How did shintoism affect japanese society?

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The following myth is the basis of the Shinto religion.

The two gods, Izanagi and Izanami, stood in Heaven and said “There will be a country

there.” Then they thrust their spears into the ocean. The saltwater dripped off and formed

an island. The two gods went their to live and soon produced more island until they had

produced the Great Island country.

The two gods also produced a Sun-Goddess, a Moon-God, a Storm-God, a Tree-God, and

many other gods and goddesses. The Sun-Goddess sent a grandson to rule over the Great

Eight Island nation. The great grandson of the Sun-Goddess’ grandson became the first

emperor of Japan.
1. Which of the following is best supported by this Shinto myth?

a) Shintoism worships only one God.

b) Shintoism believes that there are many gods in nature.

c) Followers of Shinto would not support an emperor.

2. The Great Eight Island Nation is probably known today as __________________________.
3. Complete the following sentence. A believer of Shintoism would say that the emperor of

Japan is a descendent of the ______________________ and should be worshiped.

4. Based on this Shinto myth, Japanese people would believe that Japan is a _______________

nation, and therefore is ____________________ than other nations.

5. Followers of Shintoism would probably worship their religion in

a) solid brick church b) a forest by a nearby stream c) big cities and towns only

Global History- Shintoism
Beauty is Everywhere

  1. Japan is an island nation off the coast of the Asian Mainland. There are four major Japanese islands, whose total land area is slightly less than that of the state of California. Because much of the land is mountainous, only about 1/6th is suitable for farming. The islands also have limited amounts of natural resources such as coal, iron and petroleum. The surrounding seas are a great natural resources, however.

How has Japan’s geographic location helped to influence its religious views? Explain the connection?


  1. Shintoism is the indigenous religion of Japan, based on the worship of spirits known as kami. Founded in 660 BC, at the time of Buddhism, it was Japan's state religion until 1945.

 "Shinto" means "way of the gods" and it is a "cosmic religion", that finds in the beauty and symmetry of nature manifestations of the gods.
 The essence of Shintoism is kami, the divine spirit found in all things in heaven and earth, mountains and rivers, sun and moon, plants, animals, and human beings... and very specially at Mount Fuji, the cherry blossoms, bonsai trees, formal gardens, and the Sakaki (the holy tree).

What are the fundamental ideas and beliefs of the Shinto religion? Which other religion most resemble the ideas expressed in Shintoism? _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
  1. Shintoism and Buddhism are both commonly practiced in Japan. Yet, some of the ideas of these two religions clash; Shinto accepts the material world as good, while Buddhism view the world as evil, yet both religions are practiced in Japan... and often at the same time: They celebrate weddings in Shinto "shrines", and funerals in Buddhist "temples".

Why do you think that Japanese people have adopted both Buddhism and Shintoism? How have they combined these two religious views ? _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

  1. Shinto festivals are held throughout the year, especially at the change of seasons in spring and fall. Ceremonies are an important part of Shinto. Shinto shrines are found all over Japan; many are in peaceful rural areas. Shintoism in general has little structure. It is practiced on your own schedule, but interestingly enough Shinto can only be practiced on the islands of Japan, where the Kami’s live.

Identify some unique aspects of Shintoism. __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

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