Meiji Jingū Essay

Meiji Jingū Essay

I have just sent an essay about Meiji Jingū to all my patrons (from my Patreon). Meiji Jingū is the largest and (probably) richest jinja in Tokyo, but it is 100 years old this year, making it a very young jinja, as well. It is the most popular site for hatsumōdë, with around three million visitors in the first three days of the New Year, but most people could not tell you which kami is enshrined there. The essay covers…

Read More Read More

Summer Purification

Summer Purification

Today, June 30th, is the day of “Nagoshi no Ōharai”, a purification ceremony held all over Japan, with roots going back well over a thousand years. On Sunday, Shin’yūsha, an organisation run by Princess Akiko of Mikasa, ran an online seminar on the subject, which I attended, and that reminded me that I should probably blog about it. The origins of this ritual are not quite as clear as they might be. There were annual purifications held at the Imperial…

Read More Read More

Praying for the Economy

Praying for the Economy

Unsurprisingly, the pandemic is still affecting the Shinto world, just like everywhere else, and several articles in Jinja Shinpō are still referring to it. For example, an important annual meeting (of the national association of sōdai) was carried out by sending documents to everyone and having them mail their votes back, and Jinja Honchō is in the process of setting up standards and practices for web meetings, so that they can be incorporated into the organisation’s rules. However, Japan has…

Read More Read More

Instructions for Matsuri

Instructions for Matsuri

A few weeks ago, Jinja Honchō sent me an interesting leaflet. This leaflet is entitled “Omatsuri no Tebiki”, which means, roughly, “Instructions for Matsuri”. It is directed at sōdai. “Sōdai” means, literally, something like “general representatives”, and it refers to the people who support a jinja, in theory on behalf of all the ujiko, the people who live in the area around the jinja. They tend to be older, and that is how they are drawn in the leaflet. This…

Read More Read More

Porcelain Torii

Porcelain Torii

The entrance to nearly all jinja is marked by the traditional torii gate, with the distinctive double lintel. As I have mentioned before, there is no rule for what torii should be made of. Wood is the most traditional material; the most traditional of all is wood with the bark still on. However, stone is also common, as is bronze. Very large torii are often made of steel, and you can get plastic torii, which are very durable, and do…

Read More Read More

Going Online

Going Online

This week’s Jinja Shinpō included a number of articles of interest, including one by me. That one will be the basis of a Patreon essay in a couple of months, so I won’t talk about it here. There was also an article about Jingū starting the distribution of omamori and ofuda again, although they are still not doing formal prayers outside the regular matsuri. However, the articles I want to pick up are about online activities. Two short articles reported…

Read More Read More

The Price of Vestments

The Price of Vestments

Back in May, a company that sells Shinto vestments had an advert in Jinja Shinpō. That is not so unusual; what is less common is that they printed the asking prices for most items. Since these were made public, we can safely assume that they are neither ridiculously high nor implausibly low; while there is bound to be variation depending on the source and the quality, these prices are probably representative. I will give all the prices in yen, as…

Read More Read More

Continuing Adaptation

Continuing Adaptation

As the first wave of COVID-19 comes to an end in Japan, businesses and other activities have started to reopen. The state of emergency has ended across the whole country, but new infections are still being detected, albeit at a fairly low level. This means that there is a lot of caution about restarting things at jinja. Jinja Honchō has gone back to normal working practices, but most jinja still seem to be restricting formal prayers inside the prayer hall,…

Read More Read More

Okayama Peace Museum

Okayama Peace Museum

A few weeks ago, Jinja Shinpō had a full page article about the opening of the Okayama Peace Museum. This facility belongs to Okayamaken Gokoku Jinja: the jinja enshrining the war dead from Okayama prefecture (“ken” in Japanese). The Gokoku Jinja (“Nation-Protecting Jinja”) were, as I have mentioned before, founded before the war to enshrine people who had died fighting for the Tennō, much like local versions of Yasukuni Jinja. They were not really formalised until the 1940s, with some…

Read More Read More

Jinja and COVID-19 Survey

Jinja and COVID-19 Survey

The National Association of Young Priests (for priests under 40, or maybe 45 — “Youngish” might be better) conducted a survey of its members to discover the impact of the pandemic on individual jinja. The survey was conducted from April 24th to 30th, so the results are a bit out of date now, but they had 740 responses with a good coverage of the whole country, so they are probably representative for that period. 75% of the priests reported a…

Read More Read More

%d bloggers like this: