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Jinja and Temples

The 31st July issue of Jinja Shinpō had quite a lot of interesting articles, and I will write about several of them over the next few posts. (The jinja notices are not individually interesting — which makes them collectively interesting.) One of these articles was a long one about inactive jinja, and the efforts in Saga Prefecture, in Kyūshū, to deal with the problem. The journalist visited several “inactive jinja” with people from the Jinjachō, and the article includes photographs. Some of the jinja look the part: almost lost among… Read More »Jinja and Temples

Jinja Notices

The 31st July issue of Jinja Shinpō is the special summer issue. This is a large issue, double the normal size, most of which (literally: five whole pages, and about 40% of each of the other seven) is taken up with simple paid notices including the name of a jinja or other Shinto-associated group, almost always the name of the chief priest or head, and sometimes contact information. These notices come in a range of sizes, depending on how much you want to pay, and are arranged, broadly speaking, in… Read More »Jinja Notices

Mountains in Mahoroba

Mahoroba is an annual magazine produced by the Edification Center of Jinja Honchō. This is the bit I work for, but as the magazine is in Japanese and aimed at Japanese people, I have nothing to do with it — at least so far. This year’s issue does include links to the English “how to visit a jinja” videos that I prepared the scripts for, but that’s as strong as my connection gets. I want to write about this year’s issue because it focused on mountain spirituality, with a couple… Read More »Mountains in Mahoroba


The question of how jinja should respond to the changes in society driven by the information revolution is important, and there were several presentation reports in the Journal of Shintō Studies that took up aspects of that theme. One, by Liu Simon (I’m guessing he has non-Japanese roots) was on crowdfunding: “The Possibilities and Significance of Using Crowdfunding by Shrines: The Cases of Tenmangū in Osaka and Kunōzan Tōshōgū”. Mr Liu (he was a graduate student) did a survey of the main Japanese crowdfunding sites in 2020, and found only… Read More »Crowdfunding

Ujiko Booklet

Last October, Jinja Honchō published a booklet for ujiko. Unlike the booklet about kamidana, which I introduced a while ago, this one has a very simple design, and is almost entirely unillustrated. I think the target audience is people who already have a strong link to a particular jinja, but who want some more guidance on what they should be doing. That is, it is mainly for people who already think of themselves as ujiko, but who need to know more about what that involves. Once again, the choice of… Read More »Ujiko Booklet

Return of the Sacred

Another of the presentation reports in the Journal of Shintō Studies was entitled “The Transformation of the Tateyama Cult and the Resacralization of Cultural Heritage”, by Saeki Yoshifumi. Tateyama is a sacred mountain in Toyama Prefecture, and is one of the most important such mountains in Japan. Before the separation of Shinto and Buddhism at the Meiji Revolution, it was an important centre of syncretic mountain religion, and there were several villages that were dominated by families who made their livings by hosting pilgrims who had come to the mountain.… Read More »Return of the Sacred

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