Japanese Religion

Topics: Aum Shinrikyo, Religion, Shinshūkyō Pages: 7 (2165 words) Published: May 10, 2013
With the advanced of technology in current Japan, the role of religion has change dramatically, it is not only a simply faith in Japanese heart but also a consuetude carry out in daily life. However, it is not easy for people to know all changes of religion from ancient time to nowadays. This paper endeavor to sort out the main changes of traditional religion to new religion and new new religion base on the convention, spirit, role of ancestor and the place of Japan. To do this, I will first briefly introduce the background of traditional religion and the main state of traditional religion in Japan; and then I will explain the main characteristics of new religion and new new religion; after the explanation of both traditional and new religion, I will analyze the change spirit and role of ancestor; lastly, base on the discussion of change in religion, I will give some recommendations and personal opinions to conclusion the paper.

Traditional religion (1603-1868):
Traditional Japan religion can simply classify into three categories: Confucianism, Buddhism and Shintoism. Either of them has the same aim---peace but they explain in different ways. Firstly, Confucianism is a new philosophy which encouraged assisting in the political, educational and social realms.[1] It is mainly a self-discipline and family oriented, Confucianism is focus on the relationship between people such as love between brother and sister, harmony between husband and wife, filial piety between mother and children and loyalty between ruler and subject. In fact, as a traditional religion Confucianism is much trend to a belief and concept in Japanese’s heart to make the world more harmony.[2] Secondly, Shintoism as a traditional culture of Japan means “the way of the gods” and has follower approximately 51% of the population. People treat Shinto as ancestor, family and nation of Japanese, because of Shinto originally respect for nature and particular sacred sites which used to worship the sun, rock formations, trees and even sounds. All of the activity associated with a deity or Kami, and a complex polytheistic religion developed.[3] This is very important in ancient Japan which can bless people in peace and out of pain. However, Shintoism is not only reflecting the way of god, but also a symbol of ancient and family in ancient Japan. Thirdly, Buddhism is as a religion concerned with the concerns, needs and worries of ordinary people, especially in the area of faith, intercession and the relationship between the living and the spirits of the dead which has make upon the lives of the Japanese.[4] However, Buddhism began in India which spread from China to Japan. Zen is the main concept in Japanese which means “meditation”; it is a way of focusing the thoughts which emphasizes “self-power” and its importance in the quest for enlightenment of salvation through “other-power”.[5] Usually people learn the way of Buddhist to sit in a quiet place and think the life.

The three traditional religions lead Japan into a peaceful and harmony life, it is a build-up for new religion development.

New religion (1850-1960):
Since the early nineteenth century, there are a lot of religious developed in Japan in a constant process of flux, growth, decline and renewal. The transition period from the Tokugawa to Meiji regimes, trend an upheavals in the mid-nineteenth century. The economic goes down and there are more social crisis and unrest came out.[6] The rise of new religion developed rapidly during 1850 to 1960 as stimulated by these social factors. However, new religion environment taking lots elements from the various interpenetrating traditions, Shinto, Buddhist and folk, that framework of Japanese religions. It has four main characteristics: firstly, new religion include the tradition religion concept whom were suppressed during the Meiji period; secondly, use modern media promote the religion such as television, magazines, newspapers and pamphlets;[7] thirdly,...
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