Shinto Priests at Meiji Jingu

Nov 25th, 2008 | By | Category: Photo Gallery, Temples & Shrines, Tokyo and Vicinity

This shot of traditionally dressed Shinto Priests parading at Meiji-Jingu Shrine in the Harajuku area of Tokyo was captured by Danielle who recently made a trip to the shrine’s Autumn Festival and it is with pleasure that we share it with you at The Nihon Sun.  Thanks Danielle!

Meiji Jingu Shinto Priests

In her own words:

“This shot was taken at Meiji Jingu in Tokyo on Nov 3rd 2008, the final day of the Autumn Festival. While watching a musical performance on a temporary stage at the crossroads, without any signal as far as I was aware, the Japanese people started to turn from the stage and look down the road toward the shrine. It seemed strangely rude behavior for the Japanese since the musicians were still playing and neither I nor the other gaijin (foreigners) noticing the change and peering in the same direction could see anything down the road.

After a minute or so the musicians, too, ceased and the whole crowd in front of the stage shifted their focus away from the stage, many leaving prime positions to line up along the road, and a mood of solemn expectation settled on the crowd. It was a good several minutes before these priests came into view and another few till they reached us and the crowd was completely silent all the while. As they neared the Japanese began to bow causing several gaijin to check themselves and lower their cameras until the Japanese themselves straightened and raised their own cameras.

At this point a group of large gaijin crowded in front of me to take shots and my view was blocked. Before I got my new beauty, this would have annoyed me no end but I just switched my camera to live-view and held it up over the shoulders of two of the rude men and watched through my viewfinder and snapped this shot – hooray for live-view!”

Photo details: Pentax K20D, Tamron 18-250 lens

You can find more of Danielle’s photography on her Flickr page and observations on life as an expat wife and aspiring writer in Japan at her blog Narrative Disorder.

This and other great images of Japan can be found in The Nihon Sun Japan Photo Gallery.

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  1. Nice composition on that shot.

    I would have told the people who stood in front of you to move!

  2. Jason - you gotta love these kind of happy accidents. It is a great shot. When I was shooting a Yabusame event earlier this year I had a number of shots with a guys elbow in them and all I could manage was a disgusted look his way - but the guy beside me with the great gear told him off in Japanese which was kind of neat. Sometimes it pays to be a girl ?

  3. No doubt it helps to have professional or at least professional looking gear when it comes to the general public not getting in the way of your shots. I noticed this yesterday when hoisting up my new 80-200mm lens, people on the sidewalk actually walked behind me or stopped completely. I was surprised, but pleased!

  4. Great looking photo.

  5. Thanks guys, and like Shane I just can’t find it in me to tell people to push off lol. Mind you it is only ever gaijin that get in front of me here, even if I’m just using my little snapshot digi - I’m often realizing people are waiting for me just out of shot and saying “Oh! Douzo, douzo.” and ushering them through - sometimes I see a glimpse of disappointment and when I get my shots home I see those same people had been just barely on the edge of a shot posing nonchalantly lol!

  6. @danielle

    I’ve noticed too that Japanese have been fairly good lately about letting me get a shot even in the middle of a sidewalk, but on the other hand I still have tons of people walking into shots.

    Wish you wouldn’t use the g-word though. Every time I read it, especially when a non-Japanese person uses it, I cringe like Ron Weasly when he hear’s Harry say “Voldemort” out loud. My friends and I have long ago adopted another term to refer to non-Japanese people, though it may not suitable to repeat here.

  7. @jason lol I think you’ll have to get over that one, there is simply no other word to succinctly describe a non-Japanese person who is in Japan at that moment. I know some people use it derogatorily but it needed be used as such for it simply means “not one of us” and that’s what we are. I am confused, though, you ask me not to use “gaijin” because it makes you feel bad and yet the only alternative you offer is so appalling it can’t be repeated here? Do you only refer to non-Japanese in Japan in a derogatory way? Doesn’t that include you?

    A not-unrelated aside - Everyone should be shouting “Voldemort” from the rooftops - the fear is what gives him his power. Voldemort! Voldemort! Voldemort! (omg what’s that horrible THING that’s just appeared…)

  8. @Danielle,

    Well, the word my friends and I use is not that bad, it could be repeated here. We noted that perhaps it is a cultural phenomena that the minority adapts the derogatory word the majority uses to describe the minority, even if the majority has long stopped using that derogatory word publicly. It’s just that we don’t use the g-word. We use an American colloquialism.

    Personally, I much prefer the word foreigner to be used in conversation than the g-word. I guess the best term would be to use “non-Japanese resident.”

  9. Well I guess I’ll have to leave you Americans to your Americanisms then. I’m going to keep using the word in a neutral sense in the same way so many others do (you are the first person to complain about my use of it on the web or in person) but I do think it’s a pity you can’t see that giving in to those who use it derogatorily is giving in to more than just a word but encouraging people to accept that all foreign things are negative.
    “Live as though the world is as it should be, to show the world how it can be.” :)

  10. […] also contributed Shinto Priests at Meiji Jingu to the Symbolic Japan section of photo […]

  11. Why not use “gaikokujin” (roughly “foreign-country person”) instead of the dreaded G-word? It’s a bit more polite… Or maybe “less controversial” would be a more accurate description?

  12. Dave - Thanks for your comment. I cannot speak for Danielle as that was her choice of word, however, I don’t find the term gaijin, or as you call it “the dreaded G-word”, that controversial or offensive. That said, this and many other words can be insulting and derogatory if uttered in a certain tone or in specific situations but I haven’t yet run across one in almost six years living as a foreigner in Japan.

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