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David Chart

The Ritual of the Daijōsai

The Daijōsai is one of the most important Shinto rituals. It is performed once each imperial reign, by the Tennō in person, to honour Amaterasu Ōmikami and all the other kami. The current Tennō will perform it in a week’s time, and I have just released a paid essay on my Patreon describing how the ritual is performed. If you are interested in seeing it, the Patreon Back Numbers page contains details on what to do: you should sign up to my Patreon, pledge $2, and ask me for it… Read More »The Ritual of the Daijōsai

When Disaster Strikes

Most jinja are located in Japan which is, as readers of this blog surely know, prone to natural disasters of many kinds. Because there are jinja all across Japan, almost every natural disaster affects at least one of them. Sometimes, they do a lot of damage. Much of the damage done to jinja is no different from the damage done to any other building, albeit often more expensive to repair than a typical family home. However, there is a unique problem. The kami at most jinja is thought to be… Read More »When Disaster Strikes

Miko Vestments

Miko vestments are possibly the best known of the standard vestments for staff at jinja, because they feature in a lot of manga and anime. Miko wear bright red hakama (called “hibakama”) over a simple white kimono (called a “byakuë”). Because the hakama completely cover the kimono below the waist, it looks like they are wearing a white top and red bottoms, but the white kimono is also ankle length. (You can find pictures of “miniskirt miko” online without even trying; this is obviously ridiculous, as the kimono would show.)… Read More »Miko Vestments

The Enthronement of the Tennō

Today is a national holiday in Japan, to celebrate the enthronement of the Tennō. The enthronement ceremony itself happened at 1 pm, with heads of state from around the world in attendance. And it had nothing to do with Shinto. The enthronement ceremony has, in fact, never had anything to do with Shinto. It was originally copied from Chinese models, and until the late nineteenth century, everyone wore traditional Chinese official robes for it. (By the late nineteenth century, those robes may have been a thousand years out of date… Read More »The Enthronement of the Tennō

Female Priestly Vestments

As I mentioned in my post about male priestly vestments, the vestments for female priests are different. When female priests were officially permitted after the war, the vestments were initially based on the formal clothes for female Heian aristocrats, just as those for men were based on those for male aristocrats. However, the robes of female courtiers, the “jūnihitoë”, or “twelve robes”, have multiple layers, are very heavy, and are difficult to move in. As a result, it was not long before a revised version was specified, based, as I… Read More »Female Priestly Vestments

Patreon Special Offer

To celebrate the release of the video about Shinto that I helped Greg Lam of Life Where I’m From to make, I am running a special offer on my Patreon. Anyone who signs up before this month’s paid post (which will go up at 11:55pm Japan time on the 31st), and whose payment clears, will get one or more bonus essays. What you get depends on the level you sign up to. $1 • Matsuri. The heart of Shinto practice. $2 • Matsuri • The Jinja Pack: At a Jinja,… Read More »Patreon Special Offer