Illinois Wesleyan University is now the permanent home for the Bloomington Normal
Sister Cities Mikoshi, a Shinto shrine donated by Asahikawa, Hokkaido, Japan—Bloomington-Normal’s
Translating to “god vehicle,” a mikoshi is a temporary, portable shrine. In Shinto
tradition, a mikoshi is used to hold the spirit of deity during festivals.
On display in a research area, the mikoshi is set amidst the International Studies, Religion and Philosophy Departments. The cultural artifact’s physical presence will
benefit student research in a variety of fields, according to Professor of Sociology
Teodora (Teddy) Amoloza, who is also a member of the Bloomington-Normal Sister Cities
Committee. The mikoshi will occasionally be taken out to exhibit to the Bloomington-Normal
community during parades.
Asahikawa presented the mikoshi to Bloomington-Normal in 1992 in celebration of the
30th anniversary of the sister cities relationship. In recent years, the mikoshi has been
kept in the homes of B-N Sister Cities Committee members while the committee searched
for an appropriate, public home.