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David Chart

Happy New Year

Happy New Year. As usual, my local jinja, Shirahata Hachiman Daijin, was busy with people coming to hatsumōdë. I hope that you find this year’s information about Shinto interesting and useful.

The Tombs of the Tennō

Tennō die, and are buried. Their tombs are important in Shinto practice, and are under the control of the Imperial Household Agency. In myth, the first Tennō, Jinmu, became Tennō in 660 BC, and the current Tennō is the 126th. All of these Tennō (apart from the 125th and 126th, who are not yet dead) have official tombs, and most of these tombs are fairly large mausolea, or tumulus earth mound graves. In some cases, there is no doubt that the tomb is genuine. For example, Shōwa Tennō died in… Read More »The Tombs of the Tennō

Society of Shinto Studies Meeting

This weekend, I went to half of the annual meeting of the Society of Shinto Studies. Unfortunately, it was being held over the weekend, and I have to work on Saturdays, so I could only attend the Sunday. Sunday was the day for individual research presentations, and there were four parallel sessions; obviously, I could only attend one. There were five presentations in the session I attended, and they were all interesting. The first presentation was about Shinto and the environment, and it drew my attention to some more possibilities,… Read More »Society of Shinto Studies Meeting

“Second Hometown”

This week’s Jinja Shinpō included an article about “Dai Ni no Furusato Sōsei Kyōkai”, “Second Hometown Creation Group”, an organisation of volunteers that has recently started up, based at a jinja in Tokyo. (They have a web page, but it is entirely in Japanese.) The group plans to engage in two kinds of activity. The first is sending small groups of volunteers to help out at matsuri, and the other is to plant new woodlands, based on the sacred woodlands at jinja (“Chinju no Mori”). In both cases, the organisation… Read More »“Second Hometown”

Kinkasan Koganëyama Jinja

Over the weekend, I visited Kinkasan Koganëyama Jinja again. This is a jinja on an island off the coast of Miyagi Prefecture in northeastern Japan, and the closest land in Japan to the epicentre of the 2011 earthquake. I first visited in 2013, and I have been at least once every year since, so I have seen the progress of the rebuilding, and I have talked about it on the blog before. The jinja is interesting in several ways. One is that it is on an island, and is the… Read More »Kinkasan Koganëyama Jinja

The Daijōkyū

Today it was cold and raining heavily, and I went to see the Daijōkyū. The Daijōkyū is the complex of buildings in which the Daijōsai is held; it is built specially for the ceremony, and demolished again soon afterwards. However, for a few weeks it is possible for anyone who happens to be in Tokyo to go to see it. The Daijōkyū was first opened yesterday, when it had, according to the news, 20,000 visitors. One advantage of going in the cold and the rain was that there were not… Read More »The Daijōkyū