Country: Japan Category: Religion By: fearfrog
Shinto is the native religion of Japan and was once its state religion. It involves the worship of "kami" or spirits. The word Shinto, comes from the Chinese word "Shentao" and combines two kanji: 神 "shin", meaning gods or spirits, and 道 "to", meaning a philosophical way or path (originally from the Chinese word "dao"). As such, Shinto is commonly translated as "The Way of the Gods".

Shinto can be seen as a form of animism and may be regarded as a variant of shamanist religion. Shinto beliefs and ways of thinking are deep in the subconscious fabric of modern Japanese society. The afterlife is not a primary concern in Shinto; much more emphasis is placed on fitting into this world, instead of preparing for the next.

Shinto has no binding set of dogma, no holiest place for worshipers, no person or kami deemed holiest, and no defined set of prayers. Instead, Shinto is a collection of rituals and methods meant to mediate the relations of living humans and kami. These practices have originated organically in Japan over many centuries and have been influenced by Japan's contact with the religions of other nations, especially China. Notice, for example, that the word Shinto is itself of Chinese origin and that much of the codification of Shinto mythology was done with the explicit aim of answering Chinese cultural influence. Conversely, Shinto had and continues to have an impact on the practice of other religions within Japan. In particular, one could even make a case for discussing it under the heading of Japanese Buddhism, since these two religions have exercised a profound influence on each other throughout Japanese history. Further, the Japanese "New Religions" that have emerged since the end of the Second World War have also shown a clear Shinto influence.

Some feel Shinto was used as an ideology during the militaristic beginning of the Showa period, following the Meiji Restoration. Because Shinto has no absolute authority, some feel what was a natural expression of the beliefs of the people was hijacked by radical nationalists, who desired to unify the Japanese people against the "inferior" people in other nations. Others wonder if the emphasis Shinto places on Japanese exceptionalism made such developments inevitable. Even today, some far right factions within Japanese society want to see a greater emphasis placed on Shinto and increased reverence shown to the Emperor as part of a project to restore Japan to its "rightful place" as the leading nation of the world. For most Japanese, however, Shinto is not about expressing disdain for other nations but expressing one's own love of the natural landscape of Japan and the people and spirits that reside within it.

The most immediately striking theme in the Shinto religion is a great love and reverence for nature in all its forms and for natural artifacts and processes. Thus, a waterfall, the moon, or just an oddly shaped rock might come to be regarded as a kami; so might charismatic persons or more abstract entities like growth and fertility. As time went by, the original nature-worshipping roots of the religion, while never lost entirely, became attenuated and the kami took on more reified and anthropomorphic forms, with a formidable body of myth attached to them. The kami, however, are not transcendent deities in the usual Western and Indian sense of the word. Although divine, they are close to humanity; they inhabit the same world as we do, make the same mistakes as we do, and feel and think the same way as we do. Those who died will usually become kami, with their power and main characteristics given by their doings in life. Those believing other religions may be also venerated as kami after death, if there are Shinto believers who wish them to be.

Unlike many religions, one does not need to publicly profess belief in Shinto to be a Shintoist. Whenever a child is born in Japan, a local Shinto shrine adds the child's name to a list kept at the shrine and declares him or her a ujiko or "family child". After death, an ujiko becomes a ujigami or "family spirit". One may choose to have one's name added to another list when moving and then be listed at both places. Names can be added to the list without consent and regardless of the beliefs of the person added to the list. However, this is not considered an imposition of belief, but a sign of being welcomed by the local kami, with the promise of addition to the pantheon of kami after death. Those children who die before addition to the list are called mizuko or "water children", and are believed to cause troubles and plagues. Mizuko are often worshipped in a Shinto shrine dedicated to stilling their anger and sadness.

Because Shinto has co-existed with Buddhism for well over a millennium, it is very difficult to untangle Shinto and Buddhist beliefs about the world. Though Buddhism and Shinto have very different perspectives on the world, most Japanese do not see any challenge in reconciling these two very different religions, and practice both. Thus it is common for people to practice Shinto in life yet have a Buddhist funeral. Their different perspectives on the afterlife are seen as complementing each other, and frequently the ritual practice of one will have an origin in the other.

Though Shinto has no absolute commandments for its adherents outside of living "a simple and harmonious life with nature and people", there are said to be "Four Affirmations" of the Shinto spirit:

* Tradition and the family: The family is seen as the main mechanism by which traditions are preserved. Their main celebrations relate to birth and marriage.

* Love of nature: Nature is sacred; to be in contact with nature is to be close to the kami. Natural objects are worshipped as containing sacred spirits.

* Physical cleanliness: Followers of Shinto take baths, wash their hands, and rinse out their mouths often.

* "Matsuri": Any festival dedicated to the Kami, of which there are many each year.

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December 05, 2016



It's great to read something that's both enjoyable and provides prtgmaaisdc solutions.
December 05, 2016



Tychi: Veľmi dobre! Mysledm, že preto sa tu dlho neobjavilo rieÅ¡enie Äasti c), lebo ve4ÄÅ¡ina ľuded oÄake1va, že ani pre tie L-ke1 to nejde. (Ja som to tiež najrpv Äakal a aj som naÅ¡iel "df4kaz", že sa to nede1. Potom som si v Åom naÅ¡iel chybu.) Fajn, takže me1me rieÅ¡enie tohoto predkladu uzavrete9.S tfdmi preklopeniami me1Å¡ samozrejme prevdu; tfa poslednfa polvetu v hlavnom Äle1nku preÅ¡krtnem, lebo je me4tfaca.
November 06, 2014



komentarom ma byt riesenie? tak sa o neakje pokusim. :-) tato uloha ma rozculovala uz dva dni, takze sa asi musim pochvalit s tym, na co som prisla. odpoved a) je nie. to bolo celkom lahke: bielych policiek je na sachovnici 40, kym ciernych len 38 a kedze kazda kocka domina musi pokryvat jedno biele a jedno cierne policko, je zrejme, ze pokrytie nemoze ani teoreticky existovat, lebo dve biele policka nam ostavaju 'visiet vo vzduchu'.prist na odpoved po b), alebo aspon nieco, co povazujem za odpoved, mi dalo viac prace.:-) ale hovorim, ze v tomto pripade tiez nie je mozne sachovnicu pokryt: 'pozdlzne' tromina mozu byt dvoch typov: bud pokryvaju policka 'biele-cierne-biele'(BCB) alebo 'cierne-biele-cierne'(CBC). ak tych prvych bude v pokryti x a tych druhych y, tak sa z podmienok, ze vsetkych bielych policok je 40 a vsetkych ciernych 38, da zistit, ze ak tromina maju sachovnicu pokryvat, musi ich byt 14 typu BCB a 12 typu CBC. no a teraz klucova vec: ak si to clovek dobre rozmysli (dufam, ze som si to rozmyslela naozaj dobre :-) ), cez vsetky policka trominami vyplenenej sachovnice by sa malo dat po trominach(t.j. iba horizontalnymi, resp. vertikalnymi pohybmi) poprechadzat. prechadzka po tromine vyzera tak, ze z jedneho jeho konca prejdeme na druhy a tam pokracujeme na susedne policko, ktore je krajnym polickom dalsieho tromina. navyse, zda sa mi, ze by mala existovat cesta, na ktorej sa tromina budu striedat: BCB(zaciname v lavom hornom rohu), CBC, BCB,... to vsak pri pocte 14 BCB a len 12 CBC tromin nie je mozne dosiahnut. viem, ze som tu pouzila vela nematematickych 'zda sa mi', ale vie to niekto zdovodnit sofistikovanejsie, ako len 'it's easy to see' ( a tentokrat doslova)? o odpoved c) sa uz v tejto nocnej dobe nepokusam, aj ked by som si tipla, ze to bude zas 'nie'.
November 05, 2014
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