The Guise of Shinto in Contemporary Japan
Publication Year: 2000
Published by: University of Hawai'i Press
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This work would not have been possible without the assistance of others. My heartfelt gratitude goes to Mr. Makoto Abe, the former head priest of Kamigamo Shrine, whose permission and tolerance permitted this study. I would also like to thank the current head priest, Mr. Mitsuyoshi Takeuchi, as well as senior priest Mr. Yasumasa Fujiki for their time and ...
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As is the custom in books employing Japanese terms and names, I will indicate Japanese terms by italicizing them except when they are used as proper nouns or have become common in English contexts. Japanese names appear with the family name followed by the given name. “Shinto” appears without the macron over the final “o” when used by itself in the ...
Chapter One: Opening Orientations
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In 1970 scientists and administrators of Japan’s Space Development Agency were ready to launch the country’s first satellite. Under great pressure to succeed and thus further demonstrate to the world Japan’s continuing postwar recovery, they carried out their plans meticulously. Then they took one final precaution. Shortly before the launch, senior representatives ...
Chapter Two: Freedom of Expression: The Very Modern Practice of Visiting a Shinto Shrine
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Why do people come to visit Kamigamo Shrine? Is it the allure of history and the chance to walk and worship where emperors and shoguns have passed? Is it the respite from urban pressures the shrine offers with its leafy canopies, winding paths, and murmuring brooks, framing buildings listed as “important cultural treasures”? Or are there powerfully personal ...
Chapter Three: Toward an Ideology of Sacred Place
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In the sensuous rush of visual, audible, and tactile stimuli transmitted during a visit to a shrine or through one of its rituals, often overlooked is the medium that permits their expression: the nature of the place itself. The previous chapter described the various activities enabled through the medium of a shrine in contemporary Japan. This chapter takes a closer look ...
Chapter Four: Kamo Memories and Histories
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Tradition—custom—history. These are fighting words to people in many parts of the world where battles rage over the legitimacy of institutions, social practices, and the control of territory or resources. In postwar Japan, the fight has thus far been waged largely with images, words, and symbols instead of bullets and invasions, yet the persistence ...
Chapter Five: Warden Virtuoso Salaryman = Priest: The Roles of Religious Specialists in Institutional Perspective
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At age forty-seven, Ishida Haruo is at the point of no return.1 A Shinto priest for seventeen years, he knows at this stage there will be no career change, no drastic improvement in his lifestyle, and certainly no promotion to head or even associate head priest. And yet, when listening to him discuss his work and career, one does not hear complaints. “When I come ...
Chapter Six: Performing Ritual
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Readers might find it odd that I have deferred until now discussion of a shrine and its priests’ ostensible raison d’être: those ritual events and performances said to embody the heritage, hierarchies, and myths of its primary kami. Since Japanese festivals are known the world over for their dynamism and pageantry (not to mention the expenditures lavished on ...
Chapter Seven: Kamigamo's Yearly Ritual Cycle
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The following overview covers some of the thirty-eight rituals listed in the nenjūgyōji, the official listing published by Kamigamo Shrine. According to some interpretations, only those events celebrated “for centuries” should qualify as nenjūgyōji rituals. A criterion like this would problematize considerably the selection of rituals owing to the vast reoganization ...
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The last thing a conclusion should do is to presume to have the final word. While summarizing and restating may be important, I have often gained greater insight when challenged, provoked, and enticed into areas extending beyond the scope of the work at hand. Like a stone thrown into the bounded pool of water of a book’s contents, a conclusion should ripple ...
Appendix I: Symbols, Pavilions, and Signs at Kamigamo Shrine
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Appendix II: Kamo-Affiliated Shrines in Japan
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Select Character Glossary
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Publication Year: 2000