Nihon Shinto Shi

Nihon Shinto Shi (日本神道史) (affiliate link, but only to Amazon.jp) is a history of Shinto. The first edition was published in 2010, and a new, revised and expanded edition, was published earlier this year. It is, in my opinion, the best single-volume history of Shinto on the market. It is also, unfortunately, only available in Japanese, but some of the readers of this blog might have enough ability in the language to make use of it. It has multiple authors, all associated with Kokugakuin University, which gives it a unified… Read More »Nihon Shinto Shi

Paying Respects

The 30th August issue of Jinja Shinpō had an interesting article on the back page about the impact of the pandemic on people’s habits for paying their respects at jinja. In the past, even at relatively small, local jinja, people were perfectly happy to pay their respects at the same time as people they did not know, lined up across the front of the prayer hall. (We are talking about jinja in fairly urban areas, and mainly about the 1st and 15th of the month, when a number of people… Read More »Paying Respects

Shinto and the Environment

Shinto is often seen as a nature-worshipping religion, and this perception has quite a bit of truth to it. After all, jinja are all supposed to have sacred forests, and some natural features are revered as kami. However, this does not mean that Shinto has traditionally been environmentally conscious in the modern sense. Aike Rots has written a very interesting book about the growth of the idea of Shinto as an environmental religion, Shinto, Nature and Ideology in Contemporary Japan: Making Sacred Forests (affiliate link!), and it is certainly true… Read More »Shinto and the Environment

Olympic Prayers

The August 23rd issue of Jinja Shinpō had a short article about prayers for Olympic success at Fujisan Hongū Sengen Taisha. This is the main Sengen Jinja, where Mount Fuji is the goshintai. The jinja has a subsidiary sanctuary on top of Mount Fuji, and actually owns the upper part of the mountain. (A good example of property where the symbolic value greatly outweighs the monetary value.) The article reported on Olympic athletes who had prayed at the jinja for success in the karate competition, and returned to the jinja… Read More »Olympic Prayers

LGBTQ at Jinja

One of my readers asked me about the general Shinto attitude to LGBTQ presence at jinja and participation in matsuri. As I have mentioned before, this is not a hot-button issue in Japan, although the Shinto world tends to the conservative side of things. That meant that I did not immediately know what the answer would be, so I asked a few priests I know. I contacted priests who are in a position to know what the general attitude is, rather than just at their jinja, but there are a… Read More »LGBTQ at Jinja

A Ukrainian Priestess

The YouTube video linked below is an interview with a Ukrainian Shinto priestess, called Tatiana. The video is all in Japanese, and while I looked at the autotranslate English subtitles, they are terrible. Nevertheless, they are, in most cases, better than nothing, if you assume that the really weird bits are translation problems. (Their conversation is entirely reasonable.) Tatiana is a priestess, and licensed by Jinja Honchō. (I happen to know, independently, that this is true.) She may well be the first non-Japanese woman to be licensed as a Shinto… Read More »A Ukrainian Priestess