Earliest Origins Of Shinto Are Unknown; Just Term Paper

Related Topics:

¶ … earliest origins of Shinto are unknown; just as the earliest origins of the Japanese people are fairly unknown. Both are, however, suspected to be rather ancient, with the groundwork of Shinto having been laid well before that of Christianity, in the late Jomon period in Japan. These early belief systems were quite fragmented from region to region and through the centuries until writing was introduced into Japan in the fifth century and Buddhism in the sixth century A.D. As a result of the former, the Kojiki -- the record of ancient things -- and the Nihonshoki -- the chronicles of Japan -- were put to paper shortly after writing took hold in Japan. Fundamentally, these two works were the first formal compilations of ancient belief systems and mythologies. The immediate result of the Kojiki and the Nihonshoki were that they officially legitimized the position of the Imperial Family. Additionally, the integration of Taoist, Buddhist, and Confusion ideals was intended to portray a level of complexity with reference to the spiritual beliefs of the Japanese that would impress outsiders.

Nevertheless, Shinto was and remains a religion that tends to defy characterization largely because of its varied background. "It is said that Bodhidharma, the 'Barbarian that came from the West,' traveled from India to China on the back of a tiger. He brought with him the kernel of Zen, the doctrine of silent illumination, 'This mind is the Buddha.'" (Daily Zen 2004). Although this clearly attributes the core of Shinto to foreign notions, eventually it became important for the Japanese to draw definite lines between Chinese Buddhist beliefs and the beliefs that existed in Japan. However, "Following the Meiji Restoration, Shinto was made the official religion of Japan, and its combination with Buddhism was outlawed." (Wikipedia 2005). Even following this, the basis of Shinto beliefs could not be fully separated from Buddhism or Chinese myth. Overall, this integration was possible through the state-sanctioned form that Shinto took; it elevated the emperor to the status of "living god" upon the shoulders of native mythology and foreign philosophies.

Works Cited:

1. Daily Zen. "Zen Legends." Dailyzen.com, 2004. Available: http://www.dailyzen.com/bodhi01.asp.

2. Wikipedia. "Shinto." Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, 2005. Available: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shinto.

Cite this Document:

"Earliest Origins Of Shinto Are Unknown Just" (2005, August 17) Retrieved June 18, 2024, from

"Earliest Origins Of Shinto Are Unknown Just" 17 August 2005. Web.18 June. 2024. <

"Earliest Origins Of Shinto Are Unknown Just", 17 August 2005, Accessed.18 June. 2024,

Related Documents

Shinto-Buddhism in Japan Japan's main religious tradition is a combination of the conventional Shinto beliefs integrated with the imported Buddhist practices. Long been considered the land of several million gods, Japanese base their traditional Shinto beliefs on this pantheon. But the introduction of Buddhism in the mid 500's A.D. forced an amalgamation of the two belief systems. Over time these two very different religious traditions blended together into a unique system

Shinto Religion

Shinto Today Shinto is the indigenous religion of Japan. It is often called 'nature worship' because of the way the material world is invested with spiritual significance. The world is populated with kami: "the best English translation of kami is 'spirits', but this is an over-simplification of a complex concept - kami can be elements of the landscape or forces of nature" ("Kami," 2009). Kami may include nature, the spirits of

These narratives were also intended to validate the Imperial house, showing its lineage back to the Sun Goddess Amaterasu, as other ethnic groups were warring against the Shinto and not accepting the Imperial House's rule. Eventually, Shinto was made the official religion of Japan in hopes of unifying the country, and combining it with Buddhist beliefs was outlawed. Shinto beliefs spread to territories like Hokkaido and Korea. After World War

The ritual is the most important aspect of Shinto; thus performing the ritual the right way is the most important part of worship in Shinto. The rituals serve to bind Japanese to their past as well; since the rituals themselves are sacred they do not change. The other key element of Shinto is purification. Wiping clean restores the natural process, which is clean and beautiful, and free from pollution. For

As a consequence, the society provides a culturally acceptable outlet for such expression, i.e., while under the influence of alcohol during a Shinto festival procession (also known as Japanese matsuri). During these public processions, which are generally held on annual basis, a large object (supposedly containing the spirit of a local deity) is carried shoulder-high through the streets, in order to revitalize the community with its supernatural presence. The bearers

..as Shinto was hijacked by the military before the War to their own political ends." (1999) Lamont-Brown states "...today members of the new religions-based spiritual regenerations tends to be both socially and politically conservative." (1999) the influence that is seen is the "contemporary trend for such member groupings to be more selective of their choice of candidates to support..." (Lamont-Brown, 1999) Lamount-Brown states that the Risshokosekai has five million members