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Venerating Mountains

The 21st February issue of Jinja Shinpō contained an article in the series about sacred forests. However, it did not have much to do with sacred forests, at least not directly — it was about the place of mountains in traditional Shinto belief. (It is true that most of those mountains have forests on them.) The article took a particular matsuri, a “mountain praising” matsuri, as its starting point. This matsuri is held at Shikaumi Jinja, or “Shika Sea Jinja”, which is on Shika-no-Shima, an island just off the coast… Read More »Venerating Mountains

Jingū Taima Video

Toyama Prefectural Jinjachō created a short TV advert last year to encourage people to get Jingū Taima, and it was shown a couple of dozen times on television within Toyama prefecture. It’s only fifteen seconds long. Jingū Taima are the ofuda from the Naiku at Jingū, in Isë, which enshrines Amaterasu Ōmikami. The Shinto establishment believes that every household in Japan should have one, and has been running campaigns to achieve that constantly for as long as I have been involved in Shinto, and for some time before. Alas for… Read More »Jingū Taima Video

A Review of Shinto: A History

I have just finished reading Shinto: A History by Helen Hardacre. (Affiliate link) It is the best history of Shinto available in English at the moment, and while that is not exactly a crowded field, it is head-and-shoulders above the competition. I would expect this to remain the standard one-volume history of Shinto in English for a good few years yet, because there would need to be significant changes in the general view of the topic to make it worth anyone’s while to produce a competing volume. I certainly don’t… Read More »A Review of Shinto: A History

Haraë and Misogi Video

Jinja Shinpō introduced another video created by a group of Shinto priests in Tokyo, in the February 28th issue. This video was created by priests in rural Tokyo, and includes both a recitation of the haraëkotoba (the standard purification prayer) and video of misogi, purification in water. Note that “rural Tokyo” is a thing, as you can see in the video. The prefecture extends up into the mountains, and there is no city within it called Tokyo, so there are no grounds for saying that this is “not really Tokyo”.… Read More »Haraë and Misogi Video

Myths of Okinagatarashihimë

I have made two more of my essays from my Patreon available for purchase on Amazon: Myths of Okinagatarashihimë. (Affiliate link) Okinagatarashihimë, also known as Jingū Kōgō, is an important figure in the early myths of Japan. The wife of a Tennō (emperor), she was possessed by the kami and delivered an oracle saying that her husband should conquer the Korean peninsula. He ignored this and died, so she took his place, leading the conquest while pregnant with her son, the next Tennō. After returning to Japan, she ruled on… Read More »Myths of Okinagatarashihimë

2022 Snake

As I have described in my book, my ujigami jinja, Shirahata Hachiman Daijin, has a special matsuri on the first day of the rabbit in March, and as part of this matsuri a straw snake is hung on the torii, where a shimënawa would normally go. This year’s snake went up a couple of weeks ago. Click on the images for larger versions. This matsuri is technically run by a “kō”, a group of people with a special devotion to a particular kami or jinja, rather than by the jinja… Read More »2022 Snake

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