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ISE — JAPAN’S ISE SHRINES: Ancient but New, by Svend Hvass. Holte: Aristo Press, 146 pp., profusely illustrated, 6,000 yen.

Ise holds one of the most important Shinto shrines in Japan. Enshrining the ancestral gods of the Imperial family, it has a long and varied political career. Such was its power that even stingy Oda Nobunaga felt obliged to donate huge sums of money to revive the custom of reconstructing the shrines — an event that had not taken place throughout the previous 100 years.

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