Religious Beliefs Of Shintoism In Japan

1688 words - 7 pages

Research PaperReligious beliefs of Shintoism in JapanYasamine Rezai-GanzaghAnthropology of Culture 203Professor Sima AprahamianStudent ID#: 6643043Tuesday, April 9, 2013Religion is a compound part of the human experience and differs per person. Even in modern secularized societies, worship has persisted and still exerts a great influence in the lives of individual's worldwide. In Japan, two of their most influential religions are Shinto and Buddhism which have helped shaped Japanese values and traditions. Shinto is the native religion of the indigenous as we all as the practices and beliefs of the people in Japan. The early belief systems were fragmented from region to region across Japan and throughout the centuries until writing was introduced in Japan in the 5th century and Buddhism in the 6th century. Numerous similarities and differences run between both religions; nonetheless, the Japanese often believe in more than one religion at the same time. This might be possibly due to the polytheistic nature of most popular religions in Japan. The following research paper will explore the history of Shinto including the transmission of Buddhism into Shintoism and a look into the fundamental beliefs of Shintoism.II. History of ShintoAs with many indigenous traditions, a clear picture of how Shinto might have originated and developed has been rather difficult to achieve. The earliest origins of this uniquely Japanese religion are unknown and unlike monotheistic religions Shintoism has no sacred text as well as no formalized system of doctrine and even a name. Firstly, during this earliest period Shinto was the main religion among the indigenous Japanese people. This religion was also developed among the Japanese people. Shintoism bases were first established during the Yayoi era (300 B.C.E -300 C.E) as highly characterized largely through the combination of many tribe religions under the name of Shinto on specific shrines rather than a uniform set of doctrines and individuals (Kuroda et al 1981). During that era, the rituals were done orally; there was no writing system in Japan up until the 5th century of the import of Chinese characters. Its name Shinto was derived from a combination of two Chinese characters kami, Shen and dao in Chinese, meaning "way of the gods" (Picken 2010). This term was first used during the reign of Emperor Yomei (586-587), where the law of Buddha and having acclaimed the way of kami (Picken 2010). During the 5th century was the arrival of Buddhism and started to gain popularity among the Japanese people. The relatively philosophy of Shinto was soon confronted with the Chinese doctrines of Buddhism, later on Confucianism, and Taoism. In the 6th century, the Japanese court challenged Shinto to develop its structure in order to support the indigenous rites, into which some elements of Buddhism and Shinto emerged together (Picken 2010). By the end of the 7th century, the Japanese government recommended that every family in...

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