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Government Support for Matsuri

The front page of the May 20th issue of Jinja Shinpō had an article about government subsidies for matsuri in Ibaraki Prefecture. This is the first example that they are aware of, nationwide, and it is significant because of the legal obstacles to government support for anything that might be described as religious, even when it is also an important part of traditional culture and threatened by social changes. The support has several conditions: The tradition must be passed on within the prefecture, be carried on by local society or… Read More »Government Support for Matsuri

Digital Okayama 2.0

A few months ago, I wrote about an article describing the digital transition of the Okayama Prefectural Jinjachō, and mentioned that they were planning to move to online applications for many things. An article in the May 13th issue of Jinja Shinpō reported on what happened when they did. The online application system was made available on April 1st, and can handle eight kinds of standard application. These are the ones that are handled entirely within the Jinjachō, and so they do not need to receive a paper form with… Read More »Digital Okayama 2.0

Japanese Religiosity

I have mentioned before that Jinja Shinpō includes a number of regular columns. One of these, “Sunlight Through Leaves” (Komorebi), is shared between eight people who do it on a rota over the course of two years, and then all the authors are changed again. The authors change in May, and this year was a change year. One of the new set, Professor Inaba Keishin, studies contemporary Japanese religion, particularly in the context of natural disasters, and I expect that his columns will be particularly interesting to me. (A couple… Read More »Japanese Religiosity

For the Kami

At the 75th Anniversary Meeting of the National Association of Young Shinto Priests, Her Imperial Highness Princess Akiko of Mikasa (hereafter “Princess Akiko”) gave a speech in which she talked about the purpose of jinja. This was reported in the May 6th issue of Jinja Shinpō. Princess Akiko is a minor member of the Imperial Family. She is a great-granddaughter of Taishō Tennō, which means that her father was a cousin of the previous Tennō. Her activities are certainly not reported on the national news, but I have a great… Read More »For the Kami

Jinja and Business

The May 6th issue of Jinja Shinpō reported on the 75th anniversary meeting of the National Young Priests’ Association, at which Her Imperial Highness Princess Akiko of Mikasa gave a speech. The editorial picked up on this event, and the speech, and I, in turn, want to pick up a couple of points — from the editorial today, and from Princess Akiko’s speech next time. One of the things that the Young Priests’ Association does is organise training sessions for young priests across the country. It has done that since… Read More »Jinja and Business

Hikari no Mai

Hikari no Mai is a new sacred dance. Half of the back page of the March 18th issue (yes, this post got significantly delayed) of Jinja Shinpō  was devoted to an article about it, and the article was unsigned, which means that it was produced by core staff. The dance was created at the initiative of the Fukushima Prefecture Young Priests’ Association, which first proposed it in 2016. The idea was to create a dance that could both commemorate people who had died in natural disasters, and pray for the… Read More »Hikari no Mai