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Old 07-23-2007, 12:06 AM   #2
Rupert Atkinson
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Dojo: Wherever I am.
Location: New Zealand
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 986
United Kingdom
Re: Bowing to Kamidana/Kamiza

When Japanese people learn English they first learn introductions, which are often accompanied by the handshake. If they were to say, we don't do handshakes in Japan, then, they would miss out on something important when trying to do business overseas. Of course, that is a useful action, whereas bowing to the Kamiza may seem not so.

So, what are you going to do? Could you imagine going to a dojo in Japan and saying - "I am not going to bow to the Kamiza because it is meaningless" ??? To Japanese, it has great meaning and they may not understand your point. And even if they did, they would probably not regard you with much respect. Personally, I am not religious at all, but I do show respect when required (when people say prayers at dinner, or bowing to the Kamiza, or whatever).

At one dojo I trained at in Japan the Kamiza contained the ashes of their previous sensei. I guess, you could say he was there. And again, although I am not religious, when I bow to the pic of O Sensei, I feel I am bowing to O Sensei, not the pic.

The problem, I think, is in dojos in the West where most trainees have no idea about Japanese religion. It will be even harder if there is no Japanese terminology in the dojo. And even more difficult if there are a few devout Christians, or others, in the group. Some dojos have no Kamiza and no pic of O Sensei. I am OK with that too.

Last edited by Rupert Atkinson : 07-23-2007 at 12:11 AM.

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