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The 2024 Noto Earthquake 5

As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, the March 4th issue of Jinja Shinpō included an article on the damage in Toyama Prefecture. This article was a solid page of text listing jinja, again by chief priest, and the damage to each jinja. Even so, it didn’t cover the whole of the prefecture — two areas were held over for a later issue. A comparison between this article and the corresponding article for Ishikawa Prefecture makes the difference in impact starkly apparent. The Ishikawa article included a number of… Read More »The 2024 Noto Earthquake 5

Approaches to Depopulation

The February 26th issue of Jinja Shinpō devoted over a page, including most of the front page, to a study group meeting held on February 6th and 7th. Representatives from jinja that have been selected to lead Jinja Honchō’s efforts to deal with depopulation attended and discussed their situation and the efforts they were making to address it. I want to pick up a few points from the articles; one of the strong impressions it gives is that a lot of different approaches are being tried in different areas. The… Read More »Approaches to Depopulation

Word Choice

The February 19th issue of Jinja Shinpō devoted most of the front and back pages to events celebrating National Foundation Day, February 11th. This is the solar calendar date of the mythical accession of Jinmu Tennō on the first day of lunisolar 660 BC. I have been closely involved in one of the events for several years — the central event to celebrate the day, held at Meiji Jingū by a group that is technically different from Jinja Honchō, but run out of their offices. As I know, after translating… Read More »Word Choice

Tsurugaoka Hachimangū

Recently, there have been news reports that Tsurugaoka Hachimangū is leaving Jinja Honchō. Last time I was at Jinja Honchō, I was able to confirm that Tsurugaoka Hachimangū has started the necessary procedures, but the paperwork takes time, so it has not left yet, and could, in theory, still call the whole thing off. That seems unlikely, however, so I want to talk about what this means. Tsurugaoka Hachimangū is in Kamakura, in Kanagawa Prefecture. It is probably the third most important Hachiman Jinja in Japan, behind Usa Jingū in… Read More »Tsurugaoka Hachimangū

The 2024 Noto Earthquake 4

The February 19th issue of Jinja Shinpō devoted a whole page to a list of jinja damaged by the earthquake on January 1st. For most of them, there is also a summary of the damage. I did read it all, but I’m not going to go through it one jinja at a time. I think that might be a struggle even for this interested audience. There are a few points I want to pick up, however. First, the reports are grouped by chief priest, presumably because the chief priest provided… Read More »The 2024 Noto Earthquake 4

Shirahata-san Snake 2024

At the beginning of the month, on the day of the Hatsu-u Sai (“First Rabbit Festival”, held on the first day of the rabbit in March), Shirahata Hachiman Daijin, my local jinja, put up a new straw snake on the torii at the top of the steps to the jinja. This year, I arrived at the jinja while they were putting the snake on the torii, so I was able to take photographs. Fortunately, everyone was concentrating on the snake, and had their backs to me, so I can put… Read More »Shirahata-san Snake 2024