These aren’t Catholic exorcisms either. Reading through an events schedule for the popular sightseeing destination of Kamakura I came across this event I plan to stay far away from. They advertise that a ritual will take place to exorcise the evil spirits of the first 6 months of the year, and to pray for protection for the future. I know that in the Catholic church if an exorcism is performed it is always in the name of Jesus and because of Jesus the demon leaves, so I am a little curious how other religions manage to get any evil spirits to leave since they aren’t doing it in the name of Christ.
In an answer to my own question I found this article which explains various Japanese monsters and how Buddhist and Shinto priests perform exorcisms.
“If you suspect that your 2DK may shelter a fox ghost under the futon, don’t panic! A large number of exorcists, both Shinto and Buddhist, work in Japan. A Buddhist exorcism is performed by a temple’s chief priest and his assistant, reading an appropriate sutra (the scriptures of Buddhism) and burning a special incense. The priest also carries a shakujo – a wooden staff with metal rings threaded onto it, creating an unearthly sound to scare evil spirits away.”
This gives me a hypothesis as to why bells are somewhat common here. Sometimes you will hear people, usually the elderly or children, who have a small bell in their pack/bag. I asked a friend about that once and they said it was so people could find their keys more easily. That may be so for some people now but I am wondering if the carrying of a bell may be linked to the wooden staff with the metal rings and unearthly sound? Furthermore if you ever climb Mt Fuji and you buy a wooden climbing stick in the gift shop it comes with bells. Bells that were originally intended to keep away evil spirits on a climb up a sacred mountain where gods lived? Hmm.
Then I found this news story
A Japanese man has been arrested along with eight “disciples” on suspicion of fraud, after taking millions of yen in fees for performing exorcism rites on the public.