2019’s Memorial Service for the Victims of the 2011 Tōhoku Earthquake and Tsunami

February 20, 2019

We will hold a Shintō memorial service on Sunday, March 10th for the victims of the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan in 2011. This ceremony will be performed as part of the “Love to Nippon” event. Please come and pray with us for the spirits of victims.

When: Sunday, March 10th

12.00pm – 12.20pm: Irei-sai / Memorial Service

12.20pm – 2pm: Open to the Public

Where: Los Angeles Police Department Headquarters

100 W 1st St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

Message from a Shintō Priest:

Shintō is the basis of Japanese culture and customs. From ancient times, the Japanese have believed there are deities in everything, and paid their respects by building Jinja (Shintō shrines) in places where those deities are believed to reside. Japanese fishermen, whose livelihoods depend on the ocean, strongly believe in the spirits of the ocean and pay their respects in this Shintō tradition. Many fishermen and their families were victims of the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami in 2011.

In this ceremony we will also be honoring the victims of the Kumamoto earthquake of 2016 and the Hokkaidō earthquake of 2018.  Unlike the Tōhoku earthquake, these disasters primarily affected people living in mountainous areas and close to the natural forests where Shintō deities are believed to reside.  As Shintō priests, it is our duty to calm these natural spirits both at sea and on land.

For over 800 years, Shusse Inari Jinja has been located in Shimane Prefecture, where all of the deities in Japan are said to gather once a year. Even though Shimane is geographically far from Tōhoku, Kumamato, and Hokkaidō, we share the same respect for Shinto deities. As a Shinto priest from Shusse Inari Jinja and Shusse Inari Shrine of America, I would like to perform a ceremony of requiem to bring peace to the spirits of the victims of this tragedy.

Our service will take roughly 20 minutes, beginning with a purification ritual and continuing with offerings and prayers for the victims.  Although 20 minutes may seem like a long time, each element of the service is important, and skipping or shortening any portion would be disrespectful to both the spirits as well as the victims we are honoring.

Rev. Izumi Hasegawa

Shinto Shrine of Shusse Inari in America

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