☆Visiting Suwa Taisha Shrine.
☆Visiting Suwa Taisha Shrine.
We want Suwa Taisha Shrine to stop the Shinto sacrifice ritual of stabbing frogs to death.
Don’t use living creatures!
There were more people than last year.
More people started to be interested in our appeals.
Our opinion and request have never been accepted, but I hope we can discuss this with the shrine in the future.
We continue this activity for an animal that shares with us no common language.
☆Our thoughts on the Shinto ritual at Suwa Taisha Shrine (impaling living frogs).(January 1, 2016)
On January 1, 2016, we visited Suwa Taisha Shrine to request the abolition of "Ikenie“ (“sacrifice”) remaining in Japan.
What is this tradition?
We too think preservation of tradition is important.
But “tradition” should change, depending on what people can accept at the time.
This is how we can preserve the spirit of the tradition.
It is consistent with the history of human wisdom to abolish “Ikenie" (“sacrifice”), and use a substitute.
Though animal sacrifice and animal rituals are part of our traditional culture, "votive tablets" or "clay images" are now used in substitution for live horses.
Suwa Taisha Shrine conducted sacrifices involving the beheading of 75 deer until Meiji period.
But now they use stuffed deer as a substitute.
According to one report, the Meiji government prohibited it as having been too cruel.
But the Suwa Taisha Shrine explaination is that they changed it to follow contemporary trends.
In their museum, they exhibit the deer head and skewered rabbit.
We can see the records of Shinto ritual.
They have already stopped such animal sacrifice, and use substitutes.
We think frog sacrifice rituals shouldn’t use live frogs.
Generally “Ikenie” has changed from human women, children, big animals, small animals, and fish, to food, like rice cakes.
We can say this is the wisdom of people valuing and sparing life.
The Suwa Shrine in Kyoto already uses ceramic substitutes for the frogs.
Ikushima Tarashima Shrine in Nagano enacts shooting a bow and arrow on a bridge rather than killing frogs.
We want to ask for the use of substitutes or enactments as representations of the spirit of hope for abundant harvest.
Such trends are not only found in Japan.
For example, the Gadhimai Festival, in a Nepal temple, which is the world’s largest animal sacrificial slaughter, has been prohibited indefinitely due to the protest of many people.
As for bullfighting in Spain, they are planning events that don’t harm bulls.
(In Spain, already prohibition of bullfighting is increasing, and it’s practice is declining).
Traditional cultural rituals, especially the killing of animals, is changing, being abolished in favour of the use of substitutes or symbolic enactments.
It is possible for tradition to be compatible with animal welfare.
To protect the Shinto frog-hunting ritual of Suwa Taisha Shrine, it is better to avoid cruelty.
“Animal welfare” and “traditional culture and events” don’t require a choice between the two things. It is possible for them to be compatible.
We are not asking for abolishment of the Shinto ritual, but requesting the use of a substitute.
“Ikenie” is not acceptable in international society.
Before we made our appeal to Suwa Taisha Shrine, we and another association asked for this improvement in a letter of inquiry, but their answer was always the same; that it is a traditional Shinto ritual, and they will continue it.
We want the local people and Ujiko (parishioner) to be aware of this issue.
This is why we visited Suwa Taisha Shrine on January 1, and will continue this activity.
We want to ask all of you, in the interest of international movements toward historic change, to be aware that Suwa Taisha Shrine still sacrifices live frogs. The global community is now calling the appropriateness of such religious practices into question.
Our voice is small, but we believe that history will prove us right, perhaps 10 years or 20 years later.
Thank you so much for your cooperation exploring this information.