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A Year in the Life of a Shinto Shrine

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  119 ratings  ·  7 reviews
What we today call Shinto has been at the heart of Japanese culture for almost as long as there has been a political entity distinguishing itself as Japan. A Year in the Life of a Shinto Shrine describes the ritual cycle at Suwa Shrine, Nagasaki's major Shinto shrine. Conversations with priests, other shrine personnel, and people attending shrine functions supplement John ...more
Paperback, 225 pages
Published April 1st 1996 by University of Washington Press (first published January 1st 1996)
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3.90  · 
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 ·  119 ratings  ·  7 reviews


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Bill Johnston
Jun 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: japan
I didn't expect much when I picked this up used for fifty cents. Perhaps some dry volume on theory and practice of Shinto.

It exceeded my expectations by placing the shrine and its activities in a specific time and place (late-bubble Japan), and even more so by including interviews with priests and practitioners. While their words make up a minority of the book, they add a very human element to what is often a dry academic subject in books published in the West.
Julie
May 27, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: philosophy, asian-lit
I originally thought A Year in the Life of a Shinto Shrine was going to be a raw, 365-day account of activity at a Shinto Shrine. unfortunately for me, this book was only maybe a third of my expectations.

John K. Nelson's book is broken up into four sections representing the four seasons. each section gives an overview of the festivals, ceremonies and rituals conducted at Suwa Shrine, Nagasaki, in particular. before the reader starts learning about the various seasonal festivals, Nelson gives a
...more
Cheri
Mar 14, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Very interesting, educated outsider's point of view bolstered by first hand interviewing and opinion of those involved. Would recommend to anyone interested in Japanese culture, history, and Shinto itself. Made sense of a lot of things that puzzled me during my visit in 2008.
Havala
May 31, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: those interested in understanding an obscure religion without ramming it down your throat.
Read for an eastern religions class. Wonderful descriptions of Japanese ceremony, Japanese life, and a behind the scenes look at how a shrine is run. Definitely helped me understand what Shinto is.
Beautiful imagery. Easy read. Interesting topic.

Kay
Aug 03, 2007 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this insider's account of what goes on in a Shinto shrine, but I never managed to get all the way through it. Since I go through cycles of interest in my reading, I'm hoping to come back to it the next time I'm reading about Japan.
Emily
Feb 28, 2012 marked it as to-read
This is on the list, because it came up in a library database search . . . and has a chapter called "Beans versus Demons" (28 Feb 2012)
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