Glossary of Shinto Names and Terms: S

saifuku 斎服


ceremonial clothes.

See Basic Terms of Shinto: Saifuku.


saisen 賽銭


offerings of money.

See Basic Terms of Shinto: Saisen.


sakaki 榊


sakaki tree (Cleyera japonica).

An evergreen tree or shrub whose branches are used in Shintô rituals. White zig-zag paper streamers are attached to branches and placed before the kami as symbolic offerings. Branches are also frequently attached to shrine buildings to indicate demarcation of sacred space, namely, the presence of kami.


sandô 参道



The pathway or walkway leading to a temple or shrine.


Sanja matsuri 三社祭


See Basic Terms of Shinto: Sanja Matsuri.


Sannô matsuri 山王祭


Sannô Festival.

See Basic Terms of Shinto: Sannô Matsuri.


Sano Tsunehiko 佐野経彦


(1834-1906). Founder of Shinri-kyô.


Satô Nobuhiro 佐藤信淵


(1769-1850). An economist of the late Edo period. After undertaking studies in "Dutch Learning," astronomy, surveying, and Confucianism and engaging in extensive travel, Satô began to study Kokugaku under Hirata Atsutane while also studying Shintô. Satô advocated the superiority of Japan among the world's nations, and proposed concrete plans for the increase of industrial production in order to defend that superiority.


Seichô no ie 生長の家


A Shintô-based New Religion inspired by Ômoto-kyô. Founded by Taniguchi Masaharu (1893-1985). Proselytizing began in 1930 in a magazine entitled Seichô no ie (House of Growth). Taniguchi's main work is Seimei no jissô (Life's Truths). Overseas proselytization extended to Brazil. Headquartered in Shibuya Ward, Tokyo; reported membership is approximately 870,000.


Sekai kyûsei-kyô 世界救世教


A Shintô-based New Religion inspired by Ômoto-kyô. Founded by Okada Mokichi (1882-1955) in 1935 as Dai-Nihon Kannon-kai and renamed Sekai kyûsei-kyô in 1950. Proselytizing missions have been established in North and South America. Headquartered in Atami City, Shizuoka Prefecture, the group reports a membership of appoximately 840,000.


Senge Takatomi 千家尊福


(1845-1918). A religious leader and politician of the Meiji and Taishô eras. First chief priest of Izumo Ôyashiro-kyô. One of the central figures in Shintô circles in the early Meiji era, Senge recognized the importance of propagating Shintô and organized Shintoô Ôyashiro-ha (later known as Izumo Ôyashiro-kyô).


senzo kuyô 先祖供養


ancestoral rites.

Memorial rites dedicated to the ancestors of one's household. Fused with Buddhism, the rites are mainly observed as a form of Buddhist ritual.


setsubun 節分


A term originally referring to the day before each of the seasonal divisions (risshun, rikka, risshû, and rittô, which represent the midpoints between each equinox and the solstice preceding and following it). Nowadays, it refers only to the day before risshun, which is about six weeks before the spring equinox, or February 3 or 4 of the solar calendar. Events held on this day include mamemaki or throwing beans to exorcize evil spirits.


shaden 社殿


shrine architecture.

See Basic Terms of Shinto: Shaden.


Shaji kyoku 社寺局


Bureau of Shrines and Temples.

A bureau within the Ministry of Home Affairs (Naimushô), established in 1877 following dissolution of the Kyôbushô in order to administer matters relating to shrines, temples, and sectarian Shintô. In 1886 the bureau was split into Shrine and Temple Divisions, and in the 1900 reform of government ministries, the Bureau of Shrines and Temples was further divided into the Bureau of Shrines and the Bureau of Religions.


Shake Shintô 社家神道


Refers to the Shintoô that has been developed and passed down by a particular family of hereditary Shintô priests. Also called Shaden Shintô and Densha Shintô. In the middle ages, Shake Shintô developed as a reaction against the general acceptance of theories syncretizing Shintô and Buddhist deities. In the narrow sense, Shake Shintô tends to be reserved for referring to certain forms of Shintô such as the Shimogoryô of Izumoji Nobunao (1650-1703) and the Anke Shintô of Tsuchimikado Yasutomi (1655-1717).

shanichi 社日


The major "earth" days (tsuchinoe) before and after the spring and fall equinoxes. One of the seasonal nodes falling outside the standard twenty-four divisions used to mark seasonal changes in the old luni-solar calendar, the days were treated as holidays on which various shrine confraternities would meet..


shichi go san 七五三


See Basic Terms of Shinto: Shichi-go-san.


shide 紙垂


sacred streamers.

A kind of heihaku of cloth or paper attached to thin wooden wands or branches of the sakaki tree. When attached to shimenawa, shide indicate the demarcation of sacred space.


Shimamura Mitsu 島村光津


(1831-1904). Founder of the New Religion called Renmon-kyô.


shimenawa 注連縄


See Basic Terms of Shinto: Shimenawa.


Shimotsuki Matsuri 霜月祭


Shimotsuki Festival.

A popularly observed harvest festival in the eleventh month of the lunar calendar. The name and date of the festival varies by region, but it tends to be characterized as a festival of rice agriculture. Kagura is often performed at the festivals, and these dances are generally called shimotsuki kagura, shimotsuki or "month of frost" being an ancient name for the eleventh lunar month.


shinbutsu shûgô 神仏習合


Shinto-Buddhist syncretism.

See Basic Terms of Shinto: Shinbutsu shûgô.


shinden 神殿


See Basic Terms of Shinto: Shinden.


Shindô Tenkôkyo 神道天行居


A Shintô-based new religion founded by Tomokiyo Yoshizane (1888-1952). Formed in 1921 as Tenkôkyo, renamed Shindô Tenkôkyo in 1927. During the war it held divine rites called Spiritual Protection of the Nation. Disbanded after the war, it later reemerged as Kakushinkyô, and the name was again later changed to Shindô Tenkôkyo. Headquartered in Kumage County, Yamaguchi Prefecture; reported membership of approximately 12,000.


shinji nô 神事能


sacred Nô dance.

See Basic Terms of Shinto: Shinji nô.


Shinji Shûmeikai 神慈秀明会


A Shintô-based New Religion, founded by Koyama Mihoko (1910-). Split from Sekai kyûsei-kyô in 1970. Overseas missions are conducted in North America and Hong Kong. Headquartered in Kôga County, Shiga Prefecture; reported membership is around 440,000.


shinkô 神幸


See Basic Terms of Shinto: Shinkôshiki.


Shinkokugaku 新国学


New National Learning.

A rebirth or revitalization of Kokugaku or National Learning in the modern period. In particular it refers to the study of Japanese culture focusing on the post WWII folklore studies conducted by Yanagita Kunio and Orikuchi Shinobu .


Shinmei-zukuri 神明造


See Basic Terms of Shinto: Shinmei-zukuri.


Shinrei-kyô 神霊教


A Shintô-based New Religion, organized in 1947 by Ôtsuka Kan'ichi (1891-1972) with the assistance of his wife, Kunie. Headquartered in Minato Ward, Tokyo; reported membership is approximately 100,000.


Shinri-kyô 神理教


A sect of Kyôha Shintô (sectarian Shinto). One of the pre-war Shintô Jûsampa. Founded by Sano Tsunehiko (1834-1906). Recognized as an independent sect by the government in 1884. Headquartered in Kitakyushu City, Fukuoka Prefecture; reported membership is approximately 300,000.


Shinsei ryûjin-kai 神政龍神会


An association founded in 1934 by retired Admiral Yano Yûtarô, an Ômoto sympathizer. The association was not officially recognized by the government. Although the group was quite small, its members included National Diet members and high ranking military officers. After being investigated for lèse-majesté, Yano curtailed his activities.


Shinsen shôjiroku 新撰姓氏録


See Basic Terms of Shinto: Shinsen shôjiroku.


shinshoku 神職


shrine priests.

See Basic Terms of Shinto: Shinshoku.


Shinshû-kyô 神習教


A sect of Kyôha Shintô. One of the pre-war Shintô Jûsampa. Organized in 1880 by Yoshimura Masamochi (1839-1915) as a synthesis of the beliefs of the Mt. Ontake cult and other similar groups. Recognized as an independent sect by the government in 1882. Headquartered in Setagaya Ward, Tokyo; reported membership is 2,800,000.


Shintô 神道


See Basic Terms of Shinto: Shinto.


Shintô gobusho 神道五部書


See Basic Terms of Shinto: Shintô gobusho.


Shintô Honkyoku also Shintô Taikyô 神道本局


Shintô Honkyoku or Shintô Taikyô (since 1940).

A sect of Kyôha Shintô. One of the pre-war Shintô Jûsampa. The sect's formal name is simply "Shintô." Having no founder, the sect's formation was originally the result of administrative considerations in 1885 by the Shintô Jimmû-kyoku, and it inherited its general characteristics from various Shintô groups. It applied for legal recognition in 1895, which was granted by the government in 1896. The first head priest was Inaba Masakuni (1834-98). With the independence of strong sects like Tenri-kyô the influence of "Shintô" lost vitality. In 1940 the name was changed to Shintô Taikyô, and in the post war era the sect has continued to weaken. Headquartered in Minato Ward, Tokyo; reported membership is approximately 40,000.


Shintô Jûsampa 神道十三派


The 13 Shinto Sects.

Designation used for the 13 officially recognized sects of pre-war Kyôha Shintô (Sect Shintô); specifically referring to the following sects: Kurozumi-kyô, Shintô Shûsei-ha, Izumo Ôyashiro-kyô, Fusô-kyô, Jikkô-kyô, Shinshû-kyô, Shintô Taisei-kyô, Ontake-kyô, Shintô Honkyoku, Misogi-kyô, Shinri-kyô, Konkô-kyô, and Tenri-kyô.


Shintô shûsei-ha 神道修成派


A sect of Kyôha Shintô. One of the pre-war Shintô Jûsampa. Founded by Nitta Kuniteru (1829-1902) in 1873 and recognized as an independent sect by the government in 1876. Its teachings are Shintô with an overlay of Confucian ethics. Has not been very active in the post-war era. Headquartered in Suginami Ward, Tokyo; reported membership is 42,000.


Shintô Taisei-kyô 神道大成教


A sect of Kyôha Shintô. One of the pre-war Shintô Jûsampa. Organized by Hirayama Seisai (1815-1890) and recognized as an independent sect by the government in 1882. Attracted believers from various religious backgrounds because of its anti-Christian posture and ethnocentric teachings. Currently inactive. Headquartered in Shibuya Ward, Tokyo; reported membership is 51,000.


Shintôkei shinshûkyô 神道系新宗教


Shintô-based New Religion.

Among the Shintô-based groups of the modern era, a designation referring primarily to new Shintô groups that were strongly influence by traditional Shintô practice while displaying the characteristic of being "founded religions."


shinza 神座



The "seat" where the physical embodiment of a kami or mitamashiro is enshrined within a shrine facility. In shrine Shinto, a place is provided within the main sanctuary of a shrine for the placement of the shinza.


shishi 獅子


See Basic Terms of Shinto: Shishi.


shôjin otoshi 精進おとし


release from festival abstinence.

The release from a period of spiritual abstinence observed to attain physical and spiritual purification, usually in conjunction with a religious festival.


Shôken Kôgô 昭憲皇后


Empress Shôken / Empress Meiji.

The wife of Emperor Meiji. She was enshrined with Emperor Meiji at Meiji Shrine after her death.


Shokishûge 書紀集解


A commentary on the Nihon shoki in 30 books written by Kawamura Hidene (1723-92) and his son, Masune. The author's preface is dated 1785, but the completed version was not published until 1804.


Shoku Nihongi 続日本紀


Shoku Nihongi.

One of the Six National Histories (Rikkokushi). This official historical work was written in an annalistic format covering the period from Emperor Monbu (697) through Emperor Kammu (791). It was presented to the emperor in 797.


Shôroku Shintô Yamatoyama 松緑神道大和山


A Shintô-based New Religion founded by Tazawa Seishirô (1884-1996). This group was formed in 1930. It is actively involved in social work. Headquartered in Higashi Tsugaru County, Aomori Prefecture; reported membership is approximately 60,000.


Shôtoku Taishi 聖徳太子


Prince Shôtoku.

(574-622). Crown Prince under Empress Suiko; served as regent to manage matters of government. He installed a new ranking system called kan'i jûni kai or the 12 cap ranks, and issued a Seventeen Article Constitution. He also promoted Buddhism.


shubatsu 修祓



See Basic Terms of Shinto: Shubatsu.


Shugendô 修験道


A syncretic religion orgainized around ancient mountain religion and drawing on elements from Buddhism and Shintô. Until modern times a number of factions existed, the nucleus of which were the Tendai Honzan faction and the Shingon Tôzan faction. When the government ordered the separation of Buddhism and Shintô in 1868, Shugendô was abolished and declined. After the Religious Juridical Persons Ordinance was promulgated in 1945, the Daigo Group split from the old Shingon Tôzan faction and became independent. Others have also become independent since that time.


Sonnô undô 尊王運動


Revere the Emperor Movement.

While the terms sonnô and kinnô mean literally to hold the imperial house in reverence, in use the expressions denote a strong sense of devoting oneself to the emperor in practice. In the mid-19th century the notion of revering the emperor was combined with the call for expelling the foreigners who had come to Japan and became the theoretical basis for criticizing the feudal government.


soshin 祖神


founding ancestral kami.

The progenitor or founding kami of a shizoku or clan. A kami linked to humans genealogical relationship. Also called oyagami (parent kami). Amaterasu, for example, is the oyagami or progenitor of the imperial family.


Soshindô 祖神道


A Shintô-based New Religion. Founded in the early Shôwa period by Matsushita Matsuzô (1873-1947). After Matsushita's death some of his influential disciples and associates formed their own religious groups. Headquartered in Tamana County, Kumamoto Prefecture; reported membership is 548.


suijin 水神


See Basic Terms of Shinto: Suijin.


Sumiyoshi Matsuri 住吉祭


Sumiyoshi Festival.

A festival of the Sumiyoshi cult. The kami usually feted are the three kami of Sumiyoshi (Uwazutsu-no-o, Nakazutsu-no-o, Sokozutsu-no-o) together with Empress Jingû. Sumiyoshi Shrines are located thoughout Japan, but the most famous is the Sumiyoshi Taisha in the Sumiyoshi Ward of Osaka.


Susanoo no mikoto スサノオ (記: 〔建〕〔速〕須佐之〔能〕男命、〔神〕〔武〕〔速〕素戔嗚尊)


See Basic Terms of Shinto: Susanoo no mikoto.


Suwa 諏訪


See Basic Terms of Shinto: Suwa.


Suzuki Masayuki 鈴木雅之


(1837-71). A scholar of National Learning, active during the end of the Tokugawa era and the beginning of the Meiji era.


Suzuki Shigetane 鈴木重胤


(1812-63). A Kokugaku scholar of the late Edo period. Instructed by Hirata Atsutane through an exchange of letters, he also became a student of Ôkuni Takamasa. Later he became increasing critical of the Hirata School and was ostrasized by the school.