November 18, 2019/ Time to be announced

Spirit of Japan: “Shinto & Gagaku” – Japanese traditional religion and music

Introduction of Shinto and Gagaku performance

You may think Japan is the country of Buddhism. In fact, there are various Buddhist temples in Kyoto, Nara and everywhere in Japan, and the concept of “Zen” is also familiar. On the other hand, quite many Japanese enjoy Christmas and Halloween, and visit Shinto shrines from time to time.

Shinto is Japanese indigenous religion, which does not have a founder, dogmas and a holy scripture. However, it has been kept as a part of Japanese life (custom) for more than a few thousand years, and for example, millions of people visit Meiji Jingu Shinto shrine in Tokyo for the New Year’s first shrine visit to make prayers.

Shinto priests of this Meiji Jingu will come to UCLA, and have an introductory talk about Shinto, the concept of the relation with nature as you can see the forest (picture) surrounding Meiji Jingu, and the connection with the life of Japanese people.


Gagaku –traditional music- has an important role at Shinto ritual ceremonies. Slow and mellow music will lead you to feel Japanese culture rooted into the ancient times of the country. In this event, some music will be performed by three musical instruments (Sho, Hichiriki, Ryuteki). Furthermore, performers (Shinto priests) will give you instructions if you want to challenge/try to play it!