IZUMO, Shimane Prefecture--On a day when the gods must have been smiling, a ceremony was held on May 11 to express gratitude to all those involved in the renovation of Izumo Taisha shrine, one of Japan's most important Shinto shrines.
"Master craftsmen of today proceeded with the renovation of the main shrine and other buildings while carrying on the traditional techniques and spirit from past generations," Takamasa Senge, the head priest, said during the ceremony. "The magnificent appearance has been wonderfully resuscitated. I believe the shrine deity is very happy, and it is also a very joyous occasion for those of us at the shrine."
The main building of the shrine, located on the coast of the Sea of Japan, was completed about 265 years ago.
About 800 individuals were invited to the ceremony, including politicians and business executives who supported the renovation project as well as those who were actually involved in the work on the shrine.
Senge presented certificates of gratitude to officials of companies that made donations as well as handled the construction work.
Commemorative gifts were distributed by Hiroshi Okuda, the former head of Keidanren (Japan Business Federation) who served as chairman of a committee backing the renovation.
One of the participants at the ceremony was Kikuhei Oikawa, 67, the president of a lumber company in Ofunato, Iwate Prefecture. He delivered pine lumber for renovation of the main shrine even though his company was damaged by the March 11, 2011, Great East Japan Earthquake.
Senge thanked Oikawa for what he did even as he faced extremely difficult circumstances.
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