Religions in Japan- Shintoism and Buddhism

Religions in Japan- Shintoism and Buddhism

In Japan, main religion are said to be Buddhism and Shintoism. Both of the two religions are practiced by Japanese people simultaneously. According to Japanese scholars, all the religious organizations founded in the 19th century are considered as new religions. Most of the new religions in the Japanese society came into existence in the mid-to-late twentieth century. There are influence of the much older traditional religions on such new religions and they include Buddhism and Shinto. The Japanese religions have also been influenced by Christianity and the Bible.

It may be correct to say that some Japanese are born Shinto, marry in Christian style, and die as Buddhists. The Japanese concept of religion differs from what people are used to in the west. Therefore, it is interesting to learn about it. The Japanese religion is interesting to learn about, just like Japanese culture and society.

What is the Main Religion in Japan?

There are 48.1% of the inhabitants in Japan who consider themselves Shintoists, and 46.5% Buddhists. Japan has only 1.05% Christians, while the other religions account for 4.3%. Therefore, many people in Japan consider themselves either Shinto or Buddhists. The most dominant religion in Japan are apparently the Shintoism and Buddhism. Due to their existence over the years, the coexistence of these two religions has resulted in the influence of each other over the years.

What is Shintoism Religion?

Shintoism is a religion that follows the “way” of Kami (deity). Shintoism has existed for more than 2000 years, thus influencing Japanese culture. This religion has a way of expressing gratitude to the Kami. The religion does not have a supreme God, no founder, or sacrificed scriptures. It is one archaic religion that exists in the modern world and there are no signs of the religion disappearing because of some other dominant religion. Although Buddhism seemed to be the only religion that could overshadow Shintoism, they both adapted and influenced each other in a way that led to traditions, rituals, and representative figures.

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Although there exist religions that resemble Shintoism in countries such as China, for example, the Shinto religion only exists in Japan. Due to the immigration of Japanese people to other countries, there are small shrines meant for worship in countries with a lot of Japanese. Shintoism is a way of understanding the environment, the Japanese status quo, and its emperor.

Who is Kami in Japanese Religion?

Unlike the omnipresent God well known in other countries, the Japanese define Kami as powerful spirits with superior mortals. Kami exists in many ways, and its numbers are endless. There are essential Gods such as the Goddess Amaterasu, spirits living within living beings, and deceased ancestors. Kami usually lives inside an object like a trees, a rock, a mirror or a jewel and could be stored at a hidden box in the main shrine building.

Shinto religion is as old as the Japanese civilization. Yamato state, the first Japanese nation, led to the unification of small beliefs into a single truth. Japan’s oldest history book, Kojiki, compiles Japanese mythology. The beginning of human existence is well explained according to Shintoism and has linked these higher divinities with the Japanese royal family. Shinto explains that the Japanese and the emperor are the descendants of the sun goddess, and therefore they have the legitimacy to reign in Japan.

If you would like to learn more about Japanese religions and percentages, click through to this article.


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