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Jinja and COVID-19 Survey

The National Association of Young Priests (for priests under 40, or maybe 45 — “Youngish” might be better) conducted a survey of its members to discover the impact of the pandemic on individual jinja. The survey was conducted from April 24th to 30th, so the results are a bit out of date now, but they had 740 responses with a good coverage of the whole country, so they are probably representative for that period. 75% of the priests reported a reduction in the number of personal matsuri being requested. For… Read More »Jinja and COVID-19 Survey

New Omamori and Matsuri

A few weeks ago, Jinja Shinpō had a short article about some unique omamori that a chief priest had made for his jinja. The jinja is Takuhirëshi Jinja, in Toyama Prefecture (on the Japan Sea side of central Japan). The jinja’s precincts border on a river, the Shinzū River, which is famous for ayu (sweetfish) fishing, and the chief priest himself is a keen angler, so the new omamori were inspired by this. They are modelled on the nets that anglers use to keep fish that they have caught before… Read More »New Omamori and Matsuri


Jinja Shinpō continues to report the impact of COVID-19 on the Shinto world. The latest issue reports that Jingū had closed down all kagura (sacred dance — personal prayers to the kami at Jingū), and the opportunity to pay one’s respects within the outermost fences. Other jinja were holding festivals with fewer people, or with people sitting outside rather than in the prayer hall. One priest wrote an article about the importance of purification in this time (wash your hands!). However, the article I want to write about concerned Amabië.… Read More »Amabië

Matsuri for the Dead

A few weeks ago, Jinja Shinpō had a full-page special about a jinja that has recently built a new jinja office. This sort of article is fairly common, because it is an important event for the jinja in question, and positive news to share with the Shinto community as a whole. The jinja in question is in Tokyo, which probably explains how they can afford to do it, and the new building does look nice, and very useful for matsuri preparation: it has a kitchen for preparing offerings, for example,… Read More »Matsuri for the Dead

An Absence of Worshippers

COVID-19 continues to have an effect on jinja and other Shinto organisations, and some of those effects have been reported in Jinja Shinpō. One that was on the front page last week was the fact that Jinja Honchō had to hold its directors’ meeting by sending paperwork to all the directors, rather than having them all meet in one place. That seems to have worked, although at least one of the directors said that they should look into setting up online meetings. I tend to agree that that would be… Read More »An Absence of Worshippers

Updating Matsuri

Jinja Honchō has specific projects to help jinja in rural areas of Japan, where the population is declining and all the young people are moving away. These projects encourage those jinja to build on their existing matsuri and events to revitalise the area, and get more people visiting the jinja. A recent issue of Jinja Shinpō reported on some of these efforts, including one at a jinja, Shirasawa Jinja, in Iwatë Prefecture, in northeastern Japan. This jinja had a traditional event, called the “Otameshi Shinji”, which was held every year… Read More »Updating Matsuri

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