4. Identity and connections through music in Shintō spaces: from kagura to anime songs

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Author: Olga Przybylska

Abstract: This chapter analyses the various types of music performed in Shinto spaces (primarily shrines). It covers not only sacral music used as part of religious rituals and festivals, but also the way that shrines have long acted as stages for popular culture entertainment. In the digital age, many innovative examples of musical performance can be seen in shrines, such as concerts of anime songs, and interactive events featuring VTubers. The chapter demonstrates how shrines have become sites of music tourism and contents tourism.

One example of the influence of “Shinto music” within pop culture is the track Making of Cyborg from Ghost in the Shell. Note the use of bells:

Other examples from the chapter are in the Directory and Online References lists below.

Directory of Musicians, Events, and Sites

BABYMETAL official site https://babymetal.com/

Hakase Tarō 葉加瀬太郎 https://taro-hakase.com

Hakase Tarō Music Festival 葉加瀬太郎音楽祭 https://hakasetaroongakusai.com

Hololive Production https://hololivepro.com/en/

Kanda Myōjin Shrine 神田明神 https://www.kandamyoujin.or.jp

Sarume Shrine佐瑠女神社 (within the precinct of Sarutahiko Shrine) https://www.sarutahikojinja.or.jp/english/

Singing Shinto Priest歌う神主 壮紫 https://www.youtube.com/@singingshintopriest2554

Suzue Priestess https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqLAM6nfOTIrlreaAIUY0sA

VSPO Virtual esports project https://vspo.jp/en/

Selected Online References

Japan Foundation, 2019. Dancing with the Gods: kagura performance in Central Europe. Japan Foundation. https://www.jpf.go.jp/e/project/culture/perform/oversea/2019/01-02.html

Kate_T., 2023. Spring event at Kyoto’s Heian Jingu shrine: cherry blossoms and live music. Matcha, 4 April. https://matcha-jp.com/en/11867

Rogers, K., 2022. Female virtual YouTubers are here to collaborate with Tokyo’s Kanda Myojin Shrine in a punny way. Sora News 24, 29 March. https://soranews24.com/2022/03/29/female-virtual-youtubers-are-here-to-collaborate-with-tokyos-kanda-myojin-shrine-in-a-punny-way/

Sano, T., 2019. Arashi fans flock to shrines after pop group announces activity suspension. The Mainichi, 4 February. https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20190204/p2a/00m/0na/028000c

Torikai, S. 2002. Music and dance to welcome the gods: Nukui-bayashi. Nipponia, 15 September, https://web-japan.org/nipponia/nipponia22/en/feature/feature11.html

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