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A formulaic statement in the classical language addressed to the deities present at a Shinto ceremony. Reflecting the early Japanese view that a spirit resides in words, norito are considered a particularly sacred form of speech originating in mythical times. There are various types of norito: those expressing thanksgiving, those seeking the blessings or protection of the deities, those commemorating a particular legendary or historical event in the religious calendar, and those making specific prayers for individuals. (adapted from Japan: An Illustrated Encyclopedia. Tokyo: Kodansha, 1993)

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