Topics: Shinto, Empire of Japan, Amaterasu Pages: 2 (521 words) Published: July 2, 2014
Shinto is the indigenous religion of Japan, there's no founder recorded, and when it originated was unclear. It is believed that Shinto is derived from the native worships for the nature, and was not explicitly defined until the coming of Buddhism in the sixth century C.E. Shinto, was then presented in order to distinguish from the foreign religions. Shinto(神道), or kami-no-michi(神の道), literally means the way of gods. Shinto is an animistic religion, which puts emphasis on the worship and respect of the nature. It is said there are 8 million "kamis", though the number is probably overstated, everything can be comprehended as having its own divinity, because of people's reverence to the nature forces, and thus presented by a "kami". "Kami" is the transliterating of the kanji "神". It is borrowed from Chinese characters, while has a broader range of meanings than it has in Chinese. Kami originally means the ghost of the departed, while it also stands for the venerable spirits and gods exist in the nature world, like the spirit of mountain or the deity of fox. Progressively, it represents the departed souls of the emperors and shoguns as well. Amaterasu, the chief of the kamis in Shinto, is the goddess of the sun and the Plain of the Heaven according to the Kojiki(the oldest extant chronicle which is the source o Japanese mythology). She was the daughter of Izanagi and Izanami, and it is believed that her descendant, became the first emperor that ruled Japan. Actually, the emperor of Japan is called Tenno, which lieterally means the godly emperor. This idea lays the root for the divine rights of the emperors and strengthened the reign of the imperial household. It is also the foundation of the imperialism of Japan during the first half of the twentieth century. The divinity of the emperor was finally abolished by the separation of religion from politics after the surrender of Japan in 1945. There are three forms of Shinto, which are known as State Shinto, Sectarian...
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