Available literature demonstrates that in the Japanese traditional religion of Shinto, the presence of Kami (Gods, spirits) can be manifested to people in various ways and using a multiplicity of objects, such as the sun, mountains, rocks, water bodies, certain animals, trees and even mortal human beings (Yomakoge 67-69).
To experience the presence of Kami, it is required that people, under the guidance of traditional priests known as Kannushi, choose an appropriate place such as a Shinto shrine and maintain a deep and open-hearted sincerity (Yomakoge 74).
In my view, the civil coming-of-age ceremony, which is held annually to recognize the adulthood of individuals who will reach the age of twenty during the calendar year, can be given as a personal account of the manifestation of the presence of Kami owing to the vital energy and power one experiences upon engaging in the ceremony.
The ceremony was led by a Kannushi, who is charged with the responsibility of establishing a favorable relationship between the Kami and the people who follow the Japanese traditional religion (Yomakoge 73-75).
The ceremony was conducted in a mountain that is considered as sacred since people have a deep conviction and belief that one or more Kami descend to the mountain once appeased through following the right procedures.
The civil coming-of-age ceremony conducted by the followers of the Shinto religion can be compared with thanks-giving ceremony, where Christians present themselves in spirit to God to offer their gratitude and seek for direction.
Individuals are inspired to indicate the manifestation of the presence of Kami in diverse ways.
Many people use the Jinja (special shrine thought to be the dwelling place of Kami) to get inspiration with the view to indicating the presence of Kami (Yomakoge 65), but things such as the thundering waterfall at the heart of Fuji, the intricate minutiae of a beautiful flower, or even the sound of wind moaning past the trees, can inspire people to feel the presence of Kami.
Owing to the fact that human beings are considered very much a part of nature in the Shinto religion, the presence of Kami can also be experienced in vehicles, music, education and other creations or achievements of human labor.
It is plausible to note that the fundamental energies of power sensed in each of these awing presences or manifestations are not the Kami per se; rather the very presence of this power is the Kami (Parkes 312).
In sketching out ways that can be used to welcome Kami in the above mentioned places/things, it is thought useful to involve the traditional Kannushi to appease the spiritual agents into the human community.
However, available literature demonstrates that traditional priests or Kannushi are increasingly losing relevance due to their overreliance on academic scholarship at the expense of spiritual sensitivity (Yomakoge 75).
To welcome Kami into a particular place, an individual must demonstrate good faith, purity of the heart, and have a deep conviction and belief about the presence of Kami in his or heart.
Indeed, the Kannushi must “have a reverential attitude with a feeling of awe and to prostrate himself in front of Kami. This reverential attitude, combined with a feeling of awe, can probably be described in the broadest sense as an apologetic attitude” (Yomakoge 75).
Consequently, individuals can welcome Kami by demonstrating utmost respect to the spirits, orienting themselves toward a reverential (apologetic) attitude, showing integrity of character and cleanliness, and also espousing a deep conviction and belief in a faith that advocates humility, sincerity and prayerful attitude (Yomakoge 76-78).
Parkes, Graham. “Stone and Sacred Space in China and Japan: Implications for out Treatment of the Earth.” Nature, Space and the Sacred: Transdisciplinary Perspectives. Ed. Sigurd Bergmann. New York, NY: Ashgate Publishing, 2009. 303-312. Print.
Yomakoge, Motohisa. The Essence of Shinto: Japan’s Spiritual Heart. Tokyo: Kodansha International, 2006. Print.