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New Priests 2024

Every year, Jinja Shinpō publishes a summary of the newly-qualified priests and their employment destinations. This covers the people who train full time for at least a year, and mainly focuses on the Shinto universities of Kokugakuin University in Tokyo and Kōgakkan University in Isë. It does not cover the people who qualify through the short intensive courses, but you can only take those if you already have a post lined up at a jinja, making employment statistics a bit boring. This year’s report was in the April 22nd issue.… Read More »New Priests 2024

The Sale of Ofuda

The May 6th issue of Jinja Shinpō included an article about the sale of ofuda by, er, me. This is the next step of my strategy to make it easier for people overseas to legitimately get hold of ofuda and omamori: convince the Shinto community that there is a problem here that needs to be solved, and that creating practical, legitimate channels through which ofuda can be obtained from outside Japan is the best way to solve it. There are a number of obstacles to establishing such channels, some of… Read More »The Sale of Ofuda

Depopulation

Rural depopulation was, apparently, a topic that a lot of priests mentioned in the survey about hatsumōdë that Jinja Shinpō carried out and reported in the March 18th issue. It is the only subject where they explicitly mention that they do not have space to report all the comments that they received. This obviously is a serious problem, and one that I have mentioned many times before. The comments in the survey bring out two aspects of it. One is the absolutely simple “there are not enough people” problem. One… Read More »Depopulation

Jingū Taima

Jingū Taima (the ofuda from Jingū at Isë) are largely distributed around New Year, and so this was another topic that came up in the survey. Coincidentally, the matsuri at Jingū to mark the end of this year’s distribution was held on March 5th, and was also reported in the March 18th issue of Jinja Shinpō. This article also includes the reports on numbers distributed. This year, 8,038,452 Jingū Taima were distributed, a fall of 43,714 compared to last year. Although the numbers have fallen for fourteen consecutive years, since… Read More »Jingū Taima

Coins and Cards

A couple of issues that I have mentioned previously also came up in the free responses to the hatsumōdë survey, both connected to practical issues around offerings. The first is the service charge for depositing coins. Most jinja seem to have failed to find a way around that. Some are simply giving one yen coins (which cost more than one yen to deposit in a bank account) to UNICEF, while others have managed to make arrangements with local shops that cope most of the year, but cannot handle the vast… Read More »Coins and Cards

Reactions to the Noto Earthquake

The responses to Jinja Shinpō’s survey about hatsumōdë this year also included quite a few references to the 2024 Noto Earthquake — naturally enough, as it happened on January 1st. A couple of local reporters who live in the area did respond. One started by saying that messages of support had started coming from the Shinto community almost immediately after the earthquake, and for that they were very grateful. However, not only had the sanctuaries been destroyed, but so had the surrounding area. With the population shrinking and mostly elderly,… Read More »Reactions to the Noto Earthquake