JAPAN SAN MARINO FRIENDSHIP SOCIETY
JSFS Japan San Marino Friendship Society was founded in 2001 by Prof. Hideaki Kase, Japanese diplomatic critic, writer, director.
After visiting the Republic of San Marino, Prof. Kase has undertaken relations with the Embassy of San Marino in Japan for the birth of a group of Friends of the oldest republic in the world and of the oldest imperial dynasty in the world.
The notoriety of Prof. Kase within the Japanese institutions and its commitment to social, have given birth to an association that now counts more than one thousand associates.
In 2011 the JSFS began a fundraiser for the construction of a monument of Shinto style, typical architecture of Japan, which could commemorate the victims of the earthquake of Tohoku (Japan) in March of the same year, where about 29,000 people lost their lives. The JSFS association wanted the monument to be located in the Republic of San Marino, a place of ancient freedom and international breath.
On June 22, 2014, it was inaugurated in San Marino, at Podere Lesignano in Serravalle, the first and only official Shinto monument in Europe. At the inauguration there were many personalities of the political, diplomatic, academic and industrial Japanese world, including Mrs. Yoko Kishi, mother of the current prime minister of Japan Shinzō Abe.
SAN MARINO JINJA
Shinto is the indigenous faith of the Japanese. It is a way of life and a way of thinking that has been an integral part of Japanese culture since ancient times. It is the foundation for the yearly life-cycles, beginning with the New Year’s Day visit Japanese pay to a Shinto shrine to wish for good luck.
Observing the Shinto faith means worshipping ancestors as guardians of the family. It also means showing respect for myriad Kami- a word that corresponds to “deity” in English- residing in the natural world. There are Kami of the mountains, and Kami of the sea. Kami are all around us, in every thing and every person. They may be worshipped anywhere, but many people visit Shinto shrines, called Jinja, to pray, cleansing their hands and mouth at the entrance to purify the body and mind.
Shinto places great value in the virtues of purity and honsetry, yet as faith, Shinto has no dogma, doctrine, or founder. Its origins can be seen in the relationship between the ancient Japanese and the power they found in the natural world. It is a relationship that continues to this day, defined by a great reverence for nature’s bounty. Only by both receiving the blessings of nature and accepting its rage can we maintain a harmonious connection to the world around us.
Shinto has shaped the past as an integral part of Japan’s cultural heritage. It will continue to shape the future through the deep influence it exerts on Japanese thought. Yet, as a fundamental aspect of daily life in Japan, the focus of Shinto is on the present. For honoring the Kami, and receiving their blessings, there is no time but now.
Text of Prof. Hideaki KASE (President of the Japan-San Marino Friendship Society)
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