Religions and Japanese Culture

Topics: Japan, Religion, Shinto Pages: 2 (763 words) Published: May 18, 2006
Religions And Japanese Culture

Many religions are popular within the Japanese culture. Two of the most influential religions, Shinto and Buddhism that help shaped a lot of Japanese values are Shinto and Buddhism, played a large role in shaping Japanese values. Numerous similarities and differences run between these two religions; nonetheless, the Japanese often believe in more than one religion at the same time. This is possible due to the polytheistic nature of most popular religions in Japan. It is not hard to say that religion is a big part of Japanese culture because a lot of religious beliefs can still be seen in their everyday lives. Shinto is a polytheistic native Japanese religion. Followers believe that much of nature is sacred; spirits animates everything in the nature. For example, Japanese still believe that Mount. Fuji is sacred. They believe something that big and great exists only because "Kami," or spirit, resides within the mountain. In this fashion, they give great respect to nature. These Shinto beliefs have great influence on the ways Japanese today do things and their values. Japanese garden designs also reflect Shinto beliefs. Careful arrangements of rocks and plants are attempts to create a miniature universe or attempts to move a piece of nature into their house. Similarly, the principles of floral design show their interest in nature. They focus on the importance of light and shadow, and the fullness versus the void, instead of focusing on the symmetry. The reason? Flowers and plants do not grow symmetrically in nature. They lean towards the sun creating a void in the shadow. Japanese respect and seek to bring the beauty of nature closer to them, therefore, a lot of Japanese arts are imitations or miniatures of nature. These traces of Shinto belief clearly still exist in Japan today. Later on, the Japanese adapted another religion, Buddhism. Like Shinto, Buddhism is also a polytheistic religion. Moreover, because Shinto does not...
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