Heian Jingū was established in the late 19th century as a commemorative monument to mark the 1100th anniversary of the founding of the Heian capital. With the enshrinement of the spirit of Kanmu Tennō, who was deified specifically for this purpose, and Heian Jingū’s designation as major imperial shrine (kanpei taisha), the complex also became one of the highest-ranking shrines in the newly devised national hierarchy of Shinto shrines. This paper will highlight a number of key moments in Heian Jingū’s existence to address how the shrine became a site of production for both regional and national identity. Through Heian Jingū, a variety of actors created a multitude of images, narratives, and representations of these identities, which themselves varied over time. It will thus become clear that from its inception until the present day, Heian jingū has been the product of a complex, sophisticated, and continuous process of (re)invention and transformation, guided by the historical, social, and ideological contexts within which it evolved.
10 28 2019
Emperor and Shrine: Commemoration, Ideology, and Identity