Shinto online

It is proposed to explore the changing presence of Shinto in online form with special reference to the ways in which shrines have responded to the corona-virus pandemic. Over history, Shinto has proven to be a resilient force in the wider field of Japanese religious culture. However, the latest challenge is difficult for one simple reason. Shinto has always been based on particular shrines, in particular places, for particular divinities. The myths and stories are important, but above all people go to the shrine in person to worship (i.e. they perform o-mairi), or they come together for a corporate festival (matsuri). These activities imply a physical presence in space-time. But what happens when Shinto goes online? What is the relation between a shrine’s traditional activities and its internet presence? To what extent have the shrines been able to display resilience in the face of the pandemic? And how have they responded on-line? Contributors are invited to focus on selected cases (including any examples of “sect Shinto”), so that a wide range can be covered in the panel. Unfortunately, there is no external funding on this occasion, but some linkage to the 2021 autumn seminar of the International Shinto Studies Association (ISSA) in Japan may be feasible.

Michael Pye: