Japanese Shrine Offers to Dress Foreigners as ‘Maidens’, But Will Some Say Cultural Appropriation?
Female foreigners are flocking to a Japanese shrine that offers an experience package allowing them to play maidens.
Visitors at Amagasaki Ebisu Shrine in Amagasaki, Hyogo Prefecture, play the role of a miko, or a Shinto shrine maiden, for an hour.
Dressed in traditional attire, they learn about a miko’s functions within the shrine, including kagura mai, a sacred dance accompanied by bells and chimes.
The miko dates back to Japan’s prehistoric Jōmon era, when female shamans went into “trances to convey the words of the gods,” according to Japanese site Patternz.
Today, the role has evolved to much simpler tasks such as attending to shrine visitors and dancing kagura. Many women have it as a part-time occupation, SoraNews24 noted.
That being said, not all visiting foreigners come from some spiritual calling. According to Nobuo Otagaki, the shrine’s chief priest, the increasing interest comes as the role in the hit anime film “Your Name” gained popularity, Sankei reported.