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Normal Japanese Animistic Religiosity

Here is a May 10, 2021, news item that made its rounds throughout Japan. It illustrates the normality of animistic practices that vary from town to town and lie at the heart of both Japanese Shinto and Buddhism.

Giant sandals displayed to pray for pandemic's end
“A pair of giant straw sandals has been put on display in a town near Tokyo to pray for an end to the coronavirus pandemic. The sandals, over 1.2 meters wide and about five meters long, were installed along a national highway in Nagatoro Town in Saitama Prefecture on Sunday.
2021_05_10 Giant Sandals
A banner praying for the end to the pandemic was set up alongside the sandals, and a Shinto ritual was held. The prefecture's Chichibu region, where the town is located, has a tradition of hanging straw sandals to drive away plagues. The custom, called "fusegi," involves displaying the sandals at the entrance to farmland. It is still handed down in several places. Legend has it that the sandals scare away the god of plagues by showing it that a giant is nearby.

The president of an association which aims to preserve this tradition said members worked together to create the pair of huge and firm sandals to fight the virus.”

Taken from: https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20210510_10/

Many other news items about Japan and its official perspective on world news via its national news service can be found here:
https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/