Dear visitor, if you know the answer to this question, please post it. Thank you!

Note that this thread has not been updated in a long time, and its content might not be up-to-date anymore.

How can I become a Shinto Priest 2008/6/3 16:09
i have been studying Shinto for almost a year and i have chosen to become a priest so how would i go about doing it
by Kazuma3  

where? 2008/6/4 09:49
Where are you located? Shinto is a Japanese religion/cult/way of life/inherent part of being Japanese. Outside of Japan it is none of these.
by Tay rate this post as useful

well 2008/6/4 16:02
in the usa but what you say is not all thuthful there is a shrine in washiton state
by Kazuma3 rate this post as useful

Japan 2008/6/4 20:15
There is a very long thread about this exact topic further down the "others" section if you look- you may need to scroll down quite a way.

Do you speak Japanese? Have you visited Japan before? Do you have any contacts at a Shinto shrine in the US or Japan who can help you? IF you do not speak very fluent Japanese then your chances of becoming a priest in Japan are very limited if not zero.

If you can find a way to come and live in Japan for a while you will be in more of a position to find out what is necessary, but if I were you I would first contact the shrine you mention in Washington- they should have plenty of information for you if it is at all possible.
by koala1 rate this post as useful

- - - 2008/6/5 01:26
There are several "Shinto" shrines in the US. They are Shinto-like. They are not Shinto.
by Tay rate this post as useful

priest 2008/6/5 04:14
I am obviously not Japanese but I know what Tay means. Becoming a Shinto priest if one isn't born in Japan is possible but something--that can never be learned-- will be always missing. I was born/ raised in Europe and the majority of churches in North America don't even look like European ones. Much more importantly, the liturgical ceremonies --masses--aren't the same and the interaction between the priests and the parishioners are very different. When I first moved to Canada churches and restaurants where 2 places were the difference between cultures were the most obvious. Even in French speaking Quebec the differences were striking (they also call a Catholic priest "padre" while in French-speaking European countries it always "monsieur le Cure"). The experience of my friends,colleagues and I, all born outside North America, is that one can only totally understand a culture when one is born in it (meaning also that children born in a country from immigrants parents will have that knowledge but not their parents AND these children will be foreigners in their parents' native country). We all know by now how things work and are done in North America, and don't even have to think about it, but it still will always be something learned, not an ingrained knowledge we got in the womb.
by Auntie Bert rate this post as useful

yes 2008/6/5 05:34
Auntie Bert has explained herself well. Moreover, Shinto itself is the essence of "Japaneseness". To be born Japanese, in Japan, and to not be Shinto is impossible. Although many Japanese dislike being asked to define or explain Shinto, and some declaim that they are not adherents of Shinto, most will follow Shinto practices almost as naturally as breathing. Too, Japanese Christians and Buddhists will give at least some attention to Shinto, indeed many Buddhist temples have Shinto shrines in their precincts. Shinto has no real moral precepts nor any written liturgy. So, much of what Japanese learn of Shinto is from family. This is why I say that Shinto outside of Japan can only be Shinto-like.
by Tay rate this post as useful

for example? 2008/6/5 09:23
I am married to a Japanese, and I am kind of sceptical of the idea that "Japanese will follow Shinto practices as naturally as breathing", but I am willing to be convinced if you can offer some concrete examples of what you mean- what kind of practices are you referring to in particular?

by uzuki rate this post as useful

It looks genuine Shinto shrine. 2008/6/5 10:52
The shrine in Washington looks genuine Shinto shrine. It is formal branch of Tsuabaki grand shrine in Suzuka city Mie prefecture Japan. And the priest is non Japanese.
These shrines enshrine Sarutahiko-ookami ‰Ž“c•F‘ๅ_ famous in myth. Tsubki grand shrine in Suzuka is ancient shrine described in ancient text‰„Š์Žฎ.

by jtomi rate this post as useful

several 2008/6/5 10:53
I probably should have qualified what I said to Japanese in Japan - naturally many practices cease when they relocate elsewhere. Examples would be the practice of taking newborns to jinja; the traditional 'shichi-go-san where parents take children to jinja on their 3, 5 and 7 year birthdays (we have a cute picture of my wife with her father at a shrine on her 5th b'day, and also the almost universal practice of attending a jinja on New Years. I would stress that these practices are undertaken by many people who otherwise pay little conscious attention to Shinto. But my main point was that Japanese regard Shinto as an implicit part of their being rather than as a religion, per se, that can be transferred elsewhere. That would not be the case with, for instance, Buddhism.
by Tay rate this post as useful

the implicitness of Shinto 2008/6/5 13:47
Hmm, I still think that that is a very subjective conclusion to draw and that you would get very different answers from different Japanese people on that topic.

The concept of "the essence of Japaneseness" is a bit abstract as well- if that even exists I doubt it is definable.

I also think that even if Japanese people take their children to shrines for shichi-go-san etc, it doesn't necessarily mean your average Takeshi or Yoko regards Shinto as "an implicit part of their being".

I was basically raised in the Christian tradition, but in an atheist family. I was baptised, we celebrate Christmas and Easter, go to church for funerals and weddings, visit the famous cathedrals in Europe etc. but it doesn't mean at all that Christianity is an implicit part of my being. They are just things that we do because it is part of the secular culture in my country to do so.

I personally believe that most Japanese people follow traditions like shichi-go-san and hatsumode for the same reasons- because everyone else does it and it's expected, and not because of the idea that Shinto is an implicit part of their nature.

Others may disagree, but that is my conclusion after 14 years residence in Japan.
by uzuki rate this post as useful

this and that 2008/6/5 16:05
Interesting thread! Christianity itself may not be "an implicit part of your being" but you likely follow, or could follow, the rituals you learned at the youngest age from your family without thinking about it twice, even if you no longer agree with them or the religion itself. On the other hand a very devout Christian person from the USA, for example, would be stumped by rituals done in Europe, especially those that come from local Celtic lores that were eventually incorporated in the Christian religion a long time ago.One side of my family is Catholic, the other side is Protestant. When we visit the Catholic side of the family we all go to a Catholic church, when we visit the Protestant side we go to a Protestant church. When I came to Canada and talked about it this freaked out quite a few people but to me and my family this is as normal as breathing..in my early teens years I was a Catholic altar boy on Sundays mornings then attend a Protestant service in the late afternoon. And yes both priests knew.
by Red Frog rate this post as useful

rituals 2008/6/5 17:06
What kind of rituals are you thinking of, Red Frog? My family have not been practicing Christians for several generations, so I am quite unfamiliar with what you are supposed to do at church. There is nothing that I no longer practice- I never did. We didn't say grace or say our prayers before bed, that kind of thing just was never part of our lives.

by uzuki rate this post as useful

religion 2008/6/5 18:55
I am afraid that this would requires pages and pages. Starting by the proper way to dress, to enter a church, to behave inside, when/ how to sit down/ kneel/ get up at appropriate times depending on the liturgy, all sorts of things that are meant to put one in a certain frame of mind away from the mundane world outside the church. Then there are specific things to do depending on the yearly religious calendar etc. and finally there is the spiritual component, obviously the most important thing of all. At home we never said grace or prayers, this wasn't something commonly done in my native European country. One of our most devout aunts, a Protestant, had quotes from the Bible on the walls in her kitchen and in the bedrooms but she never talked about it and we didn't ask. She lived her religion by doing things, not preaching. She was in friendly terms with the local Catholic priest who counted on her if someone in the village needed a meal,a bed,a shoulder to cry on. I have to say that after attending 2 types of churches during my youth for too many years, I now only visit churches during vacations in Europe. In Japan I spend time in shrines and temples, for their beauty and as a relaxation from hectic shopping areas. I find North American churches souless and most of their priests appear to be too concerned by $$$.A couple of years after TV appeared in out part of the woods one of my great grandmas, who used to go to church twice a week, told everyone she knew that the local church couldn't compete with the TV and stopped going altogether.
by Red Frog rate this post as useful

exactly 2008/6/5 21:19
It's interesting that Christianity is so different in various countries that it hardly looks like the same religion at all, isn't it.

As far as the rituals you mention, Red Frog, they are all things that I was never taught as a child or at any other time, so they couldn't be considered an implicit part of my being at all. The traditions I do keep I consider to be cultural rather than religious, and also not an implicit part of my being- in the same way that I think for many Japanese people Shinto is not an implicit part of their being, just motions we all go through, or things we enjoy doing for the sake of it, or feel compelled to do because others expect it.

In any case, it's probably not a good idea for an atheist like me to get too caught up in a lengthy discussion on religion, so I'll leave it there!
by uzuki rate this post as useful

Alternate Shinto Shrines 2008/12/4 18:02
In response to the xenophobia in Shinto this Shrine is opening its own branch. Might want to check it out.

by anonymous rate this post as useful

Alternate Shinto Shrines 2009/1/3 14:58
Correction, the site moved to http://www.nvshinto.info
by anonymous rate this post as useful

reply to this thread