Saturday, June 19, 2010

Miko Group Konohanasakuya

While surfing on the Web, I ran across an interesting article about a newly formed "miko group".

Miko, as you may already know, are the young women, usually in red and white, who assist at Shinto shrines. The English translation is often "shrine maiden" or "shrine attendant". Back in the old days families who could usually sent one of their daughters to be a miko and serve at the local Shinto shrine, and considered it an honor to do so.

After WWII, when Shinto saw its number of active participants drop like a rock (long story for another post), it gradually became harder to find miko. By the time I moved there in 2002, miko had become a part-time job for young women, much the same as working at Starbucks or the mall. One of my students had been one when she was younger, and told me the ads often ask for "classically beautiful" girls.

Taking this idea of the miko job one step further is "Konohanasakuya," a group of six models and TV personalities that did a 3-day miko training camp and are now hoping to make it in the show business world as a miko performance group. Many modern Japanese only have a passing interest in Shinto outside of wedding ceremonies and New Year's visits, and perhaps this group will help bring more interest back to it.

No comments: