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Matsuri for COVID-19

As COVID-19 continues to spread around the world, Jinja Honchō and jinja in Japan are responding. Jinja have closed their museums, had staff wear face masks, and put restrictions on activities. For example, Ōkunitama Jinja in Tokyo is, for the moment, not writing goshuin directly into people’s goshuin books, but rather handing out pieces of paper with the goshuin already on. This is, presumably, to avoid the risk of infection from the book, and also to discourage people from coming to get a goshuin if they can delay it a… Read More »Matsuri for COVID-19

Jinja Honchō and Covid-19

This is a quick follow-up to my last post, because I have now read about Jinja Honchō’s official response to covid-19. This is broadly along the lines of the editorial in Jinja Shinpō, which is not surprising, as those editorials are written by people who are influential in the Shinto world, and thus tend to share opinions with the people making decisions at Jinja Honchō. (They are not, however, the same, and do occasionally disagree.) Most of the advice is the sensible standards — clean and disinfect, follow the procedures… Read More »Jinja Honchō and Covid-19

Jinja and Covid-19

A couple of weeks ago, Jinja Shinpō ran an editorial about the way jinja were responding to Covid-19. The first thing mentioned was special matsuri at which priests were praying for a speedy end to the spread of the disease, and the writer noted that such prayers were the first duty of priests. It went on to discuss miko and priests wearing face masks and using hand sanitiser, and explaining this to visitors as not only for their own sake, but also to prevent the spread of infection to others.… Read More »Jinja and Covid-19

Necessary Supplies

Shinto ceremonies need certain sorts of supplies. For example, rice is a central part of all offerings. A jinja that cannot get rice is going to have major problems performing standard matsuri. Fortunately, there is still no problem getting rice in Japan, and it is unlikely to become problematic in the near future. Other supplies are in a much worse situation. For example, sakaki, the evergreen tree whose branches are placed on kamidana beside the ofuda, and used to make the tamagushi that are used in many matsuri, is suffering… Read More »Necessary Supplies

Training Centres

There are a number of ways to train for a Jinja Honchō priest’s license: there are courses at the two Shinto universities (Kokugakuin and Kōgakkan), there are intensive courses held across the country, and there are courses at six training centres. The courses at these training centres normally run for two years, and qualify you for Seikai, the middle rank of Shinto priests, and a sufficient qualification to be the chief priest of an ordinary jinja. However, at most of them you can also take the course for one year,… Read More »Training Centres

Daijōsai Offerings

I have now finished reading the Society of Shinto Studies journal special issue about the Daijōsai, and there were some points that struck me as particularly interesting. For the purposes of this blog post, I am going to assume that my readers know the broad outline of the Daijōsai, and of the debates over its origins and meaning — in short, I am going to assume that you have read my essays on the subject (available from Amazon). If you haven’t, I’m afraid that this might not make a lot… Read More »Daijōsai Offerings

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