THE ORIGIN OF OUR NAME - SHINREI DOJO
Our dojo name was a gift from the Reverend Yukiyasu Yamamoto, the 97th Generation Guji/High Priest of in Suzuka City, Mie, Japan. Alvarez Sensei met the Reverend Yamamoto at Tsubaki America Shrine in Stockton, CA in 1990.
The Tsubaki America Shrine was established in 1986 in Stockton, CA by the Reverend Dr. Yukitaka Yamamoto, the 96th High Priest of Tsubaki Grand Shrine in Japan. The Tsubaki America shrine was the first Shrine to be built on North American soil. A series of Priests from Tsubaki Grand Shrine in Japan served at Tsubaki America, introducing Jinja Shinto to the US. Alvarez Sensei is honored to have as friends the Reverend Yukiyasu Yamamoto, as well as Reverend Hitoshi Iwasaki, Reverend Tetsuji Ohiai, and Reverend Yukihiko Tsumura, who were the resident priests at Tsubaki America when the shrine was in Stockton, which is close to Livermore. For over 10 years Alvarez Sensei had close relationships with all of the resident priests and helped at the various Shinto ceremonies held throughout the years. Alvarez Sensei is also a long time close friend of the who assumed the role of chief priest when was relocated to Washington state in 2001.
One day, while talking with Rev. Tsumura, Alvarez Sensei mentioned in passing that he would like to have a Japanese name for his dojo, but could not think of an appropriate name. Reverend Tsumura later asked Reverend Yamamoto if he could think of a name for us. About a year later while Reverend Yamamoto was in California to officiate at the Stockton shrine's anniversary, he presented Sensei with the name "Shinrei." The kanji representing the name "Shinrei" consists of two characters. The first one, "shin," is the kanji for "kami," or "spirit." The second one, "rei," translates to "little bell," but can also be pronounced "suzu," as the shrine is in Suzuka, Japan the meaning behind it is that our dojo is connected to and protected by the Kami of Suzuka. That Kami is who O'Sensei Morihei Ueshiba regarded as his personal guardian spirit and as the guardian spirit of Aikido. Tsubaki Grand Shrine is the main shrine of Sarutahiko-no-O-Kami, and is a shrine that O'Sensei visited many times and where he practiced waterfall misogi (purification).
The endowment of this sacred name "Shinrei" was a very special gift from Reverend Yamamoto and is cherished as a sign of the connection between our dojo here in Livermore and Tsubaki Grand Shrine in Japan.