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The central piece in our exhibition is a Japanese house shrine that was received from Japan’s most prestigious Shinto shrine, Ise Jingu. A house shrine, known as a kamidana, is usually placed high on a wall (above eye level, and not above an entrance) and contains a variety of items related to Shinto ceremonies.
The kamidana on display here provides a temporary home for one or more kami, who are present through amulets that are considered to be imbued with the power of the kami (kamifuda) from three more shrines:
- Jingutaima from Ise Jingu (Ise Grand Shrine)
- Ontamagushi from Izumo Taisha (Izumo Grand Shrine)
- Tenmangu-kamifuda from Kitano Tenmangu (Kitano Tenmangu Shrine)
In a private ceremony that launched our exhibition, the first non-Japanese Shinto master, Paul de Leeuw, invited the kami to take up residence in our museum. As it is customary to leave offerings at the shrine, the kami will be provided with regular offerings throughout the time of our exhibition. The museum thus honours Japanese Shinto customs.
The kamidana in our exhibition contains the sacred sake of Ise Jingu, made by the long-established sake brewery Hakutaka. Of the many sake breweries in Japan, Hakutaka is the only one selected by Ise Jingu to produce sacred sake.
The three kamifuda, which are replaced at the end of the year, and sake were kindly donated by the NPO Society for Rebalance KYOTO.
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