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journal of shinto studies

Which Spirits are Consoled?

This will be my final post about the articles in issue 269 of the Journal of Shinto Studies, although the combined issue 270/271 has just arrived, and may contain material of interest. The article I am writing about today is “Disasters, Contagion, and the Consolation of Spirits: What is Needed for Consolation?” by Nomura Makoto. This article is also a summary of a presentation at the annual conference, but unlike most of the others it does not give many details about the argument, so I can only give the overall… Read More »Which Spirits are Consoled?

Shichigosan Across the Generations

It has been a while since I posted about the articles in issue 269 of the Journal of Shinto Studies, but there are still a couple I want to write about, and one of them is about Shichigosan, so this seems like a good time to cover it — November is still the peak of Shichigosan season, even if it has become rather extended. The article, “On Shifts in the Celebration and Meaning of Shichigosan: An Examination from the Perspectives of Grandmother, Mother, and Child” by Taguchi Yūko, has a… Read More »Shichigosan Across the Generations


The question of how jinja should respond to the changes in society driven by the information revolution is important, and there were several presentation reports in the Journal of Shintō Studies that took up aspects of that theme. One, by Liu Simon (I’m guessing he has non-Japanese roots) was on crowdfunding: “The Possibilities and Significance of Using Crowdfunding by Shrines: The Cases of Tenmangū in Osaka and Kunōzan Tōshōgū”. Mr Liu (he was a graduate student) did a survey of the main Japanese crowdfunding sites in 2020, and found only… Read More »Crowdfunding

Return of the Sacred

Another of the presentation reports in the Journal of Shintō Studies was entitled “The Transformation of the Tateyama Cult and the Resacralization of Cultural Heritage”, by Saeki Yoshifumi. Tateyama is a sacred mountain in Toyama Prefecture, and is one of the most important such mountains in Japan. Before the separation of Shinto and Buddhism at the Meiji Revolution, it was an important centre of syncretic mountain religion, and there were several villages that were dominated by families who made their livings by hosting pilgrims who had come to the mountain.… Read More »Return of the Sacred

Jinja and the State

Every year, the Society of Shintō Studies holds an academic conference at which its members give short papers. I attended a few years ago, but the pandemic and work commitments mean that I have only been once. I really should try to get there this year. In any case, summaries of the papers are published in the Journal of Shintō Studies a year or so later — in this case, in issue 269. These are very short papers (only a couple of printed pages), but they are a bit more… Read More »Jinja and the State

City Matsuri

In this post, I would like to talk about another article from Issue 267/268 of the Journal of Shintō Studies, “Urban Festivals as a Local Resource for Social Interconnectivity: Redevelopment of Nihonbashi, Chuo-ku, Tokyo, and the Kanda Festival”, by Akino Jun’ichi. This is pretty much the polar opposite of the last article I wrote about, because it concerns the way in which one of the largest matsuri in Japan, the Kanda Matsuri, has responded to a recent surge in the population of its ujiko, including the arrival of dozens of… Read More »City Matsuri