Repose of souls (鎮魂)

Repose of souls ("chinkon", or "tamashizume") refers to the quieting of a persons soul. Today the word 'chinkon' means to console the soul (spirit) of a deceased person, that is to say, it means essentially the same thing as 'to memorialize'. However, the word 'chinkon' was originally read as 'mitamashizume', and indicated a Shinto ritual performed to repose the soul of a living person in the person's body. In the broader scope of its meaning, the ritual called 'tamafuri' is included under the repose of souls; however, in a repose of souls cermony performed in the palace, two types of rituals are performed: the chinkon and tamafuri rituals.

According to Shinto, the soul of a living person is unstable, and if ignored it will become separated from the body. The ritual for quieting unrestfulness and reposing the soul in the body is called 'tamashizume'. On the other hand, the ritual 'tamafuri' is a ritual performed to stir a sould into an active state from outside of the body.

It should be noted that in his book titled 'Repose of Souls Theory of Shinobu ORIGUCHI' (Shunjusha Publishing Company, 1990), the author Hirofumi TSUSHIRO maintains that the concept of the repose of souls represents the foundation of Shinto, and that it consists of a greater body of thought than is generally considered to be the case; he stresses that ORIGUCHI's famous Marebito theory (theory of visitation by a divine being bringing spiritual gifts and wisdom) and the theory of repose of souls are interchangeable.

Repose of souls ceremony

A repose of souls festival is a ceremony perfomed within the palace on the day before Niiname-sai festival (ceremonial offering by the Emperor of newly-harvested rice to the deities) for the repose of the soul of the emperor.