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digital world

Coins and Cards

A couple of issues that I have mentioned previously also came up in the free responses to the hatsumōdë survey, both connected to practical issues around offerings. The first is the service charge for depositing coins. Most jinja seem to have failed to find a way around that. Some are simply giving one yen coins (which cost more than one yen to deposit in a bank account) to UNICEF, while others have managed to make arrangements with local shops that cope most of the year, but cannot handle the vast… Read More »Coins and Cards

Crowdfunding Trees

I have mentioned the use of crowdfunding in the Shinto community before, and in this post I am going to introduce one that is currently active. This is organised by Daini no Furusato Sōsei Kyōkai (Second Hometown Creation Group, although the official English translation is apparently “The Japanese Festival and Forest Association”), an organisation I have done quite a bit with — they organise the volunteers for Natsumoude at Asakusa Jinja, which I have done several times. This crowdfunding is for replanting the sacred forest at a jinja in Iwatë… Read More »Crowdfunding Trees

Digital Okayama

The February 5th issue of Jinja Shinpō included an article by a senior staff member of Okayama Prefectural Jinjachō, about their digital transition. This transition seems to have been driven by the head of the Jinjachō, which is probably how the first examples had to happen. There seem to be two main elements to this transition. First, they have stopped requiring inkan stamps (the name stamps that used to be needed on everything back when I first came to Japan, eeee, those were the good old days, where’re my glasses,… Read More »Digital Okayama

AI Norito

Jinja Shinpō has an irregular series of short opinion pieces by journalists working on the paper, printed on the first page. (In weeks when they do not have one, they print a short explanation of why they appear to be spelling so many words wrong — they use the pre-war conventions for kana choice, although they do use hiragana rather than katakana.) The 19th June issue had one, about changes in society. It started by discussing the problems that the law was having keeping up with generative AI, particularly the… Read More »AI Norito

The Practicalities of Receiving Offerings

The survey of priests’ experiences of hatsumōdë that I discussed last time also covered a couple of issues related to money: the service charge on depositing coins, and cashless payments. These are both serious issues for jinja, and both become more pressing around hatsumōdë. The new bank charges for depositing coins have had a large impact. A number of jinja reported finding a lot of small-denomination coins in the offering boxes this year, and reasonably concluded that people had decided that, rather than depositing them and paying the charges, they… Read More »The Practicalities of Receiving Offerings

Cashless Systems

The December 12th issue of Jinja Shinpō had an interesting front-page article about cashless payment systems and the implications for jinja. It turns out that introducing such facilities at jinja is not at all straightforward. First, there are four different types of cashless payment in Japan, and they are covered by different laws. These are pre-paid systems, funds transfer systems, direct bank payment systems, and credit systems. The law for pre-paid systems does not allow them to be used for charitable donations, as they must be used to pay for… Read More »Cashless Systems