Seattle Shinto Priest Stresses Value of Tradition

September 28, 2006

Source: The Daily Yomiuri

On September 28, 2006 The Daily Yomiuri reported, "Shintoism has the power to enrich a multicultural society through its nature-based principles, an American Shinto priest said at a symposium in Nara earlier this month. Koichi Barrish, chief priest at the Tsubaki Grand Shrine of America near Seattle and the first foreign Shinto priest, made the comment in a speech at the symposium on Shintoism. 'Sometimes people say Shinto is primitive because it worships the sun,' he said. 'But when we consider that we receive life from the sun, it is actually very scientific. Obviously, everything that gives us power on Earth is related to the sun.' Barrish's shrine is located on a 6.8-hectare lot encompassing a mountain worshiped by Native Americans and a river where he has purified himself almost daily for the last 15 years. In a video screened during the symposium, Barrish was shown presiding over Shinto rites for marriage, safe delivery, prosperous business and recovery from illness. His shrine is regularly attended by about 250 families, mostly American, and also attracts many visitors from a variety of other backgrounds. On New Year's Day, about 1,000 people visit the shrine to pray for happiness and prosperity in the year ahead."