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Women of the Sacred Groves: Divine Priestesses of Okinawa

Okinawa is the only contemporary society in which women lead the official, mainstream, publicly funded religion. Priestesses are the acknowledged religious leaders within the home, clan, and village--and, until annexation by Japan approximately one hundred years ago, within the Ryukyuan Kingdom. This fieldwork-based study provides a gender-sensitive look at a remarkable religious tradition. Susan Sered spent a year living in Henza, an Okinawan fishing village, joining priestesses as they

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