Japan’s Living Mythic Tradition Comes Alive at Iwami Kagura Naniwa in Osaka

Ever since coming to Japan I have wanted to see Kagura, which means "entertaining the gods." It relates the myths of Japan, utilizing sacred Japanese dance and music dedicated to Shinto gods. This year Western Shimane Prefecture's Iwami Kagura Naniwa opened a Kagura theatre in Osaka. My daughter was in town, so we went as a … Continue reading Japan’s Living Mythic Tradition Comes Alive at Iwami Kagura Naniwa in Osaka

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My Photographs of Ise Jingu Grand Shrine Published in Kyoto Journal

Happy to announce that photographs of mine I took of Ise Jingu Grand Shrine in Ise, Japan have been published in Kyoto Journal magazine issue 92. Titled "Devotion" it features photographs I took, ironically on a rainy day, of the most sacred shrine in Japan that is devoted to the Japanese Sun Goddess Amaterasu. The photographs … Continue reading My Photographs of Ise Jingu Grand Shrine Published in Kyoto Journal

Otaue Shinto Rice Planting Ceremony at Sumiyoshi Taisha Shinto Shrine Celebrates Life and Farming

Along with the heat of summer and rainy season, shrines all over Japan host rice-planting ceremonies to pray for a plentiful harvest. Called the Otaue Shinto Service, since ancient times, Sumiyoshi Taisha Shinto Grand Shrine here south of Osaka hosts the largest ceremony in the nation and has been designated as an Important Intangible Folk … Continue reading Otaue Shinto Rice Planting Ceremony at Sumiyoshi Taisha Shinto Shrine Celebrates Life and Farming

Grieving and Healing at the To-Kae Lantern Festival in Nara During Obon

Now I know why I was having dreams of my late sister, mother and father so much recently. It was Obon time in Japan, the Buddhist holiday equivalent of Halloween in the United States or Day of the Dead in Mexico. It's believed that each year during Obon, the spirits of ancestors return to this world … Continue reading Grieving and Healing at the To-Kae Lantern Festival in Nara During Obon

In Japan, Swastikas Are Symbols of Good Luck and Health, Not Hatred and Nazis

In Japan the swastika is called the manji (卍). It is an ancient symbol of good luck and well-being. The symbol was on maps in Japan to denote Shinto and Buddhist shrines and temples. I remember seeing it on Google maps the first time I visited Japan in November, 2016 and marveled at the impression … Continue reading In Japan, Swastikas Are Symbols of Good Luck and Health, Not Hatred and Nazis