Students preparing for entrance exams take part in Shinto shrine ritual

NHK -- Oct 19

Students preparing to take school entrance examinations next spring are visiting a Shinto shrine, which honors the god of learning, to receive blessings.

Dazaifu Tenmangu is located in southwestern Japan's Fukuoka Prefecture. It enshrines Sugawara-no-Michizane, an aristocrat who lived from the 9th through the 10th centuries. The shrine holds a major ritual every year on October 18, the day on which Sugawara-no-Michizane became a scholar of the highest rank.

The event serves as a special occasion to pray for the success of those who will take school entrance exams.

On Wednesday, about 350 students from the prefecture and elsewhere took part in the rite, along with their families. They prayed for success.

A third-year high school student said he prayed to the god. He said he now feels that he is likely to pass the exam.

Throughout the month, the shrine's tower gate is decorated with images of carps and a dragon. The images are based on an ancient Chinese legend about a gateway to success. Worshipers are allowed to pass through the gate and pray that they will pass their examinations.

Oct 19 (KBC NEWS in JAPAN) - 学問の神様、菅原道真公が御祭神の太宰府天満宮で、制服姿の受験生が神妙な面持ちでこうべを垂れました。  ...continue reading