IJS Lecture: "An Introduction to Shinto and Gagaku: Japan's Traditional Religion and Music"

August 30, 2018
Monday, September 24, 2018 - 5:15pm to 7:00pm
Jennings Hall Room 001 (1735 Neil Ave)
gagaku
The Institute for Japense Studies presents:
 
Moriyasu Ito, Atsuki Katayama, and Takanaga Tsutsumi
Meiji Jingu, Tokyo, Japan
 
"An Introduction to Shinto and Gagaku: Japan’s Traditional Religion and Music"
 
Lecture & Performance 5:15-7:00pm followed by Q&A
Doors Open at 5:00pm
 
 
 
ABSTRACT:  Many in contemporary Japan enjoy the occasions of Halloween and Christmas while the patterns of their daily life honor the traditions of Buddhism and Shintoism.  Indeed, Japan is best known to the rest of the world for its Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines, especially in the ancient capitals of Kyoto and Nara, together with cultural legacies such as Zen practices, gardens and other forms of art.  Today’s presentation will focus on Shinto and gagaku music that goes with Shinto ceremonies.   
 
Shinto is Japan’s indigenous religion that long predates the arrival of Buddhism in the sixth century via China and Korea.  To this day, a vast majority of Japanese people visit Shinto shrines on seasonal and auspicious occasions throughout the year.  Unlike most organized religions, however, Shinto has no original founder, no formal doctrines, and no holy scriptures. One of the best ways to learn about Shinto is to attend a presentation, and to experience some aspects of it first-hand, by those who practice it.  
 
For today’s presentation, three priests from Meiji Jingu¸ one of the best known shrines to both Japanese and foreigners, will discuss the relationship among Shinto, nature, and the way of Japanese life.  The three priests will also perform gagaku, Japan’s traditional music, which can transport the audience in the echo of time and space from the ancient to the present. Three wind instruments --sho (harmonica), hichiriki (piccolo), and fuye (flute) that form part of a larger gagaku orchestra – will be featured. Following their short recital, the priests will provide a hands-on workshop allowing members of the audience to try these three instruments. 
 
BIOSMoriyasu Ito graduated with a Bachelor of Law from Kyoto University.  He joined the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1993 and studied at Trent University in Canada.  He was then posted to Karachi, Pakistan as a cultural attache and vice consul for three years before returning to Tokyo in 1999.  He left the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2003 and joined Meiji Jingu.  He became a Shinto priest after studying at Kokugakuin University.  He is a Chief of the International Relations Division at Meiji Jingu Intercultural Research Institute. He plays sho (a wind instrument resembling panpipes).
 
Atsuki Katayama entered Meiji Jingu upon graduation from Kokugakuin University in 2003. He became a Shinto priest in 2008 and currently belongs to the Ritual Division of Meiji Jingu.  He plays ryuteki (a dragon flute).  He comes from a family that serves Hitomaru Jinja in Yamaguchi Prefecture, a Shinto shrine dedicated to the spirit of Kakinomoto no Hitomaro, a highly revered ancient poet (A.D. 660-724).  
 
Takanaga Tsutsumi studied law at Tokai University, and entered Kokugakuin University to take one year of an intensive curriculum to earn the qualification to be a Shinto priest.  He has been at Meiji Jingu for three years as a priest in training.  He plays hichiriki (a small double-reed wind instrument).  He comes from a family that has a close association with Kumano Hongu Taisha (a grand Shinto shrine) in Wakayama prefecture.
 
This event, free and open to public, is sponsored by the OSU Institute for Japanese Studies and OSU University Libraries.   Meiji Jingu has supported the US and Canadian tour of the three speakers. 
 
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