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David Chart

2022 Snake

As I have described in my book, my ujigami jinja, Shirahata Hachiman Daijin, has a special matsuri on the first day of the rabbit in March, and as part of this matsuri a straw snake is hung on the torii, where a shimënawa would normally go. This year’s snake went up a couple of weeks ago. Click on the images for larger versions. This matsuri is technically run by a “kō”, a group of people with a special devotion to a particular kami or jinja, rather than by the jinja… Read More »2022 Snake

The Sun Goddess Amaterasu?

If you read English-language discussions of Shinto, you are almost certain to come across references to the Sun Goddess Amaterasu. Indeed, I am currently reading Helen Hardacre’s Shinto: A History, which is good so far, and she refers to the kami in the same way. Is this legitimate? As readers of this blog and my other writings about Shinto probably already know, I do not translate “kami” at all, and certainly not as “god”. The concepts are very different, and referring to “kami” as “gods” is likely to make Shinto… Read More »The Sun Goddess Amaterasu?

An Introduction to Shinto in Hardcover

The hardcover, full colour version of An Introduction to Shinto is now available from Amazon. (Affiliate link) It is really expensive, because of the cost of colour printing: $59.99. In addition, because of problems with the ISBN, I am afraid that I will not be able to make it available from any outlet other than Amazon in the near future. I would like to — the electronic version is available from Gumroad — but regulations make it impractical. It takes them a long time to print it, but the images in the proof copy,… Read More »An Introduction to Shinto in Hardcover

Eleven Years

Today marks eleven years since the Great East Japan Earthquake, and I want to write a bit about it. I have visited the area affected by the tsunami at least once a year since the disaster, mainly to visit jinja, and so I have seen the progress in rebuilding. There has been a lot of progress. Transport links have been restored to almost all areas, and new homes have been built on higher ground to replace those destroyed by the tsunami. At many jinja, the initial rebuilding is complete and… Read More »Eleven Years

Artificial Hills

The series of articles about sacred forests had an interesting instalment in the February 14th issue of Jinja Shinpō — interesting because it isn’t about forests. It does have something of a connection to jinja, however. It is about artificial hills found around ports and coasts in many areas of Japan. Many of these are called “good weather mountain” (biyoriyama), although they are usually quite small as mountains normally go. These hills were used by fishermen and other sailors to get a good view of the sky, and judge whether… Read More »Artificial Hills

Coin Transaction Fees

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that most banks in Japan had introduced significant transaction fees for the deposit of coins, and that this was likely to have an impact on jinja. This issue was clearly of concern to the people at Jinja Shinpō, because when they sent out the hatsumōdë survey that I discussed last week, they also included a question about this problem. They got a wide range of responses. (Incidentally, a couple of weeks ago, a few days after the results were published, NHK did a short… Read More »Coin Transaction Fees

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