FAQ 19-20

Question 19

I decided to attach a household shinto altar to the wall of my house. Visiting a DIY store many times to find a right shelf board, I managed to set a new one today. I live in a small apartment. There is a bedroom in the direction of Kimon(鬼門),the quarter lying to the northeast of one’s positon, which is the most quiet place in my house, and I attached the altar on the wall of the room with its front facing the southwest .  I put a Tanzaku(短冊), a short strip of paper, under the altar with its front facing the different direction from the altar. As I found out after I finished the setting, a bed is in front of the altar and lying on the bed I see the front of the altar in the direction of the upper right. I heard that Kimon is a passage for deities. When a deity comes into my house, isn’t it rude to make the deity see me sleeping? And also, is it OK to have intercourse on the bed located in such a place ? I’ll sleep in another room tonight.

  • attach 付ける
  • household shinto altar 神棚
  • shelf  board 棚
  • manage to~ なんとかして〜する
  • upper right 右上
  • passage  通り道
  • deity 神
  • have intercourse 性交渉を持つ


It’s no problem. While we sleep, we’re going to the spirit world that has something to do with us. A bed is a kind of sacred place. Intercourse is described as one of the sacred shinto rituals in Japanese myths and it’s called Ukehi(ウケヒ), a sacramental act for having a baby. Sexual intercourse with a contraceptive device is also no problem. Intercourse of a married couple makes a kind of sacred ritual like Izanagi(イザナギ)and Izanami(イザナミ).

Deities understand the physical limitation of a house. But keep your room clean as much as possible so that there is no dust. It is rude to make a deity see a household shinto altar covered with dust. The holy energy of a deity comes into a well-cleaned place, while low-level spirits whose figure is one of an animal love dirty places. So you have to be careful. It’s up to us what kind of spirits we attract.

  • the spirit world 霊界
  • have something to do with A Aを何か関係がある
  • sacred 神聖な
  • describe A as B AをBと述べる
  • shinto ritual 神事
  • sacramental 神聖な
  • contraceptive device 避妊具
  • limitation 限界
  • dust ホコリ
  • cover 覆う
  • low-level 低級の
  • up to A A次第
  • attract 引き付ける

Question 20

I heard that women on their period must not visit a shrine. Thinking it’s true of a household shinto altar, I haven’t taken care of the altar when I’m on period since last year. Am I allowed to take care of it when I have my period?

  • on one’s period 生理中の
  • must not~ 〜してはいけない
  • be true of A Aに当てはまる


That’s just a superstition. Menstruation is the same as excretion and has no special meaning. If the superstition were true, men would be forbidden visiting any shrine on a day they defecate. It’s no problem for women during menstruation to visit a shrine or take care of a household shinto altar.

  • superstition 迷信
  • menstruation 生理
  • excretion 排泄
  • meaninig 意味
  • forbid 禁じる
  • dedecate 大便をする