David Chart

Kneeling at Jinja

A few weeks ago, I reported on an article in Jinja Shinpō about how people were paying their respects at jinja. The author of that article had another one in the October 11th issue, looking further back, and starting from a line from a military song published during the Second World War, which refers to a mother visiting Yasukuni Jinja and kneeling to pay her respects and recite a Nenbutsu, which is a Buddhist prayer. According to the article, this was to emphasise her rustic background, as she did not… Read More »Kneeling at Jinja

A Year of Daily Visits

As of yesterday, I have visited Shirahata Hachiman Daijin to pay my respects every day for 365 days without missing a single one. Just thought I would use my blog to brag about that. I have been basically visiting the jinja every day for something like eight years now, but under normal circumstances I have overnight trips, or there are typhoons or snowstorms, and I have to miss occasional days. However, thanks to the pandemic and the lack of truly violent weather in Kawasaki over the last year, I have… Read More »A Year of Daily Visits

Ebisu Matsuri

Last Sunday, I went to Kinkazan Koganëyama Jinja, in Miyagi Prefecture, for a formal prayer. This is a jinja that I have visited every year for the last nine years, and I have mentioned it before on this blog — my name is literally carved in stone in the precincts. This year, for various reasons, I wasn’t sure that I would be able to get there, because it is a long way away, and last Sunday was when I could. By chance, that was also the day of the annual… Read More »Ebisu Matsuri

Takamagahara or Takamanohara?

The home of Amaterasu Ōmikami and many other kami in Shinto myth is Takamagahara, or possibly Takamanohara. In Japanese, it is written with three characters, meaning “high” (“taka”), “heavens” (“ama”) and “plains” (“hara”). The last “a” of “taka” and the first “a” of “ama” merge, making “Takama”, and then “hara” goes on the end. I normally translate it as “the High Plains of Heaven”. However, there is no written character in the Japanese corresponding to “ga” or “no”. “Ga” and “no” are both possessive particles. “Ga” is from old Japanese,… Read More »Takamagahara or Takamanohara?

Result of the Appeal

I have written a few articles on this blog about the important court case that is currently causing problems for Jinja Honchō. In brief, a senior employee raised concerns about possible corruption in a real estate transaction, and was fired for it. He, and another employee, sued Jinja Honchō, asking the court to confirm that the firing was void, and that they were still employed. They won. Jinja Honchō decided to appeal, a decision that was controversial even within the Board of Directors, and even more controversial outside: about a… Read More »Result of the Appeal

Virtual Jinja Visit

Hyper Japan is an annual festival of Japanese culture held in London, although the pandemic rather limited it this year and last. One of the online events this year is likely to be of interest to readers of this blog: a virtual visit to a jinja. The jinja in question, Fu Hachimangū in Shizuoka Prefecture, is not particularly famous, but it is a fairly large jinja, and worth a look. What is more, because the festival is held in London, there is English interpretation for the Japanese. I have to… Read More »Virtual Jinja Visit