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David Chart

Shinto Practice in Print

Shinto Practice for Non-Japanese is now available in paperback from Amazon. There isn’t really much else to say about the book. It is still a practical introduction to practising Shinto if you are not Japanese or not in Japan, or most likely neither, and the content is the same as the electronic version, apart from some editing changes to reflect the change in medium. If you would prefer to have a physical version that you can hold in your hands, that is now a possibility. I hope that some people… Read More »Shinto Practice in Print

Kami Guidance for Buddhists

Jishū is one of the major Buddhist sects in Japan, founded by Ippen in 1274. It is one of the sects dedicated to Amida Buddha, and it is famous for its dancing recitation of the name of Amida (“odoru nenbutsu”). The connection to Shinto is that it was founded after Ippen cloistered himself at Kumano Hongū Taisha (in what is now Wakayama Prefecture), and had a vision of the kami. This vision revealed how he should spread the word of Amida’s salvation of all living beings. The April 17th issue… Read More »Kami Guidance for Buddhists

Through A Narrow Gate

The April 17th issue of Jinja Shinpō contained a short article about Kitano Tenjinja in Kōnan, Aichi Prefecture. As a jinja that enshrines Tenjin-sama, the jinja is popular with students taking entrance exams, and trying to get into selective schools and universities. In Japanese, this is referred to as “passing through a narrow gate”. At this jinja, there is a stone torii, with a shimënawa attached. So far, so normal. The gate space in this torii, however, is about 50 cm tall and about 40 cm wide. Even Japanese people… Read More »Through A Narrow Gate

Suberiishi Jinja

Suberiishi (“Sliding Rock”) Jinja (I think that’s the name, but I haven’t heard it pronounced and I can’t find a reading for the kanji on the website — it could be “Kasseki”) is one of the minor jinja associated with Kinkasan Koganëyama Jinja, the jinja on a sacred island in Miyagi Prefecture that I visit every year. The spring issue of the jinja newsletter has an article about it. This jinja is a little way up the mountain, behind the main sanctuaries and beside a small river. There used to… Read More »Suberiishi Jinja

Facing Depopulation

The depopulation of rural areas of Japan is a serious problem for the whole country, and Shinto is in no way exempt. In some ways, Shinto is more seriously affected than many fields, because jinja are closely tied to particular locations, and cannot move very far, even if the same kami can be (and sometimes is) venerated in other places. In addition, matsuri linked to particular rural jinja are at serious risk, because in many cases there are simply not enough people in the area to hold them any longer.… Read More »Facing Depopulation

New Book: Myths from the Harima Fudoki

I have just made Myths from the Harima Fudoki available on Amazon. This is another compilation of my Patreon essays, but because there are a lot of interesting myths in this Fudoki, it is a compilation of three essays, rather than the normal two. Here is the blurb: The Harima-no-Kuni Fudoki is a gazetteer of the province of Harima, part of modern Hyōgo Prefecture, in the early eighth century. It contains a lot of myths about the kami of that region, and these myths include both kami who do appear in the… Read More »New Book: Myths from the Harima Fudoki

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