The shrine

click on images for full-size:

Office building and shrine torii at Ebisu Garden Place, Tokyo

Praying at the Ebisu Garden Place shrine

Behind the headquarters of the beer company there is a Shinto shrine, nicely askew to the overall plan. While I was watching, an old man came, performed the ritual shrine actions, and went away. The shrine shares the bright new look of the whole complex. So is it "out of place" in the same way as the Chateau?

The shrine probably started in a rural field or copse, then was surrounded by gradually thickening development. This commercial setting is just one more changed setting, and the local kami is likely to survive long after Ebisu Garden Place will have been rebuilt to still other uses. Shinto has lasted in part because it doesn't make many vulnerable cognitive claims. Its old animism becomes a modern wish for luck and a way of dealing with the unknown. Its rituals survive as part of what it means to be Japanese today. So again we are wondering how identities get maintained in today's world. The Chateau is thinned down to a set of easy associations in its new setting. The shrine changes hardly at all, but what would happen if we built such a shrine in the French countryside?