could encounter Japan’s traditional culture. It is fairly new — less than ten years old — but it has already developed to offer some events aimed at adults. I have attended quite a few of the events, often with my daughter,…

Read More Read More

Rebuilding in Fukushima

Rebuilding in Fukushima

It is now over eight and a half years since the Great East Japan Earthquake, and rebuilding is still in progress across the affected region of Japan. The longest delay has been in Fukushima Prefecture, where the accident at the nuclear reactor meant that work on rebuilding could not even start for years in some areas, and there are still areas close to the reactor that are closed due to radioactive contamination, and likely to remain so for many years…

Read More Read More

The Traditional Religion of Japan

The Traditional Religion of Japan

Shinto is the traditional religion of Japan. As is normal with real-world situations, every single word (even “is”, “the”, and “of”) in that sentence is controversial, and potentially misleading, but it is still the best place to start. I believe that Shinto is best thought of as a religion, but that word tends to create an inaccurate image. Shinto does not have a founder. It also does not really have sacred texts; the oldest collections of Shinto legends are eighth…

Read More Read More

%d bloggers like this: