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Category: Shinto

“Second Hometown”

“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…

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Kinkasan Koganëyama Jinja

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…

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The Daijōkyū

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…

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Too Sacred To Hear

Too Sacred To Hear

There are many ceremonies connected to the accession of a new Tennō, and last week’s Daijōsai is the most important Shinto ritual among them. The whole series is concluded with a performance of kagura, sacred music and dance, before the Kashikodokoro, where Amaterasu Ōmikami is enshrined within the Imperial palace. This time, the kagura will be offered in December, over the course of about six hours, starting around sunset. Jinja Shinpō carried a couple of articles about this on the…

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The Daijōsai

The Daijōsai

Tonight, the central ceremony of the Daijōsai will be held, in the Daijōkyū in the grounds of the Imperial Palace in Tokyo. The Tennō will, in person, make offerings to Amaterasu Ōmikami, as the ancestral kami of the Imperial line, and to all the kami of the heavens and the earth. This ceremony is performed once by each Tennō, at the beginning of their reign, and it is the most important of all the Shinto rites performed by the Tennō….

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The Ritual of the Daijōsai

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…

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When Disaster Strikes

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…

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Miko Vestments

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…

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The Enthronement of the Tennō

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…

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Female Priestly Vestments

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…

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