Animism and Supernatural Beings in Japan

Topics: Shinto, Japanese mythology, Anime Pages: 3 (808 words) Published: May 31, 2012
Animism and Supernatural Beings

There are many aspects of Japanese culture that I like, but I think that interests me the most is the animist culture of Japan and all around it as its mythology and folklore. I find very interested to think that each object, each element of nature has a soul. I also think that the animist is very present in Japanese culture. Japan cultivates for a long time a narrow report with the nature, a nature strewed with religious references, animist, Buddhist and Shinto. The nature is completely a part of the life of the Japanese. So, as I said above, every object, animal, element of the nature possesses a soul. It is for that reason, that in the legends and the old stories Japanese, but also in today's culture, we find of numerous Yokai, Kami or Yurei.

I became interested at Japanese mythology after watching several movies of Hayao Miyazaki. Because for me, I think Miyazaki's movies perfectly reflects the animist culture and offers the vastest, the richest collection of monsters and other extraordinary appearances. God covered with putrid garbage, god dragon, ghost dark, melancholic and voracious: Spirited Away, is a concentrate of this bestiary, a mixture of Shinto mythology and of animism. It is through his films that I realized that all these folk creatures had an important place in Japanese culture.

The oldest religion of Japan is Shintoism. As I said above, Shinto combines animism, a belief which considers that everything has a spirit and ancestor worship. Shinto myths, born in oral cultures, were compiled in the early eighth century in two books: the Kojiki (712) and Nihon Shoki (720). Supernatural beings from Japanese folklore could be classified in three categories, Kami, Yokai and Yurei.

Kami means "God". It is the principle of life existing in all things animate or inanimate. By extension, kami refers to Shinto spirit or deity. There are an infinite number of Kamis, one for each thing that exists. The kami are...
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