Watch the Short Film
Summer Festivals in Osaka, Japan
Visit any city or town in Japan during the summer months, and you are likely to find a local neighborhood festival in progress. These celebrations abound in Japan, and normally take place at a local Shinto shrine.
What on Earth is a Shinto shrine? Deeply embedded in the Japanese culture, the Shinto tradition is essentially based in acknowledging our relationship and place within nature, and expressing gratitude for the elements and aspects of this nature.
The festival in the film above takes place at Sumiyoshi Grand Shrine, an 1,800 year old shrine in Osaka, dedicated watching over those at sea. People of all ages from the local community take part in performances, purification ceremonies, and a 5km long procession that culminates with a dip in the river.
We need not visit Japan to experience this way of thinking. Indeed, the cultural ideal of living in harmony with nature, is not unique to Japan or to the Shinto tradition. Globally, most indigenous people that we know of — from North America to Africa — maintain very similar foundations and beliefs, as do the roots of both Eastern and Western religions. Truly, these understandings are something universal; they are also something that the world could use a bit more of today.