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The Practicalities of Receiving Offerings

The survey of priests’ experiences of hatsumōdë that I discussed last time also covered a couple of issues related to money: the service charge on depositing coins, and cashless payments. These are both serious issues for jinja, and both become more pressing around hatsumōdë. The new bank charges for depositing coins have had a large impact. A number of jinja reported finding a lot of small-denomination coins in the offering boxes this year, and reasonably concluded that people had decided that, rather than depositing them and paying the charges, they… Read More »The Practicalities of Receiving Offerings

Hatsumōdë Survey 2023

I mentioned in my earlier post that Jinja Shinpō was gathering more information about this year’s hatsumōdë. That information was published in the February 13th issue. The newspaper asked the priests who are affiliated with it as local reporters about their hatsumōdë experiences, and they received responses from 373 people across the whole of Japan. This is not a randomly selected representative sample, but it does cover a wide geographical area and many types of jinja, so it is the best data we are likely to get. The first thing… Read More »Hatsumōdë Survey 2023

New Book: Shinto on Ethics and Death

I have released a new book on Amazon collecting two of my Patreon essays: Shinto on Ethics and Death. These essays have been available separately on Gumroad for some time (Ethics and Death), and will remain available there. These essays cover topics that are often considered to be central to “religion”, but which are not at all central to Shinto. Indeed, for much of its history Shinto avoided having anything to do with death, and it has never been entirely clear on what, if anything, it thinks happens to you… Read More »New Book: Shinto on Ethics and Death

Some-Kami-Or-Other Jinja

Recently, I’ve been reading a book about Yahiko Jinja, a very important jinja in Niigata Prefecture. (彌彦神社、学生者、2003) I may well write an essay about the jinja for my Patreon, in part because I have already visited it, but in this blog post I just want to talk about one of the massha — subsidiary jinja for kami that do not have a close association with the main kami. This jinja is called “Bō Jinja (某神社)”. “Bō” means “some-or-other”, and is used to refer indefinitely to someone or something. (Strictly speaking,… Read More »Some-Kami-Or-Other Jinja

Avian Fortune-Telling

The February 6th issue of Jinja Shinpō carried a tantalising article about a study group held in Hiroshima Prefecture. This group had several presentations on Shinto ceremonies that involved making offerings to karasu, the corvids native to Japan. (On looking this up, it seems that the term normally refers to two species, one of which is the carrion crow, and the other the jungle crow. The former is found in Europe, the latter is not.) There were two kinds of ceremony reported. The first are conducted at jinja, and involve… Read More »Avian Fortune-Telling

Visiting a Shinto Jinja: Attitude and Etiquette

Jinja Honchō has recently published three new videos on the etiquette for visiting a jinja. They aren’t really three videos, though, because the two short ones are just extracts from the full-length one. I will link to the full one first; it’s about four minutes long. As you can see, it not only has English on-screen captions, but it has an English narration. I did the English adaptation, but Jinja Honchō hired a professional to do the voice-over. She was really good; we had to do one retake because she… Read More »Visiting a Shinto Jinja: Attitude and Etiquette

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