Pilgrimage publicity events


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Pilgrimage temples and the reijōkai or associations of pilgrimage temples, that coordinate activities of pilgrimages such as Saikoku and Shikoku, have been active in publicizing their pilgrimages. In 1987 the Saikoku temples embarked on a nation-wide publicity campaign to commemorate the 1000th anniversary of the (legendary) founding of the pilgrimage. Among the events that took place in the campaign was an exhibition of pilgrimage icons along with a miniature version of the pilgrimage that was set up in various department stores in major cities. The event enabled people to do the pilgrimage in miniature via a sunafumi route where they walked over sachets of soil taken from the temples that were set out in front of icons representing each temple. People could buy new pilgrimage scrolls at the event and "visit" two of the temples that had set up a stall in the exhibition, and get their scrolls stamped as if they had been to the temple itself.

   This event was held at the Kintetsu Abenobashi Department store in May 1987 and was co-sponsored by the Kintetsu company and several media concerns, along with the Saikoku temples.

   For more on sunafumi replicated pilgrimages, click on the first "related image" below and on the second for more on this event. .


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Related Pages

Ian Reader 2013 Pilgrimage in the Marketplace (Routledge),starts with a description of this event and uses it as an entry into a study of pilgrimage marketing and the role of commerce and consumerism in pilgrimage and religious contexts.

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