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Shrines and Hawaiians of Japanese descent
The relationship between Hawaii and shrines may not be obvious at first, but considering that Hawaii began to admit Japanese immigrants in 1868, it should not be surprising that shrines exist there even today. Compared to the pre-war era, the number of shrines in countries other than Japan has declined, but their function in the lives of people of Japanese descent as community centers continues to this day. Yet, as the number of those removed from their Japanese roots by several generations and who no longer speak Japanese increases, the number of those of Japanese descent at shrines is accordingly decreasing. In contrast to Hawaiian Buddhism, which now bears a strong American imprint, shrines still maintain their traditional form. During ceremonies, the ceremonial garb of priests (jinshoku) is the same as that used in Japan, and the prayers (norito) are also recited in their original Japanese. George Washington has been included in the pantheon of kami (saijin) worshipped at Hawaiian shrines, and some shrines even fly the Stars and Stripes, but that does not necessarily mean that the orientation of Hawaiian shrines' itself has been Americanized. How the sentiment of Japanese-Americans towards their Japanese cultural heritage will change is uncertain, but it will likely determine the future direction of Shinto traditions and shrines in Hawaii.
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