Yoga practitioners moving to the next level

Nov 27, 2013

Yoga practitioners moving to the next level

There is a “natural” convergence among yoga practitioners in Japan: Those who have practiced it primarily for slimming or health are becoming more interested in its spiritual aspects, while those who have approached it as a philosophy are more actively engaging in physical exercise, ...

Priests take up pen to stop suicides

Nov 21, 2013

Priests take up pen to stop suicides

To help turn the tide against suicide, a volunteer group of Buddhist priests, both men and women, writes letters to distraught people to help keep them from taking their own lives. People considering suicide “write to us because they want to live,” said Yusen ...

Shinto priest blazes trail as a community activist

Oct 23, 2013

Shinto priest blazes trail as a community activist

In these challenging times, Shinto priests can’t afford to confine themselves to the quiet and peace of their shrines. On a Sunday afternoon in September, Mitsunobu Okada, chief priest of Sugimori Shrine in Higashihiroshima, Hiroshima Prefecture, was talking to a group of children as ...

Remote resting place: Islet a site for ash scattering

Aug 29, 2013

Remote resting place: Islet a site for ash scattering

Kazura Island in the Sea of Japan is attracting interest from people looking for an alternative to ash interment, as the uninhabited islet has become a dedicated site for ash scattering. An affiliate of a funeral service company in Tokyo started to offer ash ...

Temples seek tighter community ties

Jun 27, 2013

Temples seek tighter community ties

A new generation of Buddhist priests is working closely with ordinary people to regenerate communities as population shrinkage threatens the future of their temples. On a Saturday night in May, a group of five men, mostly in their 30s, sat down at Saikoji Temple ...

Christian school trains farming leaders

May 28, 2013

Christian school trains farming leaders

A Christian academy in the countryside is seeking to improve the quality of life in poor farming villages in Asia and Africa by giving new generations of community leaders the latest agricultural skills and knowledge. Established in 1973, the Asian Rural Institute operates agricultural ...

Shinto trying to stay relevant in global, green era

Jan 15, 2013

Shinto trying to stay relevant in global, green era

One morning last fall, a group of around a dozen people of various nationalities and religious faiths visited Kanda Myojin Shrine in central Tokyo. The diplomats and their families from various countries in Europe, Latin America and Africa, including Luxembourg, Romania and Costa Rica, ...