Setsubun (February 3rd) is New Years in the lunar calendar, it is the day a new season begins. From ancient times, the Japanese people have prayed for purification, and to be rid of the previous year’s Kegare. New Year’s rituals are for cleansing and refreshing of energy for their spirit. Kegare means “withered spirit.” During the year, the energy of people’s spirit gets low due to tiredness, stress, etc. Shusse Inari Shrine of America provides traditional ritual services for purifying and recharging the spirit.  One of the ritual actions taken for this is the use of Hitogata. (Paper shape of human; Please see illustration). Please write your name and age on the Hitogata, then wipe the Hitogata on the body part you want to improve or renew. For example, wipe your knee if you have knee pain, or wipe your head if you want to be smarter, etc.

Finally, hand us the Hitogata before the ceremony if you plan to attend the Setsubun ceremony. We will hold 2019’s Setsubun ceremony on Feb. 1st at Montessori International Academy (2717 S. Halladay St., Santa Ana, CA), details can be found on our Newsletter, website, and social media.

If you do not plan on attending, please mail the Hitogata back to us with application form. Please print clearly since we read them during the ceremony. In Shinto, it is believed that the Hitogata represents the person concerned, so in the ceremony it carries all their Kegare.

The service fee for this purifying and recharging the spirit at Setsubun is minimum $10 per person (For our shrine members there is no fee for this purifying and recharging the spirit service, since it is included in the membership fee).

If you are interested in this service, please email us to further information. Hitogata need to be received no later than January 31st.

We held Saitan-sai on January 1st at Little Tokyo for praying everybody’s prosperity, safe and healthy life as well as world peace. We wish you a new year filled with prosperity and happiness!

Arigato for all to come and pray at our booth. Arigato for volunteers to help our booth where was extremely popular in the event.

This year, we will start to organize 奉賛会Hōsankai which is a group of contributors for our shrine.

Many people have asked us the location for Shusse Inari Shrine of America and wish to visit to pray. Since Los Angeles is one of the highest land price area, we need huge help to make it happen. So that Hōsankai takes part of fundraising project for permanent place (or regular place or facility) of our Shrine. We hope you can play big role to help for fundraising and spread the word about our project to people who are interested in Shinto.

At the permanent (or regular place) of our Shrine, we would like to hold not only Omatsuri (ceremonies) and Gokitō (services) but also various events such as Japanese language class, culture class, Japanese Mythology class, exhibitions and En musubi party as well as Oharae-no-kotoba writing class, making Chino-wa, Shime-nawa, Shime-kazari and Kadomatsu.

We will announce our Hōsankai launch information when it is ready.

今年もよろしくお願いします。

May the Shusse Inari Spirits be with you!

Rev. Izumi Hasegawa

Shinto Shrine of Shusse Inari in America

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