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Fire in Shinto

Every issue of Jinja Shinpō includes a short column from Jingū at Isë. In the January 29th issue, this column talked about the importance of fire at Jingū. It is used to provide light for the matsuri that are held at night, and to cook the food for the kami. In the latter case, the fire is started using a fire drill. It is also used to boil down the sea water from which the salt offered to the kami is extracted. That’s it. All the uses of fire are… Read More »Fire in Shinto


The “Mori ni Omofu” (“Thoughts in the Forest”) column in the January 15th issue of Jinja Shinpō was about the Noto earthquake, and had an interesting comment. “Unnecessarily looking for explanations of events that rely on things beyond human understanding, like a conspiracy theorist, cannot be said to be a healthy shinkō attitude.” One reason this is interesting is that an article in the Shinto newspaper is telling readers that the earthquake was caused by plate tectonics, which we understand pretty well, and not by the kami. As I have… Read More »Shinkō

Digital Okayama

The February 5th issue of Jinja Shinpō included an article by a senior staff member of Okayama Prefectural Jinjachō, about their digital transition. This transition seems to have been driven by the head of the Jinjachō, which is probably how the first examples had to happen. There seem to be two main elements to this transition. First, they have stopped requiring inkan stamps (the name stamps that used to be needed on everything back when I first came to Japan, eeee, those were the good old days, where’re my glasses,… Read More »Digital Okayama

Divination by Wind

The February 5th issue of Jinja Shinpō included an article reporting on the Shinto-related intangible cultural assets recognised by the most recent meeting of the relevant government committee. Such articles are frequent, and also cover the meetings dealing with tangible cultural assets. One of the intangible assets recognised this time was a ceremony from a jinja in Saga Prefecture, on Kyushu. On July 15th, men from among the ujiko purify themselves, and then climb the sacred tree with a sacred flag attached to the end of a bamboo pole. This… Read More »Divination by Wind

The 2024 Noto Earthquake 3

The response to the Noto Peninsula Earthquake on January 1st continues, and it is still a common subject on the news. People have started to move into the medium-term temporary housing that the state builds after a major earthquake, but a significant number (over 10,000) are still in evacuation centres. Given that the area was remote to start with, and considering the damage to the routes into it, it is not clear how much more quickly they could have been helped. However, the preoccupation of the central government with a… Read More »The 2024 Noto Earthquake 3

Mimusubi in Jinja Shinpō

The February 12th issue of Jinja Shinpō includes an article about Mimusubi. Admittedly, I wrote it, but they have printed it, and so now people in mainstream Shinto who carefully read Jinja Shinpō every week know about this website. It also mentions my tendency to rely on articles in the newspaper for content for the blog, so we can now safely assume that they are happy with that. The article is about my efforts to make Shinto culture more widely known and accessible overseas, and talks about Mimusubi as the… Read More »Mimusubi in Jinja Shinpō