Shinto in Modern Japan Religion is a constant variable in today’s world as well as the past. In order to understand Shinto in modern Japan first Shinto must be looked at from the past. Native Japanese religion states Shinto is the way of the gods. Going into depth of Shinto history and the modern view of Shinto now will bring up where Shinto originated from, it’s comparison to other religions, and Shinto’s role in modern Japan. Like many main religions, Shinto originated from prehistoric times but is not truly known because it goes much too far back in time showing as far back as 720 A. D. Its name comes from Chinese words “shin-tao”.
Native Japanese religion, Shinto, plays a very significant part in Japan’s society (Shinto2). Shinto is not only a religion but a way of living for the Japanese. This religion has made a permanent place in history around the world. Writer Chikao Fjisawa pronounced, “State Shinto – a system embodying nationalism loyalty and Emperor Veneration the Shinto was a “perversion of Shinto theory and beliefs into militaristic and ultra-nationalistic propaganda” (Boyd). State Shinto is known as the old Shinto. Just as any other religion, Shinto has been compared to other religions show close resemblance.
Shinto has no defined dogma, scared scriptures, or ethical precepts. Japanese tend to combine Shinto with other religious beliefs like Buddhism and Christianity. They also tend not to attach just one of the religious beliefs giving each equal attention. Shrines called jinja is used to practice Shinto and has very distinct gates which make it easy to tell from Buddhist temples. The only reason Shinto was named and systemized in the 16th century was to mark the difference from Buddhism and Confucianism (Shinto1). After World War II a separation between government and Shinto took place. This separation was noted in the constitution and history.
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As history shows, the emperor issued a statement forbidding use of Shinto symbols as nationalistic reasons and renouncing all rights to divinity. Even in modern day, extremists still favor protests against these and other changes involving the Shinto. Today Shinto is still a strong practice. Many Japanese still use the Shinto shrines for marriage, or to bless a new child, car, and etc. Building, homes and other architectural plots are also known to be blessed for safety and protection. Hundreds of Shinto ceremonies are still carried out daily in today’s modern life such as festivals just naming one.
In modern life the old Shinto is the main practice still being used. Main religions around the world have an unknown exact birth dates as well as playing an influence role in history. Shinto has not only made its mark in Japanese history, but still withstands in present day society. Religion tends to be a subject who holds controversy and mystery intriguing the minds of almost everyone at some point. Shinto’s origin may not be able to be definitely pinpointed but it’s very apparent that Shinto religion still stands very prominent in Japan’s modern life.
As stated earlier, Shinto ceremonies take place daily in Japan and the religion is still practiced by a very large population of Japanese still today. Religion is truly a everlasting time capsule of knowledge telling bits and pieces of the world and relationships within the world. Works Cited Boyd, W. James and Williams, G. Ron “Reconsidering Shinto after World War II: Perspectives from the Life and Thought of a Shinto Priest. ” . Motonisa, Yamakage. “The Essence of Shinto: Japan’s Spiritual Heart. ” Kodansha America, Inc. , 2006. “Shinto. ” . “Shinto. ” .
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