Arab News Japan
TOKYO: One of Japan’s largest and most famous shrines – not to mention controversial – has been celebrating one of its most famous festivals: the Mitama Festival, which takes place between July 13 and 16 and marks the return of the dead during the O-bon period in the summer.
Inaugurated in 1947, the festival was set up after the conflict of the Second World War to appease the souls of the deceased who sacrificed themselves for the prosperity of the country and their descendants.
This festival is similar to other festivals that exist elsewhere in Asia, particularly in China, and which is transposed here in a syncretic way from Buddhism to Shintoism.
Many tourists and Japanese came to see the 30,000 lanterns adorned with Japanese calligraphy and spectacular designs that illuminate the shrine.
Despite the ongoing Covid pandemic, the public was able to come in large numbers and eat under the lanterns and walk the aisles of the sanctuary, stopping to take selfies in the warm light of the lanterns and stopping in front of the altar of the sanctuary to pray for the return of the deceased in the afterlife.