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Shinto priest Tomoe Ichino, 40, at the Imado Shrine in Tokyo, Japan: "In general, people think being a Shinto priest is a man's profession. If you're a woman, they think you're a shrine maiden, or a supplementary priestess. People don't know women Shinto priests exist, so they think we can't perform rituals. Once, after I finished performing jiichinsai (ground-breaking ceremony), I was asked, 'So, when is the priest coming?'," Ichino said. "When I first began working as a Shinto priest, because I was young and female, some people felt the blessing was different. They thought: 'I would have preferred your grandfather.' At first, I wore my grandfather's light green garment because I thought it's better to look like a man. But after a while I decided to be proud of the fact that I am a female priest and I began wearing a pink robe, like today. I thought I can be more confident if I stop thinking too much (about my gender)." REUTERS/Toru Hanai