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David Chart

Can I Convert To Shinto?

“Can I convert to Shinto?” This is a question I occasionally see online, or the variant “How can I convert to Shinto?”. They both seem like reasonable questions: to convert to Christianity you should be baptised and there are said to be some religious communities that do not accept converts — you have to be born a member. However, neither question really applies to Shinto. Shinto is not an identity, it is a group of related activities. This may be why there is no word in English for someone who… Read More »Can I Convert To Shinto?


Today, I went to my local jinja to pay my respects, and the precincts were positively overflowing with families in suits and small children in kimono. It’s Shichi-Go-San (7-5-3) season. Shichi-Go-San is a rite-of-passage festival for children, held at age 3 for both boys and girls, and again at age 5 for boys, and age 7 for girls, hence the name. Traditionally, these ages were Japanese “counted years” ages, in which you count every calendar year in which you have been alive. Thus, you are born at age 1, because… Read More »Shichi-Go-San

Tsunekiyo Tanaka, Head of Jinja Honchō

I have a subscription to Jinja Shinpō, which is effectively the house newspaper of Jinja Shinto. The priests of the 80,000 jinja affiliated to Jinja Honchō (The Association of Shinto Shrines) all have subscriptions, and almost nobody else does; most articles assume that the readers are Shinto priests. This provides an interesting window on what is important to Jinja Honchō, and a less direct view of what is important to Shinto priests in general. In the October 17 2016 issue, there is a long interview with Tsunekiyo Tanaka. He is… Read More »Tsunekiyo Tanaka, Head of Jinja Honchō

Patreon is Live

My Patreon for essays describing Shinto as objectively and accurately as I can manage is now live. Please take a look. Posts on this site will be more about my personal opinions or individual approach to Shinto, while the Patreon essays will be about facts that, in theory, anyone who studied the subject could agree on. I hope you find them interesting.

Launch on Saturday

I am going to formally launch the new project, to write essays introducing Shinto supported through Patreon, on Saturday this week. That day is the anniversary of my arrival in Japan, which I think makes it a suitably significant day on which to begin a new venture. Ahead of the launch, I went to my local jinja today to have a ceremony asking the kami to support the project. I took along a printout of the first essay, the one that all patrons will get free when they sign up,… Read More »Launch on Saturday

A Change of Focus

[Note added in October 2019: All the RPG articles that used to be on this site can now be found on, mostly in the Kannagara category. There should be functioning redirects for every page that was here to the new location there.] I have decided to change the focus of this website, to be on Shinto more generally. There are a couple of reasons for this. The first is that the game development has moved to doing the School of Magic game first, and that has nothing to do… Read More »A Change of Focus