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David Chart

Shinto and the Constitution

One of the issues that the Shinto establishment has a strong opinion on is the revision of the Japanese constitution. They believe that it should be revised, as soon as possible, and are very actively engaged in campaigns to bring about that change. To understand their position, a bit of background on the current Japanese constitution is important. It was written, in English, by a handful of Americans over the course of a few days, translated into Japanese, and then passed by the Diet in accordance with instructions from the… Read More »Shinto and the Constitution

New Year Activities

As I have mentioned before, Hatsumōdë is one of the most important times of year for most jinja, when many people visit and make offerings that are essential to their financial viability for the next year. It is natural, therefore, that many jinja try to think up ways to get more people to visit, and make more offerings. This can be as simple as advertising; large jinja near Tokyo take out advertisements on the underground trains, and smaller ones may have adverts on local buses. I imagine that the same… Read More »New Year Activities

Cashless Offerings

The advance of the cashless society, which is slower in Japan than many places but finally happening, poses a particular practical problem for jinja. When one visits a jinja to pay one’s respects to the kami, one is supposed to make an offering. On an ordinary visit, it would just be a few yen (a few cents), often five yen, throwing some small change into the offertory box. For a formal prayer, the offering must normally be at least ¥5,000, with some jinja setting ¥10,000 as a minimum, but it… Read More »Cashless Offerings

Paying for the Daijōsai

The Daijōsai is a large-scale Shinto ceremony held to mark the accession of a new Tennō. It has over 1300 years of (interrupted) history, and, for the Shinto establishment, it is one of the most important of all Shinto ceremonies. Indeed, were you to ask a member of that establishment which ceremony was more important, the Daijōsai or the Grand Renewal of Jingū, I suspect they would find it difficult to answer. That’s not a political matter; the two ceremonies have different kinds of significance, so they are very hard… Read More »Paying for the Daijōsai

Jinja Shinpō and Shinto Scandals

In the 12th November issue, Jinja Shinpō ran an editorial about the trouble at Yasukuni, in which they explained their policy on such issues, and said something about their view of the Yasukuni problem. Both parts were very interesting. First, they said that, as a matter of policy, they avoid reporting the details of “dark and dirty events”. This was referred back to an event in the 1950s. While the editorial, naturally, avoided reporting the details, it did mention that this event led to the introduction of regulations for the… Read More »Jinja Shinpō and Shinto Scandals

Preparing for the Daijōsai

Japan will be getting a new Tennō at the beginning of May next year. There are, as might be expected, many ceremonies associated with this, but from the Shinto perspective the most important is the Daijōsai. This will be held next November, and I will almost certainly write an essay about it for my Patreon when it gets a bit closer. There are, however, many preparations needed for the ceremony, and Jinja Shinpō published an article about the first last week. The offerings made during the ceremony include two kinds… Read More »Preparing for the Daijōsai

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