I am writing a series of essays on Shinto, supported by people through Patreon. If you pledge to support the Patreon, you get each essay as it is completed, and if you make a higher pledge, you get some input into what the essays are about. Each essay is between five and eight thousand words long, and those I have written so far are as listed below.
- What is Shinto? (October 2016)
- A general introduction to Shinto, available free to anyone who pledges their support.
- Matsuri: The Heart of Shinto Practice (November 2016)
- A description of the central activities at a Shinto jinja.
- Tennō: The Emperor in Shinto (January 2017)
- The role of the Japanese Emperor in Shinto.
- Kegarë and Harae: Pollution and Purification (March 2017)
- The concepts and rituals around purity and impurity in Shinto
- Attitudes to Shinto (April 2017)
- What typical Japanese people think about Shinto, based on a survey carried out by Jinja Honchō.
- Shinto from the Shore (May 2017)
- A bit on my personal view of Shinto, based on a talk I was asked to give, in English, to a Japanese audience.
- Shinto People (July 2017)
- From priests to casual visitors, this essay describes the various types of people associated with jinja. It covers both the very well known but peripheral miko, and the absolutely central but almost completely unknown sōdai, but focuses on priests.
- Kami (August 2017)
- What are kami? They are not “gods”, but that is not very helpful. This essay explains how kami are seen in contemporary Shinto, and introduces four of the most popular: Hachiman Ōkami, Amaterasu Ōmikami, Tenjin-sama, and O-Inari-san.
- A History of Shinto (September 2017)
- A very quick history of Shinto, from its origins to the present day, focusing on the historical elements that are most important in understanding contemporary Shinto.
- Yasukuni Jinja (November 2017)
- A discussion of Yasukuni Jinja, the place where the war dead are enshrined and the most controversial jinja in Japan.
- Shinto in Anime and Manga (January 2018)
- The portrayal of Shinto in anime and, mainly, manga, from realistic depictions of life at a jinja to fantasy stories.
- Norito (February 2018)
- The formal prayers offered as part of every matsuri.
- At A Jinja (March 2018)
- The buildings and other features of a jinja.
- In A Jinja (April 2018)
- Significant items in a jinja, from o-mamori amulets to the goshintai that houses the kami.
- Household Rituals (May 2018)
- The Shinto rituals that are supposed to be performed within private households.
- Shinto Myths (June 2018)
- A general discussion of the role of myths in Shinto, and the main sources for them, together with a description of the creation myths found in the central texts.
- Shinsen (August 2018)
- The food and drink offered to the kami, both the standard offerings found at all jinja, and some examples of special offerings unique to a particular matsuri.
- Shirahata Hachiman Daijin (September 2018)
- My local jinja, and a good example of a “typical” jinja.
If you want to get any of the past essays, apart from the introductory “What is Shinto?” essay, you should pledge to support the Patreon, and increase your pledge by $1 for each essay you want. Then send me a message, through Patreon, telling me which essays you would like. After the increased pledge has been collected, I will send you links to the essays, and you may reduce your pledge again. Because the $5 pledge comes with additional privileges, the appropriate amounts for different numbers of essays are given below.
|Pledge Amount||Number of Additional Essays|
If you have any questions, please contact me, either here or through Patreon. Thank you for your interest!