‘Priests’ Prohibited

Japanese is arguably one of the least religious counties in the world but…*


No priests.() pic.twitter.com/0C3IX9Zf1D— Lee Chapman (@tokyotimes) April 6, 2014

Although Japanese people have almost no interest in religion (reference), the sign prohibiting mendicant monks (not priests) is actually an anti-Chinese sign.
Almost all Japanese believe begging monks are fakes—Illegal Chinese immigrants(reference) without any skills including language and who are just wearing cheap robes and cleverly pretending an oath-of-silence. Since the 1970s, Japan has become so wealthy that begging is a rarity. Nowadays most Japanese would rather (and do) starve rather than ask for a handout or charity.

Monk asking for money” by Julian’s flickr
Creative Commons creative-commons

Technically speaking, these beggars are almost always silent mendicant monks and not “priests” per se. That is, on occasion priests can “beg” for money but generally they actually have to verbally announce themselves in groups with much chanting as well as banging-&-clanging of drums and bells. This practice (shakedown) of we-will-shut-up-if-you-pay-us-for-a-blessing has mostly died out.

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I'm a pale, alien, quadruped who has worked for 25+ years at "Maybe-the-Largest Inc." in Tokyo.

5 thoughts on “‘Priests’ Prohibited”

  1. “Sugamo”?
    Natsukashii (brings back memories)! I lived there from 1985 to 2000. There wasn’t any alms soliciting on the main street, Jizo Dori. Just evil hoards of Soka Gakkai, meh.

  2. There were several fake monks in Tokyo’s Sugamo last September. They blanched when I spoke Chinese* to them, MUAHAHAHAHA.

    *Actually, the monks may have run off
    because my Chinese is so terrible.

    Anyway, check out the area on Google Street and you’ll see the NO MONKS sign next to a mendicant monk collecting money, ha, ha.
    Google Street

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