hinto is the native religion of Japan. It is still practiced today in a form modified by the influence of Buddhism and Confucianism. In its present form, Shinto is characterized less by religious beliefs and more by the observance of popular festivals, ceremonies, and customs. Many of these customs involve trips to local shrines and places of worship.
No one knows for sure when Shinto started. The earliest in can be traced back to is the 5th century AD when Chinese writing was first brought to Japan. Prior to this, Shinto beliefs, myths, and rituals were transferred orally. These early records show Shinto to focus on the forces of nature and the spirits of each god. The physical appearance of Shinto gods had little importance in early beliefs and because of this there are practically no images of Japanese gods.
he Japanese who follow Shinto worship the kami, they are the sacred spirits and can take various forms such as natural elements like the sun, mountains, trees, rocks, and the wind. The one major god, discussed in Shinto philosophy was the sun goddess who was also known as the Ruler of Heaven. The emperors of Japan are said to be descended from the sun goddess in unbroken line beginning with the first emperor who ascended his throne in 660 BC. Thus, similar to the Chinese ‘mandate from heaven’, the Japanese emperor was looked upon as being selected by God
It is thought in Shinto that all humans are fundamentally good, and that all evil is caused by evil spirits. The purpose of most of the rituals is to avoid evil spirits by offerings and prayers.
Many of the Shinto beliefs and religious practices center on the shrine. A Shinto shrine is a simple unpainted wooden building, having some object within it that is believed to be the dwelling place of the kami. Nowadays, the people seek support from Shinto and visit shrine in order to pray for good fortune and to avoid evil spirits. They will also go to shrines for good luck during major events like the opening of a business or school entrance exams. -
What is the native religion of Japan? _______________________
2. How would you describe the practice of Shinto in its modern form? ___________________________
3. How were Shinto beliefs passed before the 5th century AD? _________________
4. What things does Shinto focus on? _____________________________________________
5. What are the ‘kami’? __________________________________
6. Who is the major god worshiped in Shinto? ___________________
7. How are emperors in China and Japan similar? ____________________________
8. What does Shinto say causes evil in the world? _____________________
9. Why do people visit Shinto shrines? ______________________