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KisokuInstitutions in relation to Shinto developed and changed rapidly after the Meiji period (1868). Today I was looking at the “Jinja Honkyoku” and the “Jinguu Housaikai” and thought I would post my general summary of events.

1870: The Taikyou Senpu movement is started by the government with the 神祇鎮祭の詔 and 大教宣布の詔 edicts.

1871: At the Ise Jingu, the Jinguu Shichou was established to manage the shrine.

1872: At the Ise Jingu, a teaching institute (Jinguu Kyouin) and a proselytising institute (Jinguu Kyokai) were established to teach about doctrine and manage confraternities.

1873: The Taikyouin teaching institute is established to organize the teaching of a “national doctrine”. Also, the Jinguu Shichou was put under the jurisdiction of the Home Ministry, while the confraternities devoted to Ise Jingu were regularized and called “Kamikaze-kousha”. Cf. p33 井上, 順孝 『教派神道の形成』 弘文堂、1991年. Hilo Daijingu in Hawaii would have four of these societies.

1875: The Taikyouin is disbanded when Buddhist pull out their support from the Taikyou Senpu movement. The Shinto Jimukyoku was formed as an umbrella organization for all the various Shinto evangelist. Starting with Kurozumi-kyo in 1876, various groups broke off from the Jimukyoku to form their own Shinto sects.

1882: A Home Ministry order (明治十五年一月二十四日内務省達乙第七号) prohibits Shinto ritualists from being Taikyou evangelists. At Ise Jingu, this meant dividing activities into two organizations. The secular Jinguu Shichou managed ritualists and making Ootaima while the Jinguu Kyouin became a religious Shinto sect in charge of evangelizing and distributing the Ootaima. In various places, the Jinguu Kyouin began giving permission for Yohai-sho, confraternity sites, and provencial doctrine schools to be set up. These eventually became “daijingu” shrines. Also, the teaching branch of the Shintou Jimukyoku broke off to become the secular Kouten Koukyuu-sho (Research Institute of Classics).

1884: The Shintou Jimukyoku changes its name to Shintou Honkyoku, and can be considered its own sect rather than an umbrella organization now. Despite this, “honkyoku” implies it still sort of saw itself as universal to all shrines. It seems to have strived to embody the failed efforts of the Saishin Ronsou by enshrining the same kami at its Taikyouin.

1886: Shintou Honkyoku changes its official name to just “Shintou”, but is still refered to as Honkyoku for sake of clarity.

1889: The Jinguu Kyouin was criticized for being a private organization controlling Ootaima as public goods. So the organization was reformed into a non-religious incorporated foundation, the Jinguu Housaikai. Cf. p117 村上, 重良 『天皇制国家と宗教』 講談社〈講談社学術文庫〉、2007年.

1890: The Meiji Constitution was promulgated, which guaranteed freedom of belief.

1895: The Shintou Doushi-kai (神道同志会 Shinto Compatriots Society) was formed, including Jinguu-kyou among its eight Shinto sects.

1898: There was fluidity between Shintou Honkyoku and state shrines. For example, the Honkyoku’s secretary in 1898, Noda Sugamaro (野田菅麿), later became the guji of Ikukunitama Jinja and Atsuta Jinguu, both kanpei taisha shrines.

1899: The Shintou Doushi-kai changed its name to Shintou Enwa-kai (神道懇話会) Shinto Friendship Society) and added the Shintou Honkyoku and some other sects. Also, Hilo Daijingu’s first minister, Rev. Koushi Kakuta, was appointed Reibu by the Jinguu Housaikai and gains permission nto distribute Ootaima.

1902: Hilo Daijingu’s Rev. Jikkou is appointed as Reibu by the Jinguu Housaikai and a year later gains permission to distribute Ootaima and calendars from them.

1910: The Shinto [Honkyoku] Hawaii Bunkyoku was established at Hilo Daijingu.

1912: The Shintou Enwa-kai now included all 13 Shinto sects (Jinguu-kyou had disappeared) and again changed its name to Shintou Kaku-Kyouha Rengou-kai (神道各教派連合会 Individual Shinto Sects Association).

1934: Kaku was dropped from the name and the organization became the Kyouha Shintou Rengou-kai (神道教派連合会 Sect Shinto Association).

1940: The Religious Group Law (宗教団体法) comes into effect. The Shintou Honkyoku changes its name to Shintou Taikyou and is like the religious version of the Taikyou Senpu movement. Despite being legally a religion, it hadn’t really adopted many elements of a “religion” such as a founder and salvation method. Rather it focused on the vaguely religious teachings (規則三條) of the Taikyou Senpu movement, as seen by the adoption of the name “Taikyou”.

Centre of the World

Geography1Many civilizations tend to see themselves as the centre of the world. China, the “middle kingdom” (中国), saw itself as the center of civilization surrounded by barbarians on the edge. Today in the West, the center of the world is still largely seen as Britain/Europe. Japan historically adopted the Chinese idea and saw itself as a barbarian or semi-civilized country on the periphery. But after the Russo-Japanese war, Japan began to advocate that in addition to a Western sphere, there was also an Asian sphere (Greater East Asia), of which Japan and not China was the center. This is a translation of the first chapter of “Elementary Geography Vol. I” (初等科地理上), a Japanese textbook published by the government in 1943, and clearly states the ideology of Japan as the center and leader of the Asian sphere. I also enjoy its geomantric tone.

Chapter 1: A Map of Japan

Take a look at a map of Japan.

First, find the area you live in. Then, notice where that is in relation to the whole of Japan, whether it is north, or west, or in the center and so on. From this you’ve naturally been able to see the general shape of the whole of Japan, right?

Islands big and small extending in a long chain across the Pacific Ocean from the north-east to the south-west form the Japanese archipelago. Look up what islands are the largest in this chain, and which island is the largest among those. The largest island in the archipelago is Honshu, and you’ve probably noticed it is right in the centre of Japan. To the north of Honshu is the main island of Hokkaido, and to the west of Honshu is Kyushu. Then, to the north-east of Hokkaido is the Chishima archipelago, and between Kyushu and Taiwan is the Ryukyu archipelago.

From Chishima in the north, Honshu in the center, and Ryukyu in the south, the islands seem as a taunt bow facing the Pacific Ocean. This shape pulls firm the whole of the Japanese archipelago and gives a feeling of some strength.

No matter how you look at it, the Japanese islands are no mediocre shape. Standing to the fore of the Asian continent, the shape of the islands can be imagined as bravely advancing towards to Pacific Ocean, or thought of as sealing the Pacific and serving to protect the continent.

Next, look at the seas and channels between the Japanese islands and the Asian continent. There is Karafuto, at the border of where the Ohtsuku Sea meets the Sea of Japan. Passing the Mamiya Channel near Siberia and the northern edge of Chishima, then you’ll find the Chishima Channel facing the Kamchatka peninsula.

The Chosen peninsula, between the Sea of Japan and the East China Sea, is connected to Manchuria. Like a bridge directly between our mainland and the continent, since ancient times it has served as an important route tying our country and the continent together. Following, the Chosen Channel south of the penisula has been an especially important connection between our country and the continent. Kanto-shu, facing the Yellow Sea to the West of Chosen is also an entrance to the continent.

Taiwan is located close to China across the Taiwan Channel. This channel is an important route which ships from the South Seas and Europe take to get to our country. Passing this channel into the South China Sea takes you to the New Southern Islands. We must take note of the unusual importance of these seas and islands, along with channels between the larger islands of Japan, to trade and defense.

That our nation is close to the continent and has many connections to it has great significance. As history shows us, our country had a deep connection through trade and culture with the continent, and it has become increasingly convenient for citizens to develop in the various regions of the continent. If our country were located far from the continent as a distant island, we probably would have not developed this deep relationship. This continent of East Asia, with which we have had an ancient affinity, has at last opened before us to a new realm of activity.

Thus then, let us open a map of the expansive Greater East Asia, which Japan at its center. On the outer edge of Japan is the Pacific Ocean, the world’s largest ocean. From the center of Honshu to the south extends the Seven Izu islands and the Ogasawara Islands, continuing on into our distant island chains in the South Seas. These islands are made up of innumerable small islands that are scattered across the West Pacific like sand. These islands may be extremely small, but scattered across the wide ocean as they are, they are unusually important for protecting our nation’s seas.

To the south and west of our South Sea islands with the equator at the center, there are many island groups large and small including Ruson, Mindanao, Borneo, Sumatra, Java, Serebesu, Papua, etc. All these islands are tropical and Borneo and Papua are larger than Japan.

After the Greater East Asia War happened, a majority of these tropical islands along with Malay and Burma on the India-Chinese Peninsula were occupied by our military. Burma is connected to India, so the military’s activity expanded westward to the Indian Ocean and southward to Australia.

To the east of Australia and crossing the expansive Pacific Ocean, there are many scattered islands. While there are some larger islands like New Zealand, most of them are very small, making a path directly from the United States of America to Australia. To the north of the equator is the Hawaiian Islands. As they are nearly in the direct center of the of the Pacific Ocean, their position is ideal for trade and military.

Passing east across the Pacific ocean, the two continents of North America and South America are lined up. They divide the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. The Panama Canal has the very important duty of connecting these two oceans.

We look over a map of various locations around the Pacific with Japan at the center. Excepting the American continent, this makes up the area known today as Greater East Asia. Take note of how vast Greater East Asia is, and how Japan has expanded. Then, look again at the shape of our nation.

From the Age of the Gods, our nation has been fostered by the spirit of the Sea, and closely connected to the continent assimilating all culture. We are in an appropriate location for fulfilling the mission of expanding out to the ocean and continent. The shape of our nation, expanding in all four directions, reveals how we reach out our hands and feet and advance.

We can deeply feel how our peerless country of Japan, blessed with this location–with this shape–is truly the land where the gods were born.

Our nation has an area of about 6,180,000 square kilometers and about one hundred million people live there. Compared to the area of the land, the population is high, and the rapid increase in population is rare among nations. This shows the brimming power of our country and is quite heartening.

Japanese Colours

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I think this is a bit hard to understand for those who haven’t done much travelling outside of their native sphere of civilization, but even the very basics of reality vary depending on one’s upbringing. To give an example, what colours one can perceive depends on where you were raised. In the West, blue and green are considered two different colours but in classical Japan they were seen a merely two shades of the same colour.  Of course with globalization, the various cultures of the world have increasingly come to adopt the “western reality” way of seeing things. All the same, when we study history we must be careful not to anachronistically assume that the ancients lived in the same perceived reality that we do. Here I’ve translated a page from a Japanese elementary school textbook from 1874. Japan was in the process of adopting many Western elements, while maintaining some of its more native traditions, so it is quite an interesting look at the changing conception of colours. While the Western idea of the seven colours of the rainbow (written in kanji as well as katakana English) form the framework of the colour chart, many of the shades retain their names based on the dyes they come from and are classified under shades a bit different from how similar colours are classified in English.

明治7年小学生徒必携 第九色画
Chapter 9: Colour Chart (Teaching College)

Sunlight Colours:
Yellow (黄 Erurou)
Red (赤 Reddo)
Blue (青 Buruyuu)
Orange (樺 Oorenchi)
Green (緑 Guriin)
Purple (紫 Poapuru)
Navy (紺 Inchigoo)

Reds: Madder 茜、Scarlet 緋、Crimson 紅、Cinnabar 朱、Peach-coloured 桃色
Yellows: Nightingale-tea 鶯茶、Tumeric 欝金、Gardenia 山梔子、Egg-coloured 卵色、Canary-coloured カナリヤ色
Blues: Lapis-Lazuli 瑠璃、Indigo 藍、Shallow-yellow 浅黄、Water-coloured 水色、Sky-coloured 空色
Oranges (Birch-coloured): Tea-coloured 茶色、Birch-coloured 樺色、Thin-birch 薄樺、Thin-tea 薄茶、White-tea 白茶
Greens: Fresh-wall 生壁、Sprouting-leek 萌黄、Hide-coloured 革色、Blue-bamboo 青竹、Grass-willlow 草柳
Purples: Deep-purple 濃紫、Purple 紫、Grape-coloured 葡萄色、Dovewing-coloured 鳩羽色、Wisteria-coloured 藤色
Browns (Kite-coloured): Chestnut-coloured 栗色、Kite-coloured 鳶色、Prawn-coloured 海老色、Smoked-bamboo 煤竹、Ash-coloured 灰色

Colour Mixing:
Green + Birch = Nightingale-Tea
Purple + Birch = Prawn
Purple + Green = Fresh-wall
Blue + Red = Purple
Purple + Blue = Navy
Blue + Yellow = Green
Yellow + Red = Birch

Postscript: You can also veiw a wide variety of colours from the traditional Japanese colour pallette at the 和色大辞典.

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A dragon curled around a pillar at Kushibiki Hachimangu shrine

The other day, a friend of mine–a suiboku artist–invited me to veiw a sumie painting of a dragon he is working on. The picture is enormous, with the canvas expanding across the floor, and will eventually become the ceiling of a Buddhist temple in mainland Japan. The showing to which I was invited was a closed event, but my friend was really quite excited about it because while the painting was commissioned for a Buddhist temple, this time it was being shown at a Shinto shrine.

What was significant about that? To understand we have to delve into a little history. After Meiji Restoration in 1868, the traditions of Buddhism and Shinto were strictly seperated by law. This was quite a change from the majority of Japanese history when Shinto and Buddhism had largely been amalgamated. This legal seperation was enforced for many practical reasons, but it made things very difficult for groups like the yamabushi, who fell into both categories at once. My artist friend specializes in depicting dragons and dragons are one of those things that falls essentially into both categories. Thus my friend was quite happy to have an event that included both Buddhism and Shinto as vital compenents.

Anyway, at the event my friend gave a lecture discussing not only the technical aspects of creating such an large work of art in the traditional way, but he also talked a bit about the spiritual aspects of creating art. Dressed in his samue artist’s outfit, hair tosseled every which way, and surrounded by ofuda tablets at all four corners, he did strike quite the image of the divinely inspired artist. He emphasized that he was almost a passive actor concerning the act of art. It reminded me of a line in a song from my childhood:

“An artist is what is called the self that the brush holdeth.”

On a lighter note, he also talked about how he often listened to the soundtrack of Dragon Quest while painting and felt that his jouney into life be considered a type of “Dragon Quest”, that is, an adventure where one finds companions, battles monsters, gains treasures, and generally level up your life. I feel like viewing life as a roleplaying game is a common veiwpoint among the sort of people I grew up with, but what I feel differs about my friend’s way of seeing things is the role destiny played.

It seems that he originally had no expectation of being commissioned to paint this dragon. Rather he went to Kyoto for an entirely different commission. That work fell through and by chance he had several fortunate encounters which all led to not only this ceiling painting being commissioned, but also a variety of other fortunate circumstances which enabled him to find the proper atmosphere to painting it as well. He strongly felt that these chance encounters were too many and too perfect to be mere coicidence, but rather seemed to be the unseen guiding hand of destiny (however it might be defined!).

This veiwpoint was also reflected in his art, I think. The painting focused on the dragon in the center, with the four cardinal beasts in each of their respective corners. Between these creatures the space is filled largely with black ink and dark swirling clouds. At least, that is how it appeared when I veiwed it. But beneath the black ink and clouds, my friend had written the eight or so precepts of Bushido (as explained by the famous Japanese Christian, Nitobe Inazo). Meanwhile, the golden sun held in the dragon’s claw concealed buddhist inscriptions written in sanskirt, while the characters for a phrase generally associated with Shinto, 八紘一宇 (universal brotherhood), lay beneath the forehead of the dragon. When I say “concealed” or “beneath”, I mean the words are completely obscured, no longer able to be seen except perhaps through high-tech laser analysis or whatever art historians can use nowadays to analyze paintings like the Mona Lisa.

For my friend, the artist, I don’t think it is important whether or not people can see, or even know, those words are written there. The important fact is that they are there and they guide the artistic endevour. Thus the ceiling painting is not merely a matter of technical skill. It is truly Art, a creation resting on dependent origination and guided by the unseen hand of destiny, or whatever might be called Truth.

To add a disclaimer, I am not an artist by any means and to be honest I generally find “art for art’s sake” to be a bit meaningless. But art can have meaning and I think its usefulness is in communicating indirectly what cannot be commmunicated directly. At least, I feel that is what my friend aims to do in his art. What do you think?

Another Harry Potter post. I was originally intending to try and make an arugment for the superiority of pure blood, but I just couldn’t come up with any convincing argument, Slytherin or otherwise. So instead I argued for the interbreeding between muggles and half-bloods. 

Aloha no e hoaaloha kakou, e noho iho. E kama’ilio aku ana au. Today I would like to discuss the matter of blood purity in relation to squibs and the muggle-born.

First, let us review precisely what is meant by such terms as pure-blood, half-blood, or mud-blood, often refered to as “Muggle-born”. There is no universally accepted definition for these terms, but generally a pureblood refers to those whose lineage is entirely magical for at least three generations. Half-blood, on the other hand, is a rather broad term which can refer to a wizard whose had a parent or grandparent who was muggle or mudblood. Finally, a so-called “muggle-born” is a witch or wizard whose parents are both said to be muggles.

The matter of blood purity, or lineage, is an extremely important topic for the wizarding world. This is because the ability to perform magic is a matter of blood: of genetics. One either possesses the magical gene or one does not. Let me quote from the late Prof. Albus Dumbledore on this matter:

“As intensive studies in the Department of Mysteries demontrasted as far back as 1672, wizards and witches are born, not created. While the ‘rogue’ ability to perform magic sometimes appears in those of apparent non-magical descent (though several later studies have suggested that there will have been a witch or wizard somewhere on the family tree), Muggles cannot perform magic.” (Granger 2008, 82n4)

In other words, all witches and wizards have some magical lineage, and this includes mudbloods. The idea advocated by certain wizards during the last wizarding war–that those who cannot historically trace their lineage must have somehow “stolen” magic–is preposterous. Thus it is more accurate to say that the parents of mudbloods are not in fact muggles, but rather squibs, who have descended from squibs.

In light of the current numerical advantage muggles have over wizards, it is extremely important to consider the continuation of our magical bloodlines. It is this overpopulation of muggles that has forced us wizards into enacting the International Statute of Secrecy and keeping ourselves hidden from the muggle world. Most wizards can agree that this is a lamentable state of affairs. The only way to resolve this is to increase the wizarding population to over that of the muggle population.

It is known that the magical gene is dominant. If a wizard produces progeny with a muggle, that child will possess the magical gene. Such a union increases the wizarding population and lessens the problem of muggle over-population. While I can understand a certain revulsion to the idea of mating with a muggle, this is the clearest manner in which wizards can once again regain their rightful place on this world.

Furthermore, the shameful nature of mudbloods is not in their polluted lineage, but rather in their pitiful upbringing among muggles. It would be like raising a human child among dogs and then expecting it learning civilized manners only after the age of 11. This, by the way, is also true for squibs. There are some who plead that the kindest thing to do for squibs is to force them into muggle society. How cruel that is!

Squibs, being magical yet lacking the talent to perform magic like true wizards, surely deserve our deepest pity. Rather than throwing them into the muggle world, we must find places for them to serve in wizarding society. Indeed, it likely that most mudbloods are the descendents of some squib who had that cruel fate of being forced into the muggle world.

Thus I offer this suggestion. If we encouraged the union between wizards and muggles, and provided opportunities for the inevitable increase of squibs in the wizarding world, the wizarding population would grow, enabling us to reverse the numerical advantage of the muggles and to take back our rightful place. The so-called “Muggle-borns” will eventually diminish to nothing and, through education, half bloods and squibs will be able to understand the great heritage their wizarding ancestors bestowed upon them.

It is left us of the pureblooded families, who have maintained the noble traditions of the centuries, to guide and teach the less fortunate of the wizarding world the proper honour of being a wizard. E hele aku ana au, a hui hou.

Recently I was sorted into House Slytherin by the sorting hat on Pottermore. So I thought I would try to make a video from the point of view of being a wizard. I don’t have a video editor, but it was fun to try and make all the same. Transcript of the video is below.

Aloha no e hoaaloha kakou, e noho iho. E kama’ilio aku ana au. Today I would like to address the issue of the Unforgivable Curses. As you all know, the Unforgiveable Curses number three: the Cruciatus curse, the Imperius curse, and the Killing curse.

They have been classified as unforgivable for over three centuries, and as Prof. Albus Dumbledore, the former Headmaster of Hogwarts reminds us in his commentary upon the Tales of Beedle the Bard, the strictest penalties were attached to their use. But in the light of the war crimes committed during the previous wizarding war, the question of when the use of these curses are permissible–in other words, forgivable–needs to discussed.

The name and history of the unforgivable curses might make the answer to this question seem obvious: They are never forgivable. The prosecution of many of the followers of the Dark Lord for the use of the unforgivable curses is well-known and many of the so-called Death Eaters are now languishing in Azakaban, forced to fight against the soul-draining effect of the dementors everyday.

During the brief change in government during the years 1997 and 1998, the penalties against using the Curses were revoked, but rather than excusing those who used them during this time, this was used to further condemn the government favourable to the Dark Lord as illegitimate, to the point that there are now calls for former Minister Pius Thicknesse’s tenure to be omitted from official records. Clearly this is a case of historical revisionism.

But that aside, if we accept that the unforgivable curses are never permissible, we must consider the situation of not only the so-called Death Eaters, but also members of Order of the Phoenix, the heroes of the last war. The most glaring example of this is Harry James Potter himself, currently the Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement in the Ministry of Magic. Harry Potter used or attempted to use, several of the unforgiveable curses during the war, yet no investigations into this matter have even been suggested by those now in power.

These transgressions of Mr. Potter might be excused due to his relative youth at the time and his difficult upbringing. Yet the Unforgivable Curses are dark magic of the strongest kind. If one has the ability to cast these spells–and Mr. Potter has shown that he does–then using the folly of youth as an excuse seems quite weak.

Mr. Potter is not the only Order of the Phoenix member who used the Unforgivable Curses. Prof. McGonagall, now Headmistress of Hogwarts, has also been demonstrated to have used the Imperius curse upon the Carrow siblings. Prof. McGonagall was hardly a youth at the time and can be expected to possess the wisdom of many years. Yet she used this curse for such a frivolous purpose as to merely bind the Carrow siblings with rope. The same task could easily have been accomplished with non-dark magic or, heaven forbid she need stoop so low, using her physical hands. Yet, this woman is who we wizarding parents are asked to entrust our children to when we send them to Hogwarts!

These are only two known examples of Order of the Phoenix members committing the Unforgivable Curses and who knows how many other examples might be found if other member’s actions were more closely examined? It seems quite strange to me that many followers of the Dark Lord have been punished so severely while Order of the Phoenix members have not even been reprimanded for the same exact crimes. Surely this is a case of history being written by the victors. E hele aku ana au, a hui hou.

Shinto in Taiwan

takashijinja1

Takashi Jinja (高士神社) in Taiwan

Taiwan’s relationship to Japan is a rather complicated one. From 1895 to the end of WWII, Taiwan was a Japanese colony, often refered to as “gaichi” (outer lands) in contrast to “naichi” (inner lands) which refered to the three main islands of Japan. Because of this, you might think Taiwan would feel a similar way to China and Korea about Japan, ie, feel very anti-Japanese after the war. While I am sure there are some people in Taiwan who feel that way, a lot of people in Taiwan, especially indigenous Taiwanese have much friendlier feelings towards Japan.

Japan put a lot of effort into modernizing its colonies in the early 20th century and treated the indigenous people with comparatively high amount of equality. Taiwan had administrators like Nitobe Inazo who really were dedicated to improving the life of all people in Taiwan. Also, Taiwan was invaded by mainland Chinese fleeing from the communists after WWII, and these new Chinese did not treat the indigenous people very well in the beginning. This isn’t to say there weren’t any injustices committed by the Japanese against Taiwanese people (for example, the Musha Jiken comes to mind), but in relation to how other countries treated Taiwanese people, Japan was comparatively kind.

Anyway, a Taiwanese friend of mine recently posted an article about a shrine called Takashi Jinja* in Mudan Town in Pingtung Prefecture. By the way, Mudan Town is mostly inhabited by indigenous Taiwanese of the Paiwan tribe, it seems. Takashi Jinja was built in the Meiji period and while the shrine was originally dedicated to Amaterashimasu Sume Ohmikami, soon the local village kami were honored at the shrine. During the war, many Taiwanese people volunteered to fight for the Japanese Empire and those locals who died in battle were also venerated at this shrine.

After WWII, the shrine fell into disrepair, but recently some of the local people of the village and Japanese supporters helped rebuild the shrine and start rituals at it again. This hasn’t been entirely uncontroversial. A politician criticised the rebuilding of the shrine and then some local people criticised the politician for criticising the shrine! But putting that aside, I think this shrine’s rituals can serve as a demonstration of international Shinto.  Look at these pictures taken from the shrine’s website.

You can see that not only are traditionally Shinto traditions are used, but local traditions of the indigenous people also have a part of the ceremony. This is not uncommon in Shinto. In prewar Korea, Confucian style customs at shrines were showcased by the Japanese government to demonstrate the international nature of Shinto, and even today it is very common to see hula dance hounou (dedicatory performances) at shrine festivals. In this way, I think that Shinto should not be seen as something limited to Japan, but rather a type of morality that can embrace different cultures across the world.

*The pronunciation of Japanese characters depends on the context, so I am not certain how to spell this shrine’s name in English. Normally, the characters would be read “Takashi”, but I have been given the impression they might actually be read “Kusukusu”, perhaps based on the indigenous language?