The Origins of Shinto

Originally, Shinto was located in Japan. The roots of Shinto stretch back to 500 BC. There is no known founder or single sacred scripture of Shinto. Shinto means "the way of the Kami" and was once the official state religion of Japan.

Basic Beliefs

Although Shinto has no fixed creeds, its main beliefs and rituals have been preserved through the ages. Kami are sacred or diving beings and spiritual essences. The belief in these Kami is one of the foundations of Shinto. Shinto knows that the Kami do not only exist as spiritual beings, but also in nature. Shinto believes that the Kami are within mountains, trees, rivers, and even regions of land. Followers of Shinto are supposed to peacefully coexist with both human beings and the natural world. Purity is at the heart of the understanding of good and evil in Shinto. Shinto believes that everyone is born pure, and sharing in the divine soul. Shinto believes that pollution- tsumi- can be spiritual, moral, or physical. These polluting things, like disease, are thought to be gotten rid of through cleansing and purifying rituals.

Impact on Society/Daily Life

Shintoism somewhat influences daily in Japan. After WW2, in 1946, Shinto was de-establsihed as the national religion of Japan, which lessened the following and the government's involvement in the practices. Nevertheless, Japanese people still carry out the rituals and prayers of Shintoism daily. Newer sections of Shinto focus mainly on world peace and brotherhood.