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Studying Female Priests

The 31st July issue of Jinja Shinpō contained a long article on a study meeting of the national association of female priests, the first one held in person since before the pandemic. The main speaker was Dana Mirsalis, an assistant professor at Pacific University who studies female priests in contemporary Shinto. Her talk covered three topics — menstruation and blood kegarë, external matsuri, and physical labour — and was followed by a discussion session in which the attendees picked up on those questions. On menstruation, Prof. Mirsalis observed that the… Read More »Studying Female Priests

Jinja and Temples

The 31st July issue of Jinja Shinpō had quite a lot of interesting articles, and I will write about several of them over the next few posts. (The jinja notices are not individually interesting — which makes them collectively interesting.) One of these articles was a long one about inactive jinja, and the efforts in Saga Prefecture, in Kyūshū, to deal with the problem. The journalist visited several “inactive jinja” with people from the Jinjachō, and the article includes photographs. Some of the jinja look the part: almost lost among… Read More »Jinja and Temples

Jinja Notices

The 31st July issue of Jinja Shinpō is the special summer issue. This is a large issue, double the normal size, most of which (literally: five whole pages, and about 40% of each of the other seven) is taken up with simple paid notices including the name of a jinja or other Shinto-associated group, almost always the name of the chief priest or head, and sometimes contact information. These notices come in a range of sizes, depending on how much you want to pay, and are arranged, broadly speaking, in… Read More »Jinja Notices

Mountains in Mahoroba

Mahoroba is an annual magazine produced by the Edification Center of Jinja Honchō. This is the bit I work for, but as the magazine is in Japanese and aimed at Japanese people, I have nothing to do with it — at least so far. This year’s issue does include links to the English “how to visit a jinja” videos that I prepared the scripts for, but that’s as strong as my connection gets. I want to write about this year’s issue because it focused on mountain spirituality, with a couple… Read More »Mountains in Mahoroba


The question of how jinja should respond to the changes in society driven by the information revolution is important, and there were several presentation reports in the Journal of Shintō Studies that took up aspects of that theme. One, by Liu Simon (I’m guessing he has non-Japanese roots) was on crowdfunding: “The Possibilities and Significance of Using Crowdfunding by Shrines: The Cases of Tenmangū in Osaka and Kunōzan Tōshōgū”. Mr Liu (he was a graduate student) did a survey of the main Japanese crowdfunding sites in 2020, and found only… Read More »Crowdfunding

Ujiko Booklet

Last October, Jinja Honchō published a booklet for ujiko. Unlike the booklet about kamidana, which I introduced a while ago, this one has a very simple design, and is almost entirely unillustrated. I think the target audience is people who already have a strong link to a particular jinja, but who want some more guidance on what they should be doing. That is, it is mainly for people who already think of themselves as ujiko, but who need to know more about what that involves. Once again, the choice of… Read More »Ujiko Booklet

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