SPIRIT OF JAPAN: SHINTO & GAGAKU
Japanese Traditional Religion and Music
(Introduction of Shinto and Gagaku performance)
You may think Japan is the country of Buddhism. In fact, there are various Buddhist temples in Kyoto, Nara and everywhere in Japan, and the concept of “Zen” is also familiar. On the other hand, quite many Japanese enjoy Christmas and Halloween, and visit Shinto shrines from time to time.
Shinto is Japanese indigenous/traditional religion, which does not have a founder, dogmas and a holy textbook/scripture. However, it has been kept as a part of Japanese life (custom) for more than a few thousand years, and for example, millions of people visit Meiji Jingu Shinto shrine in Tokyo for the New Year’s first shrine visit to make prayers.
Shinto priests of this Meiji Jingu will come to The Japan Foundation, Toronto this September, and have an introductory talk about Shinto, the concept of the relation with nature as you can see the forest (picture) surrounding Meiji Jingu, and the connection with the life of Japanese people.
Gagaku –traditional music- has an important role at Shinto ritual ceremonies. Slow and mellow music will lead you to feel Japanese culture rooted into the ancient times of the country. In this event, some music will be performed by three musical instruments (Sho, Hichiriki, Ryuteki). Furthermore, performers (Shinto priests) will give you instructions if you want to challenge/try to play it!
Member: Moriyasu Ito, Atsuki Katayama, Takanaga Tsutsumi
Moriyasu Ito graduated from Kyoto University and earned Bachelor of Law. He entered in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1993 and studied at Trent University in Canada as a trainee, and was posted to Karachi in Pakistan as a cultural attache and vice consul for three years. Back to Tokyo in 1999, he left the ministry in 2003 and entered Meiji Jingu and became a Shinto priest after studying at Kokugakuin University. He is a Chief of the International relation division at Meiji Jingu Intercultural Research Institute. He plays the Sho (Japanese wind instrument assembling panpipes).
Atsuki Katayama graduated from Kokugakuin University in 2003, and entered Meiji Jingu in the same year. His father is serving at Hitomaro Jinja (Shinto shrine), dedicated to the spirit of a poetry Kakinomoto-no Hitomaro (A.D. 660-724), in Yamaguchi prefecture. He became a Shinto priest in 2008 after serving as a trainee for 5 years at Meiji Jingu. Currently he belongs to the Ritual division. He plays Ryuteki (dragon flute).
Takanaga Tsutsumi lives in the life close to Shinto, since his mother was born in the family serving at Kumano-hongu Taisha (Shinto shrine) in Wakayama prefecture. After he studied low at Tokai University, he decided to be a Shinto priest, and entered Kokugakuin University to take one year intensive course for the qualification to be a priest. He has been serving at Meiji Jingu for three years as a trainee, now. He plays the Hichiriki (small double-reed instrument).