The amount of religions known to the public is endless, some celebrated with more importance than the others, and some with more popularity, but one of the lesser known Japanese religion is the Shinto. Unless a person interested in this religion was to travel to japan to talk with people who are followers, this religion has remain a mystery to the general public. Shinto is ancient native religion of japan, still practice in a form modified by the influence of Buddhism and Confucianism (infoplease.com, 2014). The history of the Shinto religion is unknown, according to Molloy (2013), “ Shinto has no person or group as its founder. In fact, its mysterious origins date back to the ancient people of japan and their stories of how the world came into being.” The followers of Shinto barely have the knowledge of the origins or the deity they are worshipping, their only concern is whether or not they can feel its existence. The aspects of contributions are endless, including nature, the shrines, purifications, the kami, ceremonies and festivals.
This religion remains nameless until the invasion of Buddhism in japan, which forces the people to give it a name. The three main aspects of the practice of Shinto are, harmony with spirits, affinity with natural beauty and purification rituals. The people of Shinto always believe that because of the beauty of nature that always surrounded them, which they were always with the divine. Nature was a support of how they worship in the Shinto religion, anything that was surrounded them was believe to have divine powers. Although hail as a nature religion, the Shinto religion is known for more than just that. Shinto is family orientated, with family and ethnic dimensions. The people of japan also worship past descendants or great leaders that passed away. As mentioned above, the force entry of Buddhism into japan has forced the people to acknowledge the religion Shinto.
What made the process complicated was the fact that the belief system of the Shinto religion was so similar to Mahayana Buddhism. The religion of Shinto didn’t die out despite the influence of Buddhism and Confucianism. The Shinto religion was reinstated by a man name Mutsuhito, who was reigned in as emperor; he then took the religion Shinto and reinstated it back to its full capacity. Shinto not only got noticed, it became a national religion. Unfortunately the act of world war two brought upon a change in the Shinto state, it got dismantled and lost almost all its supporters. The new emperor destroyed its key foundation as well as denouncing its divinity. Because of the change, Shinto shrines have returned to private practices, but still retain a special place in national life (Molloy, 2013).
Infoplease.com: Shinto. (2014). Retrieved from
http://www.infoplease.com/encyclopedia/society/shinto-history-development.html Molloy, M. (2013). Experiencing The World’s Religions: Traditions, Challenge, and Change (6th ed.). Retrieved from The University of Phoenix eBook Collection.