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Kazakhstan Congress

Last week, I was at the meeting of the Secretariat of the Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions, in Astana, Kazakhstan, as half of Jinja Honchō’s delegation. As it turned out, I had a lot less to do than last year. First, our Liaison Officer used to work at the Kazakhstan Embassy in Tokyo, so we already knew him, and he speaks good Japanese. That meant I did not need to interpret between him and Revd Mitsui. And then it turned out that they were providing simultaneous Japanese… Read More »Kazakhstan Congress

Forests at Jingū

I have mentioned before that the magazine The Imperial Family also carries articles about jinja that are not directly connected to the Imperial family. The Summer 2023 issue had such an article, about the forests at Jingū. As readers of this blog are probably at least vaguely aware, Jingū rebuilds all the main sanctuaries once every twenty years, and moves the kami from the old to the new, in the Sengū. The old sanctuaries are then disassembled, and sent to jinja around the country that need new ones. However, even… Read More »Forests at Jingū

Arrow-Seizing Ceremony

The September 25th issue of Jinja Shinpō included an article about an annual purification ceremony held at Kamo Mioya Jinja (also known as Shimogamo Jinja) in Kyoto, an ancient and important jinja that enshrines the mother and grandfather of the kami of Kamo Wakëikazuchi Jinja — “Mioya” means “honourable parent”. This ceremony is held on the day before the calendrical first day of autumn, which this year was August 7th. (The calendrical seasons are based on the solar calendar, but they are way off. The theory I have heard is… Read More »Arrow-Seizing Ceremony

The Importance of Time

Last weekend, I went to Kinkazan Koganëyama Jinja in Miyagi Prefecture, as I have done every year since 2013. I was welcomed the first time I went, because I had made a significant effort to get there despite continuing disruption to public transport after the earthquake. However, after ten years, the relationship is quite different, in part because we all know what to expect of each other. These visits bring home to me the importance of time in building relationships in Japan, and possibly particularly in Shinto. If you are… Read More »The Importance of Time

Kami? Manga

I am reading an interesting manga at the moment, Ōten no Mon (応天の門), by Haibara Yak (灰原薬). It seems that the series is still ongoing, and I am up to volume 15 of the collected version. There does not appear to be a proper English translation, which is a shame — I think it would translate quite well, although there are a few points that would not have the same impact for an audience with no familiarity with Japanese history. It is set in early Heian Period Japan (mid to… Read More »Kami? Manga

Ashizu Uzuhiko on State and Religion

Ashizu Uzuhiko is almost certainly the most important twentieth-century Shinto thinker. His influence on Jinja Honchō, and thus on the framework within which the overwhelming majority of Shinto jinja operate, was profound. I have written about him before, but Jinja Shinpō has just run a series of three articles (in the September 4th, 11th, and 18th issues) about his view on the separation of state and religion, so I am writing about him again. The author of the articles, Prof. Fujita, is at Kokugakuin University, but in the Health and… Read More »Ashizu Uzuhiko on State and Religion

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