Browsed by
Tag: Shinto

Jinja Kentei (The Shinto Culture Exam)

Jinja Kentei (The Shinto Culture Exam)

I’ve been occupied with other work for a while (editing Ars Magica, for example), but now I can start this project moving again. This time, I want to address the question of whether I am qualified to write Kannagara, by writing about the Jinja Kentei, or the Shinto Culture Exam. Jinja Kentei was started three years ago, and is run by the Foundation for Promoting Japanese Culture, which is extremely closely associated with Association of Shinto Shrines. (I suspect that…

Read More Read More

Shinto Concerns

Shinto Concerns

Development of Kannagara is on hiatus at the moment, while I try to clear up some projects with deadlines (or, in one case, finish a project that has been underway for more than seven years). To fill in the space, I want to introduce some of the topics that Shinto priests and practitioners are actively concerned with. To do that, I’m going to provide extremely short summaries of all the articles in one issue of Jinja Shinpo. Jinja Shinpo is…

Read More Read More

Shinzo Abe’s Visit to Yasukuni Jinja

Shinzo Abe’s Visit to Yasukuni Jinja

This post is not directly concerned with Kannagara, but it is concerned with a very important aspect of contemporary Shinto — its connection with the ultranationalism and militarism of Japan in the Second World War. This is an aspect that, as least to start with, I plan to avoid in the game, but it is something that anyone interested in Shinto needs to be aware of. You may have gathered from the news that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited…

Read More Read More

Harae

Harae

Harae is normally translated as “purification”, and this is not a bad translation; harae is how one gets rid of kegare. Harae is very closely linked to misogi, which is also a way to get rid of kegare. Indeed, in contemporary Shinto it is not clear that they are really different, and it is not uncommon to see references to “misogiharae” or “haraemisogi”. The main difference is that misogi involves water, and harae does not. When one enters a jinja,…

Read More Read More

Interests of the Kami

Interests of the Kami

The eight powers defined in the previous two posts will determine the number of dice that kami get to keep when intervening in the world in a supernatural way. What, then, determines the number they get to roll? Here, I want to use the interests of the kami. As I said when introducing kami, every kami has her own interests, and is more likely to help in that area. In mechanical terms, this works well as a source for the…

Read More Read More

Kami

Kami

As we saw from Norinaga’s definition, anything awe-inspiring can be a kami. For Kannagara, kami are going to be personal entities with supernatural power, and, in most cases, they will be spirits. This is partly because most kami are thought of this way in Shinto practice, and also because it works well for the game. Mount Fuji as a kami would not be easy to introduce into play, and it is hard to see how you could interact with it,…

Read More Read More

Kannagi

Kannagi

A fundamental problem faced by all “modern world with the supernatural” games is how to account for the fact that there is no clear evidence of the supernatural in a world where it definitely exists. That is, for the game world to look like the modern world, there must be no clear evidence for the supernatural generally available, as that is what the modern world is like. However, the supernatural does exist in the game world, so one would expect…

Read More Read More

Jinja Personnel

Jinja Personnel

One important feature of personae is their relationship to the jinja. Kannagara assumes that all personae have a close relationship with a particular jinja, just as Ars Magica assumes that all characters have a close relationship with a particular covenant, and the stories develop around that jinja. There are several different close relationships that a persona can have to a jinja. The first is to be a shinshoku at the jinja. In this case, “priest” is actually a perfectly good…

Read More Read More

Matsuri

Matsuri

Matsuri are the fundamental activity in Shinto. Indeed, a book recently published as an introductory text for people training for the priesthood is called “Jinja and Matsuri”. In contemporary Shinto, most matsuri are extremely ritualised and solemn, but some involve mobs of people running around the town with a giant wooden penis. There is a standard form, but personae have a great deal of freedom in designing matsuri. Conceptually, a matsuri welcomes a honoured visitor, the kami. The people provide…

Read More Read More

Shinto, The Traditional Religion of Japan

Shinto, The Traditional Religion of Japan

Shinto is the traditional religion of Japan. As is normal with real-world situations, every single word (even “is”, “the”, and “of”) in that sentence is controversial, and potentially misleading, but it is still the best place to start. I believe that Shinto is best thought of as a religion, but that word tends to create an inaccurate image. Shinto does not have a founder. It also does not really have sacred texts; the oldest collections of Shinto legends are eighth…

Read More Read More

%d bloggers like this: