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David Chart

State Support

The Daijōsai to be held in November as part of the accession of the new Tennō is one of the most important Shinto rituals, and thus of great interest to the Shinto world, and particularly to the Shinto establishment. I will almost certainly write an essay about it for my Patreon, but some smaller points that come up are good for blog entries. One that has come up before is the question of state support for it. As I mentioned in an earlier post, the second in line to the… Read More »State Support

This Year’s Hatsumōdë

The most recent issue of Jinja Shinpō included a long article on hatsumōdë, and how it went at various jinja. This is a standard feature at this time of year. In the past, it focused on the larger jinja, but recently it has spent more time on jinja in regions that have suffered natural disasters recently, and on jinja that have some particular link to the year. This year, the first three days of the New Year saw good weather across Japan, so there were a lot of people. Jingū,… Read More »This Year’s Hatsumōdë

Tamakazura Jinja

Last week’s Jinja Shinpō had an article about the dedication of a new jinja, Tamakazura Jinja, in Nara Prefecture. This is interesting for a couple of reasons. The first is that it is the establishment of a completely new jinja. The kami was not transferred from another jinja, but rather called down directly to this site. This is unusual, but, as this event shows, it does still happen. It also seems to be uncontroversial, as the report in Jinja Shinpō is positive, and the enshrinement ceremony was attended by the… Read More »Tamakazura Jinja

New Year Thoughts

In January every year, Jinja Shinpō, the newspaper of the Shinto community in Japan, publishes a number of short articles giving people’s New Year thoughts. In order to write one of these, you must be a “Toshi Otoko” or “Toshi Onna”. “Toshi” means “year”, while “Otoko” is “man” and “Onna” is “woman”. A “Man/Woman of the Year” is anyone who was born with the same Chinese zodiacal animal as the current year. The editors reach out to senior priests at significant jinja who meet that criterion and ask for articles,… Read More »New Year Thoughts

Descent from the Kami

The Tennō, the Emperor of Japan, claims descent from the kami of the sun, Amaterasu Ōmikami. The current Tennō does not put any emphasis on that claim, but the Shinto establishment does regard it as important. This is also fairly well known outside Japan. What is less well known is that this is not at all uncommon. The Sengë, the hereditary priests of Izumo Ōyashiro (also known as Izumo Taisha, in a different reading of the same characters), also claim descent from Amaterasu Ōmikami, through her second son rather than… Read More »Descent from the Kami

The “Shinto Establishment”

In these blog posts I sometimes refer to the “Shinto establishment”. In this post, I hope to explain why I do that, and what I mean by the phrase. Shinto has no prophets, no holy scriptures, and no creed. There are rough equivalents to these things, but they are only rough, and do not play the roles that these things play in Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam). One effect of this is that Shinto, as a whole, does not have a unified position on anything. As a result, it… Read More »The “Shinto Establishment”

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