WASHINGTON — Shinto priests throughout Japan are preparing to hold commemoration ceremonies on March 11 to mark the one-year anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami that killed an estimated 20,000 people.
The Association of Shinto Shrines has issued a suggested prayer to be read during the ceremonies. That prayer, according to the Rev. Masafumi Nakanishi, a Shinto priest, describes the calamity, pleads that there be no more disasters and asks that people live peacefully.
Nakanishi performed just such a ceremony on Wednesday (Feb. 29) at Georgetown University’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs during a program on the “Shinto response” to the disaster.
Dressed in a traditional robe with tall black hat, Nakanishi bowed, clapped and chanted before an altar, performing a four-part brief ceremony that included a purification ritual as well as an offering of sacred foods: fruits and vegetables, salt and water, sake (rice wine) and seaweed.