Japanese Religion


Japanese Religion



Japanese religion is an amalgam of Shinto and Buddhism. Most Japanese
are not very religious but more superstitious. They will follow the
major rituals at either the temple or the shrine but they don’t
necessarily believe in the religion as such. They usually do it because
it is a tradition or ‘in case there is something.

Japanese Religion Through Time

Japanese
society went from a mixture of folk religion, in an agricultural
society to a little more codified religion that took the name of Shinto
(神道) meaning litteraly the way of the kami.

We
discuss Shintoism in more detail on its own page but let’s summarize
here by saying that the kami are not gods in the Christian meaning of
the term. The term is often translated as god but it also includes
forces of nature and other superior being. they can be both good or
evil. They would be easier to understand as spirits but in the shamanic
way, not the ghost sense of the word.

As in many
societies, religion became a justification for the power in place to
rule over the people. In Japan, Ō no Yasumaro wrote the Kojiki in 712
on the request of the empress. He compiled the various myths about the
creation of the Japanese islands and the birth of different kami. amaterasu omikami the Japanese Sun Goddess

This
text explained that Amaterasu-ōmikami, the goddess of the sun, would
have sent her grand-son to control the earth and he would have become
the first Japanese emperor. His descendant were said to be divine. This
myth has been used all the way to 1946 when the then emperor, Showa,
announced that he renounced the claim of being divine.