The Japanese Shinto attitudes towards art is that the elements of nature are the pure and beautiful children of the kami, and the humans are to cooperate with the kami to promote this goodness and beauty in nature. They use art to express the way in the land itself being pure, sacred and beautiful as created by the kami so therefore the presence of the kami is revealed not only by words but through the aesthetic awareness of the beauty of nature. The arts are also used as entertainment for the kami and the people. For example the Shrine dance-drama, Kagura , is when one of the heavenly kami performed an ecstatic dance. As to entice Amaterasu out of the cave in which she had withdrawn. Kagura has many forms throughout Japan, one called miko is a central part of shrine festivals in which young women of the shrine perform. Shinto also liked to use poetry that grew strong with poems in the classical uta or waka forms. Found already in the mythological texts of the Manyoshu. These poems mostly express the free spirits between the kami and humans.
Buddhist art in Japan is influenced by the sensitivity for the natural and the simple appropriate for sacred power. The art is made to enhance the rituals, create a sense of sacred time and space, make present the Buddha power, or assist in realizing the Buddha-nature. They use iconography, as in using sculptures and paintings of Buddha and bodhisattvas. Kukai who was the founder of Shingon Buddhism, made a strong base for the use of art in Japan by emphasizing the universal Buddha-nature in all of nature. Buddhist like the Shinto always have reflected concern for the natural and the simple, bringing the notion that life is art lived beautifully and purely.
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