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The Shinto Religion

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The Shinto Religion

Various religions focus on different aspects of importance. The Shinto religion, the principal of Japan, embraces a wide variety of beliefs and practices. Shinto emphasizes upon the worship of land and nature and of ancestors and ancient heroes. It also focuses on the divinity of the emperor.

The Japanese term this native religion as kami-no-michi, “the way of the gods.” However, there are still scholars who do not fully understand the true meaning. A major source of Japanese mythology is the Kojiki, “the Chronicles of Ancient Events.” Within these chronicles, is a section that creates the basis of the divine beings and specifies that the chief spirit is the sun goddess. The various myths and rituals under these terms caused the Japanese to distinguish their native religion from those brought in by the Chinese and Koreans. Previously, the Japanese worship could have consisted of loosely organized, widely varying practices. They allowed for limitless number of gods, goddesses, and spirits, ancestor worship and various forms of animism. This religion also happens to be very ceremonial and commonly uses incense as a symbolic feature. In the American culture it is not common to have a person cremated, we generally have a funeral and burial services for the dead, but in the Shinto religion of Japan they usually perform the cremations.

Shinto has experienced a religious struggle with Buddhism. It became so intense, that these two religions merged to a point of close extinction of the Shinto independent religion. However, the Shinto religion began to receive official support from the national government during the Tokugawa regime. The government helped to strengthen and support the native religion of Japan.

During the Tokugawa era, the feudal knights or more commonly called samuari, were idealized. The samuari were known as individual warriors who developed a warrior code called Bushido. The samuari was bound to conduct themselves in manners that were expected of them



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