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The Assassination of Abë Shinzō

As most readers of this blog have probably already heard, Abë Shinzō, the former prime minister of Japan, was assassinated on July 8th while giving an election speech in Nara. This was a huge shock to Japan as a whole, and Abë was close to the Shinto world, and so there was a front page article about it in the July 17th Jinja Shinpō. Much of the article was conventional, saying what had happened, and summarising his career. However, it focused on his connection to the Shinto world. In 2001… Read More »The Assassination of Abë Shinzō

Research Group on Contemporary Problems in Shinto Practice

Jinja Honchō has just set up a Research Group on Contemporary Problems in Shinto Practice, or, as I will call it, the Digital Group. The main problems it has been asked to deal with are cashless payments and online connections with jinja. The article in Jinja Shinpō, on July 11th, reports that the first meeting was held on June 29th. The group has six members, four of whom are professors at Kokugakuin University, and it is expected to meet several times before writing a report for Jinja Honchō that will… Read More »Research Group on Contemporary Problems in Shinto Practice

Statements on the President

Another post about Shinto politics today, I’m afraid. The 11 July issue of Jinja Shinpō had a short article reporting the official statements on the current state of the elections for the leadership of Jinja Honchō. The Board of Directors held an emergency meeting on June 23rd, and on July 1st (the first day of the financial year for Jinja Honchō), they sent a statement about it to all the Prefectural Jinjachō. This said that four issues had been decided. First, by a majority vote, they had re-elected Revd Tanaka… Read More »Statements on the President

Hōchō Shiki

Last week, I volunteered at Asakusa Jinja’s Natsumoude event. I did this last year as well, and last year I was able to attend a special matsuri at a well in the jinja precincts. This year, I was able to watch the Hōchō Shiki. This is a ceremony in which a fish is prepared for the kami without the chef touching the fish with his hands even once. Instead, it is manipulated with long chopsticks and the knife. This event was clearly ceremonial — it was held outside the prayer… Read More »Hōchō Shiki

Shinto and LGBT Scandal

I’m afraid this is going to be a long post. One of my patrons asked me about The Shinto Association of Spiritual Leadership (Shintō Seiji Renmei, literally “Shinto Political League”) distributing a pamphlet saying that homosexuality was a mental disorder. This is not entirely wrong, but it is also a bit misleading. So, let us clarify what actually happened. (TL, DR: It was an internal pamphlet reporting an invited talk given by a Christian professor at a study session, not a statement of Shintō Seiji Renmei policy.) Back in early… Read More »Shinto and LGBT Scandal

Kabushima Jinja

I have written about Kabushima Jinja before. It is a jinja on the coast in Aomori Prefecture, in northern Japan, and its sanctuary and prayer hall burned down in a somewhat mysterious fire a few years ago. (I do not know much about it, but the impression I get is that people think it was probably arson, but that there is not enough evidence to be sure of the cause, much less pinpoint a culprit if there was one.) They have since been rebuilt, and this post was prompted by… Read More »Kabushima Jinja

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