“What are Kami?”

The July 26th issue of Jinja Shinpō carried a column with the same title as this blog post, written by the chief priest of a jinja in Shikoku. (This is the woman who served as one of the Tennō’s priestesses, and who did not come from a jinja family.) This is interesting in itself, because Jinja Shinpō almost never addresses this kind of issue. I suspect that this was published because, as a personal column, this article is clearly not an official statement from Jinja Shinpōsha (the publishers of Jinja… Read More »“What are Kami?”

Cashless Offerings

Recently, an online group that has a professed aim of helping jinja has caused a problem in the Shinto world, which has raised larger issues. (This was covered in the July 19th and 26th issues of Jinja Shinpō.) The group in question ran a website where people could upload information about jinja, and the goal was to connect jinja in rural areas with people who might want to support them. The group even, it seems, contacted Jinja Honchō about it in advance. The first problem was that anyone could edit… Read More »Cashless Offerings

Shin’yūsha on Kagura

On Sunday, I watched an “online talk session” about kagura (sacred dance) organised by Shin’yūsha. I have mentioned Shin’yūsha before — it is a group that organises sessions about traditional Japanese culture, primarily aimed at children, but with a broader focus now. Before the pandemic, my daughter and I went to quite a few of the sessions, which were practical opportunities to experience some thing, but since the pandemic started they have moved most of the sessions online, and my daughter has become a teenager, and less interested in doing… Read More »Shin’yūsha on Kagura

Expert Committee on the Imperial Succession

When the law was passed to depose the previous Tennō (allow him to abdicate), an appendix was added requiring the government to look, as a matter of urgency, into the problem of the Imperial succession — the problem being that there is only one male member of the Imperial family under the age of fifty, and the law limits succession to men in the male line. The plan was to start looking into this when all the rituals associated with the succession had finished, but they got pushed back a… Read More »Expert Committee on the Imperial Succession

Kami of Asakusa

I have written three posts about the natsumoude events at Asakusa Jinja, but I haven’t said which the kami of the jinja are. Asakusa Jinja enshrines Haji-no-Manakachi-no-Mikoto, Hinokuma-no-Hamanari-no-Mikoto, and Hinokuma-no-Takënari-no-Mikoto. Because it enshrines three kami, it is also known as “Sanja-sama”, which means “Honourable Three Jinja”, and some variant of “Sanja” was its official name for most of its history. It is still the name of the largest matsuri associated with the jinja. You have probably not heard of these kami. This is because they are not, to the best… Read More »Kami of Asakusa

Well-Washing Ceremony

While I was volunteering at Asakusa Jinja’s natsumoude, on July 7th, the jinja held a special ceremony, or “shinji”, to symbolically clean and purify the well in the jinja precincts. This was called the “Ido Arai Shinji”, or “Well-Washing Ceremony”. This was listed in the program for natsumoude, which we were handing out, and was announced several times over the PA system in the jinja, but even so not many people went to see it. (It was at 2pm on a weekday, but there were quite a lot of people… Read More »Well-Washing Ceremony