Browsed by
Author: David Chart

Adopting Tennō

Adopting Tennō

This post is the third in a short series about the Imperial succession crisis and the Shinto establishment’s attitude. You might want to read the posts about the nature of the crisis, and why the Shinto establishment is opposed to female, and female-line, Tennō, first. The Shinto establishment’s proposed solution to the crisis is to restore (some of) the male-line male descendants of the former miyakë to the Imperial family, possibly by adoption, so that they can succeed as Tennō….

Read More Read More

Why Only Men?

Why Only Men?

As I discussed in my last post, the fact that six of the seven members of the Imperial family under the age of forty are women might be taken as a reason to allow women to become Tennō. However, the Shinto establishment is firmly opposed to this. Why? Your immediate hypothesis might well be “Because they are a bunch of sexist fossils”. I have to admit that the evidence suggests that this may well be true of some of them….

Read More Read More

Imperial Succession

Imperial Succession

The Shinto establishment is extremely concerned with the position of the Tennō in Japanese society. There are a number of reasons for this, among them the fact that the ceremonies he performs for, and offerings he makes to, the kami are of great significance in many views of Shinto. The position of Tennō is also hereditary. It can only be held by someone from the Imperial line, and there is an oracle to that effect from Hachiman Ōkami, issued in…

Read More Read More

Hatsumōdë by Setsubun

Hatsumōdë by Setsubun

My local jinja has just put a sign up on the front of the prayer hall saying “Hatsumōdë by Setsubun”. Hatsumōdë is the first jinja visit of the new year. Traditionally, it is supposed to be done in the first three days of the year, which means that those three days have been extremely busy at most jinja; Meiji Jingū in Tokyo normally gets about three million visitors in that time. Most people just go to the jinja and pay…

Read More Read More

Hewing Wood and Drawing Water

Hewing Wood and Drawing Water

Early in their reign, the new Tennō performs the Daijōsai, one of the most important rituals in Shinto. I’m not going to write about that here, although I did write two essays about it, which you can now buy from Amazon through this handy affiliate link. The rice offered at the Daijōsai is grown in two sacred fields, with many ceremonies. But I’m not going to write about those ceremonies, either. The sacred fields are chosen through an ancient divination…

Read More Read More

Right-Wing Priests

Right-Wing Priests

The November 9th issue of Jinja Shinpō had an interview with the chief priest of Hokkaidō Jingū, who has just been appointed a Chōrō. This appointment is a pure honour, given to priests who have made an important contribution to Jinja Shinto over the course of several decades. They receive a staff with a small statue of a pigeon on top — this is historically significant, but I am not sure of the exact significance. Chōrō is the highest honour…

Read More Read More

More Back Issues Available

More Back Issues Available

I have made some more back issues from the Patreon available again. First, I have put Offerings for the Kami on Amazon. This combines my essays on shinsen (offerings of food and drink) and kagura (sacred dance). Both of these essays were heavily edited for space reasons before they were included in my book, to remove almost all of the discussion of specific local examples. If you are interested in reading about special offerings at particular jinja, or traditional local…

Read More Read More

Multiply Religious

Multiply Religious

After the rather heavy topics of the last few posts, here’s something a bit lighter, albeit still significant. A columnist wrote (in the November 9th issue of Jinja Shinpō) about his childhood in northern Kyushu, where his grandfather and grandmother served at the local Shinto jinja and Buddhist temple. They would take turns, so that while, for example, his grandfather was on the jinja committee, his grandmother would be on the women’s committee for the temple, and when their terms…

Read More Read More

Responding to Depopulation

Responding to Depopulation

A very important feature of Japan at the moment is rural depopulation. Japan’s population is falling overall, and most young people are moving to cities. This has led to rural communities where the average age is around seventy. This causes many problems, and in the grand scheme of things the problems it causes for jinja are probably not the most important. They are, however, the most important from the perspective of this blog. Fundamentally, jinja need a certain number of…

Read More Read More

%d bloggers like this: