The Shinto Religion

1186 Words5 Pages
The Shinto religion has a long identification with the island country of Japan and is considered by many to be the oldest religion practiced in Japan (Toshio). The religion does not appear to have any history that traces its founding to any particular individual which distinguishes it from other religions such as Buddhism, Christianity, or Islam. Additionally, Shinto has no sacred scriptures, no precise religious philosophy, or specific moral code. Instead, the Shinto religion is based on mixture of nature worship, fertility cults, hero worship, and shamanism. Shinto, in its early days, was so loosely defined that it did not even have a specific name to identify itself by until well into its tenth century of practice. For the ancient Japanese, Shinto was merely an appreciation of nature and the spiritual forces that they felt occupied nature. They were not concerned with ritual or doctrine and it was only after other religions began to infiltrate the island that the term Shinto was used in order to distinguish it from other religions. The presence of other religions in Japan caused Shinto to begin erecting religious shrines and the establishment of festivals and rituals. Collaterally, a distinct priestly class also developed. These developments brought Shinto in step with other established religions but, otherwise, the actual practice of Shinto changed very little. The religion remained centered on an appreciation of nature and its relationship to the daily lives of the
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