Basic Terms of Shinto

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see Shinbatsu


see Saikai

Beppyô jinja

"Shrines on the Special List." The Jinja Honchô has made a special list of certain former national or state shrines and other large shrines in order to facilitate administration. At present, 244 shrines have been placed on this list.

Bokusen[Glossary: bokusen]

Divination. From ancient times, many means have been used to attempt to determine the good or ill fortune of a thing or undertaking and to ascertain the divine will. Examples include futomani, heating the shoulder plate of a deer and interpreting the resulting cracks, and kiboku, heating the shell of a tortoise.

Bon matsuri[Glossary: bon_matsuri][Glossary: bon_odori]

A festival celebrated around July 15 in order to console the spirits of the dead. On the 13th, a fire called mukaebi (welcoming fire) is burned at the entrance of each house; by this the spirits of the dead are welcomed into the house and offerings are made to them on the altar. On the 15th, another fire called okuribi (sending-off fire) is burned to send off the spirits on their return. In some places, instead of the okuribi, lanterns are floated down a river. The festival is said to have originated in Buddhism; but it is clear that the Japanese practice is based on indigenous beliefs antecedent to Buddhism and that Buddhist practices were simply added later.


[Bugaku] Ceremonial dancing accompanied by music. See gagaku.

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