Religion State Shinto As The BBC Points Essay


Religion State Shinto

As the BBC points out, "Shinto can't be separated from Japan and the Japanese." This fact led to the fusion of Shinto with Japanese national identity during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Prior to the age of nationalism, Shinto was used to create a sense of allegiance not necessarily with the state but with the lineage of emperors that were the spiritual and political leaders of the Japanese people. The Shinto sun goddess Amaterasu is said to be the mother of the Imperial family ("Shinto and Nationalism," 2009). Therefore, one of the reasons why Shintoism is connected with Japanese nationalism is that Shinto has been the heart and soul of Japanese identity for centuries. Shinto infuses every aspect of daily life in Japan, including social and political culture. The easiest way to create a national identity in the modern sense was to use Shinto as a means of binding together Japanese and offering a sense of pride. Another reason why there still exists a close relationship between Shintoism and Japanese nationalism is that the religion made it possible to connect the past with the present and the future of Japan. Retaining Shinto prevents Japan from losing its cultural identity and uniqueness; but also allows Japan to develop a modern political infrastructure. Shinto provides guidance for the modern political and social structure of Japan, as well as the philosophy and ethics of the people. It is Shinto that allows Japan to...


There are many different types of spirits, and they coexist with all life. The Japanese people are "descended from the kami who were present at the founding of Japan," ("Shinto and Nationalism," 2009). The people of Japan worship kami both publically and privately. Although nature presents an optimal opportunity for worshipping the nature spirits, shrines provide a means by which to worship ancestral and other types of kami. Shrines for kami will be located in strategic spots favorable or meaningful to the specific kami. Some shrines are indoors and used for personal worship. Other shrines are simple wooden structures, and yet others have grown into huge complexes that allow for large groups of worshippers.
Discussion 2: Gathas: The Hymns of Zarathustra

Zoroastrianism was the first established monotheistic religion. It paved the way for global monotheistic religions like Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The ancient religion has historically been a bridge between East and West. Part of the reason for its function as a bridge is where the religion was born: in Persia. Persia sits strategically between two worlds. The Persian Empire, which was a Zoroastrian Empire, had frequent contact -- and conflict -- with the Greeks. Because the Greeks are widely considered to be "Western," the contact with Persians therefore…

Sources Used in Documents:


Irani, D.J. (1998). The Gathas: The Hymns of Zarathustra. Center for Ancient Iranian Studies.

"Shinto and Nationalism," (2009). BBC. Retrieved online:

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