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The Shōgun and Amaterasu Ōmikami

A few weeks ago, I received issue 270/271 of the Journal of Shintō Studies, and I want to pick up on some points from the articles in it for this blog. This issue isn’t themed, so there is quite a range across the five articles, and all of them have something that I think might be interesting to my readers. The first thing I want to pick up is from “The Tokugawa Shogunate and Amaterasu Ōmikami: The Period of Shōgun Iemitsu”, by Tanido Yūki. The article is a bit more… Read More »The Shōgun and Amaterasu Ōmikami

Silk for Amaterasu Ōmikami

The autumn issue of The Imperial Family included an article on the preparation of silk for a matsuri held at Jingū twice a year, the Kanmisosai. “Kan” is another reading of the “kami” kanji, “miso” means “clothing” here (I haven’t come across this reading anywhere else, although the kanji are standard), and “sai” is matsuri. This matsuri is very unusual at Jingū in that it is only held at the two jinja enshrining Amaterasu Ōmikami: the Goshōgū (main sanctuary) of the Inner Sanctuary, which enshrines her nigimitama, and Aramatsuri no… Read More »Silk for Amaterasu Ōmikami

Jingū Taima Promotion

The November 27th issue of Jinja Shinpō includes an article about an event held at a shopping mall in Saitama Prefecture to promote Jingū Taima. This was part of the prefectural Jinjachō’s general efforts to increase the uptake of Jingū Taima, and ran for six days at a mall that is popular with families with parents in their thirties and forties. On weekdays, there was a display about Jingū, Jingū Taima, and their connections to Saitama, along with an opportunity to identify your local jinja, while at the weekend they… Read More »Jingū Taima Promotion


I have written before on this blog about hemp. Hemp is historically important in Shinto ritual, being used in traditional offerings and purifications, and it is also the plant that produces cannabis. This has caused problems, because Japan’s anti-drug, and anti-cannabis, laws are really strict. They are so strict that, until very recently, it was essentially impossible to get new permission to grow hemp with no psychoactive content. There were a few growers who had been grandfathered in, but they were not finding successors, and sometimes were being strangled by… Read More »Hemp


I recently received the latest issue of the Journal of Shintō Studies (April 2022), which contains several interesting articles. This post, however, is inspired by something mentioned in passing in one of them. The article itself is about the function and origin of tamagushi, and I have already written about that research, because a summary of an earlier stage was published a year or so ago. The bit I want to pick up concerns “tasuki”. This is the Japanese for a sash: a loop of cloth worn over one shoulder… Read More »Tasuki

Gravel from Jingū

Every issue of Jinja Shinpō includes a short column written by someone at Jingū, and the December 12th instalment was about the gravel on the paths. Look, they have to produce one of these every week. Cut them some slack. Actually, it did have a very interesting part. Gravel gets caught in the tread of shoes, or even gets inside the shoe itself. That’s just the nature of the stuff. It means that people often take some of the gravel home with them, without even noticing. The interesting part is… Read More »Gravel from Jingū