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David Chart

The Names of the Kami

One of the problems with studying Shinto is the names of the kami. First, there are a lot of kami, and they tend to have long names. Masakatsuakatsukachihayahiamëno’oshihomimi no Mikoto, Amaterasu Ōmikami’s son and the mythical ancestor of the Tennō, is a good example. Simply remembering the names is tough to begin with. (Many kami have standard “short forms”; Masakatsuakatsukachihayahiamëno’oshihomimi no Mikoto is normally referred to as Oshihomimi.) Then there is the problem that many kami have multiple names. Amaterasu Ōmikami is officially called “Amaterashimasu Sumeōmikami” at Jingū, but this… Read More »The Names of the Kami

New Patreon Essay

My patrons on Patreon have just received the paid essay for January, about Miho Jinja. This is a jinja with over 1300 years of history, in the ancient province of Izumo (modern Shimanë Prefecture). The most distinctive thing about it is its matsuri. They are famous for, apparently, preserving a great deal of the ancient forms of local festivals. If you missed this one but want to get it, you can sign up to my Patreon for next month, and add $1 to your support to receive it as a… Read More »New Patreon Essay

Multi-Religion Ceremonies

I have mentioned before that Shinto is much more open to practitioners of other religions than one might expect from a western perspective, and there was a clear example reported in Jinja Shinpō on January 13th. On Awaji Island, part of Hyōgo prefecture in central Japan, there is a memorial to the students who were killed in action in World War II after being called up by the government. This was originally built by the local government, but the number of visitors dropped off, and the Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake in 1995… Read More »Multi-Religion Ceremonies

Distributing Jingū Taima

Every year, the Jingū Taima, the ofuda from Jingū that the Shinto establishment would like every household in Japan to venerate, are distributed to jinja across Japan so that they can be handed on to individuals. However, the ofuda are not just posted to the jinja. There are a number of ceremonies involved in the distribution itself. The first takes place at Jingū in September, and is attended by representatives of Jinja Honchō, including the president and chairman, as well as by the priests of Jingū. At this ceremony, the… Read More »Distributing Jingū Taima

Nihonshoki 1300 Years

This year marks the 1300th anniversary of the completion of the Nihonshoki. The Nihonshoki is the first official history of Japan, starting from the creation of Japan, and continuing up to the reign of Jitō Tennō at the end of the seventh century. It is a very important source for early Japanese history, and an even more important source for Japanese myth. Although the Kojiki, which was completed in 712, and is thus slightly older, is more famous today, the Nihonshoki is the more important text for the study of… Read More »Nihonshoki 1300 Years

The First New Year of Reiwa

This new year was the first new year of the Reiwa era. Although this year is Reiwa 2, Reiwa 1 started on May 1st last year, and so it did not have a New Year’s Day. Jinja Shinpō has, as normal, published a report on how things went. In general, the weather was good across most of the country, which will have been a big relief to the jinja that rely on hatsumōdë income to keep going through the year. Meiji Jingū, in Tokyo, which typically has the highest number… Read More »The First New Year of Reiwa