A Shinto priest talks about the power of words.


From ancient times there has been a belief in the psychic power of words.

For example, you may say to a person “I hate you!” even though you really don’t. Then you apologize to the person later.

I think many people have experienced something similar to this.

In this case, the person who was told they were hated accepts the apology and the person who said, “I hate you” is relieved.

However, the person who was told “I hate you!” never forgets.

This is the psychic power, or “teeth,” of words. You say sorry but the words “hate” and “sorry” don’t go away. So even when you apologize to the person, the power of the word “hate” won’t disappear.

One person bullies and another gets bullied. The person who got bullied usually remembers that, and is traumatized, for life because of the power of the word.

The chants of the Shinto priest use this power of words to purify and heal.

Oharai are rituals of purification and the chants the priest uses to purify are called Oharaekotoba. Kotoba is the Japanese word for “words.”