Shintoism

by: Beoung Han, Pratheek Sharyala, Amogh Singhal

Origin

Origin: Ancient Japan

- means way of the gods

-Teaches that the natural forces of Japan (and only Japan) are divine

- It's an ethnic religion with no known founder and absolute set of beliefs

- 13 sects; 5 major categories for sects: traditionalist, those which emphasize Confucian ethics, those devoted to faith healing, those who worship the mountains in specific, and those who are devoted to purification rites

Geographic Distribution

-Stayed within Japan for a very long time till it merged with Buddhism

- died out after WWII when the emperor was forced to give it up as a official religion, but it has slowly come back to the Japanese population.

- Each shrine in Shintoism relates to a kami, or a spirit, so it can be anywhere, and there are shrines in many places.

- Two important shrines are underwater water shrine of Itsukushima shrine, and the controversial Yaskuna shrine, which honors fallen war criminals of WWII.

-Shintoism is practiced mainly in Japan.

-Shintoism only has 4 million primary adherents, but many other secondary adherents are there.


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Unique Characteristics

-Key figures: local shrine maids and priests(see picture)

- Holy Text: although not exclusively Shinto texts, the Shinto holy texts are the Kojiki

- Symbols: torii gates and amulets for protection by the Kami

- Place of Worship: Shinto worship at local shrines

-Impact on social and family structure: taboos are placed on people and objects for the sake of cleanliness (sometimes temporary); disturbing the social structure is considered bad (thus the feudal pyramid at the bottom)

-Impact on culture: reduces cultural impact on nature; It was at one point the state religion of Japan; usually follows same ethical code as Confucianism or Buddhism; no moral absolutes (all good or all bad); maintaining the natural balance is considered good


Kagura

Essential Question

How does the division of the sects of Shintoism for many Japanese people affect the way that the Japanese people view their culture?
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