Shinto in Modern Japan

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Shinto in Modern Japan

By | April 2010
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Shinto in Modern Japan
Religion is a constant variable in today’s world as well as the past. In order to understand Shinto in modern Japan first Shinto must be looked at from the past. Native Japanese religion states Shinto is the way of the gods. Going into depth of Shinto history and the modern view of Shinto now will bring up where Shinto originated from, it’s comparison to other religions, and Shinto’s role in modern Japan.

Like many main religions, Shinto originated from prehistoric times but is not truly known because it goes much too far back in time showing as far back as 720 A.D. Its name comes from Chinese words “shin-tao”. Native Japanese religion, Shinto, plays a very significant part in Japan’s society (Shinto2). Shinto is not only a religion but a way of living for the Japanese. This religion has made a permanent place in history around the world. Writer Chikao Fjisawa pronounced, “State Shinto – a system embodying nationalism loyalty and Emperor Veneration the Shinto was a “perversion of Shinto theory and beliefs into militaristic and ultra-nationalistic propaganda” (Boyd). State Shinto is known as the old Shinto.

Just as any other religion, Shinto has been compared to other religions show close resemblance. Shinto has no defined dogma, scared scriptures, or ethical precepts. Japanese tend to combine Shinto with other religious beliefs like Buddhism and Christianity. They also tend not to attach just one of the religious beliefs giving each equal attention. Shrines called jinja is used to practice Shinto and has very distinct gates which make it easy to tell from Buddhist temples. The only reason Shinto was named and systemized in the 16th century was to mark the difference from Buddhism and Confucianism (Shinto1).

After World War II a separation between government and Shinto took place. This separation was noted in the constitution and history. As history shows, the emperor issued a statement forbidding use of Shinto symbols as...

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