Shinto Religion Essay


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 the dead, or other supernatural beings. Worship in Shintoism "is highly ritualised, and follows strict conventions of protocol, order and control. It can take place in the home or in shrines. Although all Shinto worship and ritual takes place within the patterns set when the faith was centralised in the 19th century, there is much local diversity" and Shinto practices can be tailored to the needs of the adherents ("Rituals," 2009). Shintoism in Japan is also characterized by a great deal of syncretism, or blending with other religious traditions, specifically Buddhism. Most Japanese practice both traditions, rather than simply focus on one, in a manner that might be surprising to a traditional Western monotheist. There is a saying in Japan that one is 'born Shinto, but dies a Buddhist' because most...


Nor is it an iconolatry" ("Shinto," 2012). Sacred objects do not take the form of unusual shapes in sacred spaces: "most of Shinto shrines house sacred objects such as mirrors (the symbol of the Sun Goddess), swords and jewel (those three objects are the imperial regalia) on the altar, where the gods are believed to reside, and the objects serve as spirit substitutes for the gods" ("Shinto," 2012). Spirits are incarnated even in ordinary household objects.
The incursion of Shintoism into what might be considered profane life can even be seen in professional occupations. In some areas of Japan, new factory managers often visit mini-shrines on the corporate headquarters "where he says a prayer for the safety during his tenure at the factory" and apologies are made to the sea as "factories are usually located near the seacoast and likely to pollute the seawater with effluent" ("Shinto," 2012). "At the…

Sources Used in Documents:


Kami (2009). BBC Religion. Retrieved from:

Rituals. (2009). BBC Religion. Retrieved from:

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