by: Miika Jarvela, Raghav Kotha, and Chaitanya Kalathuru

Furnish, 5th

Origin of Shintoism

  • originated in Japan
  • 2500 years ago which is 500 B.C.
  • unknown about who made Shintosim

Basic Religious Beliefs

  • all branches of Shintoism include the beliefs of impurity, purification, and afterlife
  • each branch has more of their own basic beliefs.

Classification of Religion

  • Shintoism is an ethnic religion
  • Shinto means "way of the gods"


  • Shrine Shinto (the modern type of Shintoism, includes summer festivals and good luck charms)
  • Imperial Household Shinto (type of Shintoism that only the imperial family follows. They worship three shrines)
  • Folk Shinto (many fragmented folk beliefs put together. Ex include shaman healing, and belief in spirit)
  • Sect Shinto (Sect Shinto is a type of Shintoism broken into sect that worship government owned shrines)
  • Koshinto (the old Shinto, which includes beliefs Ainu religion)

How the Religion Diffused

  • relocation diffusion (uncommon):
    like folk culture
    only spread when people move and take with them
  • throughout Japan, it diffused orally from generation to generation
  • hierarchical diffusion:
    first emperor, then high classes, middle, and finally, lower classes
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Holy Places

  • Mount Fuji/other mountains
  • Shinto shrines (Ise and Izumo)
  • Ise, Mie (holy city)

Where it is Practiced

  • throughout all of Japan
  • spread throughout all of world (sparsely)
  • most likely people with Japanese heritage

Number of Followers

  • millions of followers
  • inclusive religion:
    hard to document adherents
  • estimate range from 3 to 4 million up to 100 million and above
    3 to 4 million is reasonable
  • 10 million Japanese participate in festivals

Map Illiustrating Distribution of Followers

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Key Figures & Important People

  • there are no key figures who helped create Shintoism.
  • they are two important people with the name of Izanagi and Izanami who are significant in the creation of Japan
  • Izanagi and Izanami were given the task to create the world
  • Izanagi and Izanami are two people from an Shintoism myth
  • it is believed by the followers of Shintoism that Izanagi lowered his magical spear from the bridge of heaven to the waters of Earth.
  • the spear caused the creation of the country Japan.
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Holy Texts

  • Shintoism has no holy texts
  • there is a book about the major accounts of the Shinto cosmogony:
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Religious Symbols

  • 2 important religious symbols:
    Torii gate
    the red dot on the Japanese flag or "The Land of the Rising Sun"
  • Torii is a religious symbol which marks the entrance to the sacred space
  • it represents the transition between the real word to the world of the gods
  • the red dot on the Japanese flag or "The Land of the Rising Sun" is Amaterasu's symbol
  • Amaterasu is the sun goddess
  • she is an important goddess in Shintoism

Torii Gate: Miyajima Torii

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Place of Worship

  • the place of worship is a shrine because the shrine is the dwelling of the gods or “kami”
  • the shrine is called the mija or jinja
  • it is a simple and austere wooden structure
  • the sacred objects that represents god are hidden in the innermost chambers hidden from the sight of people
  • Shinto shrines are dedicated to different gods or kami

Impact on Social and Family Structure

  • world is one great family
  • pay obligations to your ancestors
  • not much impact on family structure
  • teaching of living like gods
  • no beliefs, idea, or teaching which models family structure

Impact on Cultural Beliefs and Expectations

  • many shrines, and temples/religious meeting halls have been built
  • many people follow this religion now
What is Shinto?

Essential Question

How did the Emporer of the Japanese influence the Shintoist beliefs in Japan?