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The shrines’ public status has not always been gentle. In the years leading to the World War II, Ise becomes inextricably bound with the imperialistic and nationalism conquest. Even after the war modernists and their allies seized the symbol of the antiquity of Japanese culture as the touchstone for their own design.
Close to 120 shrines are contained in the site but the main ones are Geku which is the outer shrine and Naiku which is the inner shrine though Naiku stands out of the rest with its magnificent architectural buildings and religious capacity to the pilgrims (Saka, pp 1).
The inner shrine of Naiku that is dedicated to one of the Sun Goddess is one of the Japan most famous architectural and cultural sites bustling with worshippers from the ancient days to present times. Naiku Shrine is at the center of sightseeing in Ise, Mie Prefecture. The locals refer the place to as Jingu meaning the Shrine as an legitimate name, and the Sun Goddess Amaterasu O-mikami is preserved there. Yearly, an overwhelming seven million worshippers flocks the shrine for cultural services.
When it comes to Japan’s indigenous religion, Naiku scores the highest as it is the most revered shrine complex of all that exists in Naiku. Established in the 5th century, it was built in honor of the sun of the goddess, Amaterasu-omikami, whose Japanese imperial family is believed to have descended. The grounds are ancient, but there has been a concerted effort to rebuild the structures every twenty years in a process called shikinen sengu that is done ingeniously using the timber and glue.
According to Shoki Nihon, close to 2000 years ago the daughter of Emperor Suinin, devine Yamatohime mikoto set out from Mt. Miwa in search for a place to set up a lasting location for the worship of the goddess Amaterasu-omikami (Hardacre & Helen, pp 2). Wondering for twenty years through the region of Mino and Ohmi, her search finally led her to Ise, the
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2. Yome means a Bride or daughter-in-law in Japanese or a more polite term would be ‘oyome-san’. As per tradition, the bride would join the groom’s family, instead of the other way around. 3. The word Yoshi generally means ‘alright’ in order to continue a particular conversation.
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The Ise is officially known as Jingu in Japan. It is composed of two main shrines known as Naiku and Geku (Tate, p.227). Naiku is known as the inner shrine while Geku is the outer shrine which is separated by fence. The innermost house of the Naiku is believed to hold the earthly representation of goddess Amaterasu.
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