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A Miscellany

Normally, I find a single topic for these blog posts, but the July 17th issue of Jinja Shinpō had a number of small points that I want to mention, and they have no connection to each other. The first is the editorial, which was inspired by the Marine Day national holiday (July 17th), and talked about how the sacred forests at jinja should be preserved to help preserve the oceans, and about the need to reduce plastic waste. The short piece by a journalist on the front page was about… Read More »A Miscellany

Inactive Jinja Policy

Most of the front page of the 10th July issue of Jinja Shinpō was devoted to an article about a meeting on Jinja Honchō’s inactive jinja policy. This is a topic that clearly deserves the front page, both in terms of its immediate importance, and in terms of its long-term significance for Jinja Shinto. Strictly speaking, this is a legal problem, and the meeting was almost entirely concerned with that side of things. An “inactive jinja”, in this sense, is a jinja that is legally registered as a religious corporation,… Read More »Inactive Jinja Policy

Jinja and the State

Every year, the Society of Shintō Studies holds an academic conference at which its members give short papers. I attended a few years ago, but the pandemic and work commitments mean that I have only been once. I really should try to get there this year. In any case, summaries of the papers are published in the Journal of Shintō Studies a year or so later — in this case, in issue 269. These are very short papers (only a couple of printed pages), but they are a bit more… Read More »Jinja and the State


“Otaue” is the name for Shinto ceremonies that mark the planting of rice seedlings in wet rice fields. In Japan, rice is normally sown in one place, and then replanted out into the wet rice fields around June, when it has grown a bit. “O-ta-ue” means “honourable-rice field-planting”, so the naming is quite straightforward. These ceremonies play an important role in the cycle of Shinto matsuri concerned with rice agriculture, and quite a lot of jinja maintain them today, despite the decline in the importance of agriculture as a field… Read More »Otaue

Ukrainian-Born Priestess

The 3rd July issue of Jinja Shinpō includes a short article about a meeting of ujiko and sōdai in a region of Saitama Prefecture (just to the north of Tokyo). Such reports are a standard feature of Jinja Shinpō, and they are not normally of any interest to the readers of this blog. This one is, because the meeting was addressed by a woman born in Ukraine, on the subject of the Russian invasion. It was sensible to invite her because she is a priest at one of the jinja… Read More »Ukrainian-Born Priestess

Natsumoude at Asakusa Jinja

On Wednesday, I spent the day volunteering to help out with Natsumoude at Asakusa Jinja again. This is an annual event, running from July 1st to July 7th, and it was started at Asakusa Jinja ten years ago. This year, Asakusa Jinja is aware of 429 jinja and 22 Buddhist temples that are participating. It is growing, and likely to continue to do so. My duties were defined as in previous years: standing in the main information tent, selling tanzaku on which to write Tanabata wishes, and answering queries. There… Read More »Natsumoude at Asakusa Jinja

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