Shinto death 4: The Coffin

This is the fourth in a series of articles about the Shinto funereal practices, adapted from an academic article by Elizabeth Kenney.  (For a link to the original article, see Part I.) ****************** Encoffining The chief mourner and other relatives … Continue reading

Shinto death 2: Washing

The extracts below from Elizabeth Kenney’s article will bring to mind the 2008 Oscar-winning film called Okuribito (The Departed), which begins with the mesmerising scene detailing the extraordinary care and deference with which the corpse is ritually cleansed.  There is … Continue reading


Jizo is the most widespread deity in Japan, to be seen across the country at crossroads, waysides, cemeteries and elsewhere.  A guardian of the dead, he is portrayed in monk’s attire and seen as a guardian of the otherworld who … Continue reading

Animal abuse

An article in Japan Today details several traditional practices which involve cruelty to animals.  Unfortunately Shinto shrines figure prominently among those holding and defending such practices.  A nature religion? Or a religion of Japaneseness which includes the preservation of traditional … Continue reading

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