A Small Peek At Japanese Shinto

David Trammel's picture

I found this article on the self help guru Marie Kondo, her push to declutter and how it relates to the Japanese religion Shinto very interesting.

What White, Western Audiences Don’t Understand About Marie Kondo’s ‘Tidying Up’

“Clap three times,” she instructed me, “so the kami know you’re here.”

Kami are Shinto spirits present everywhere — in humans, in nature, even in inanimate objects. At an early age, I understood this to mean that all creations were miracles of a sort. I could consider a spatula used to cook my eggs with the wonder and mindful appreciation you’d afford a sculpture; someone had to invent it, many human hands and earthly resources helped get it to me, and now I use it every day. According to Shinto animism, some inanimate objects could gain a soul after 100 years of service ―a concept know as tsukumogami ― so it felt natural to acknowledge them, to express my gratitude for them.

“Tell the kami-sama what you’re grateful for,” my mother would say to me, referring to God or the supreme kami, “and what you want.”


I don't know how well the author's words convey the spirit of Shinto, but I know that I thank my computer for working and often praise my machines at work for a well done job. Here's hoping they both get a soul in a hundred years.