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David Chart

Sacred Forests and Regional Regeneration

The article about sacred forests in the March 21st issue of Jinja Shinpō was, once again, not particularly about sacred forests. It was, nevertheless, interesting. The author, a professor at Kyoto University, starts by noting the increased importance that has been placed on social diversity recently in Japan (where it means something completely different from what it currently means in the USA), and on biodiversity worldwide. He notes the importance of preserving biodiversity and habitats, including their influence on the origins of pandemics. He then connects the idea of “yaoyorozu… Read More »Sacred Forests and Regional Regeneration

Paths to the Priesthood

The 21st March issue of Jinja Shinpō carried an interesting article about a program at Osaka Tenmangū to support people who are working at the jinja as miko or in an administrative capacity as they train and qualify for the priesthood. The program started in 2020, and the idea is that people who are interested in the Shinto priesthood, but are not qualified, are hired at the jinja in another role. As part of that job, they are involved with planning and carrying out events at the jinja, and with… Read More »Paths to the Priesthood

Close to the Kami

A couple of weeks ago, I received the April issue of the quarterly “magazine” of Kinkasan Koganëyama Jinja, in Miyagi Prefecture. (It only has four pages, hence the scare quotes.) This describes recent happenings, mostly matsuri, at the jinja, and also talks about upcoming events. One of those is the “first snake festival”, which happens for a week at the beginning of May, and thus often overlaps with Golden Week. This is one of the most important matsuri at the jinja, and one of the significant features is that, during… Read More »Close to the Kami

Bamboo and Deer

The article about sacred forests in the March 14th issue of Jinja Shinpō was, in a way, a sequel to the article the previous week. That article, which I talked about last time, covered the question of preserving sacred forests in a general sense, while the March 14th article was about two specific examples: bamboo, and deer. The bamboo in question is mōsō bamboo, which was introduced to Japan from China during the Edo period (1600-1850ish). It can be used in manufacturing a wide range of goods, and the shoots… Read More »Bamboo and Deer

The Preservation and Maintenance of Sacred Forests

The March 7th issue of Jinja Shinpō had another article in the series on sacred forests, and this one returned to the core topic, looking at the question of how they should be maintained. It was written by a lecturer at Tokyo Agricultural University, who presumably knows what he is talking about. It starts by observing that the image of sacred forests is of trees, certainly, but also other plants, and a wide variety of animals, living in an area that people neither enter nor interfere with. On the other… Read More »The Preservation and Maintenance of Sacred Forests

Coins, Again

I’ve got a bit behind with interesting articles from Jinja Shinpō, so the one I want to mention today is from February 28th. It is another article about the problems with transaction charges for depositing coins in banks. As I have mentioned before, some jinja looked into cooperating with local shops, who had problems with the transaction charges for withdrawing coins, and this article was about some specific examples. It was written by someone who works for Osaka Jinjachō, so both of the jinja mentioned are in Osaka Prefecture. The… Read More »Coins, Again

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