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Shinto (神道 Shintō) (sometimes called Shintoism) is a native religion of Japan and was once its state religion. It involves the worship of kami, which can be translated to mean gods, spirits of nature, or just spiritual presences. Some kami are local and can be regarded as the spirit or genius of a particular place, but others represent major natural objects and processes, for example, Amaterasu, the Sun goddess. The word Shinto, from the original Chinese Shêntao (神道), was created by combining two kanji: "神" shin meaning god (the character can also be read as "kami" in Japanese) and "道" meaning Tao ("way" or "path" in a philosophical sense). Thus, Shinto means "the way of the gods."

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Yasukuni Shrine (literally "peaceful nation shrine") is a controversial Shinto shrine located in Tokyo, Japan dedicated to the spirits of soldiers who died fighting on behalf of the Japanese emperor. The name of the shrine was originally written 靖國神社 (Yasukuni Jinja). But with the designation of the jōyō kanji, the name is now written in the simplified 靖国神社.

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Itsukushima torii angle.jpg
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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. Its main scriptures are the Kojiki and Nihongi, which describe the creation of kami and earth itself.

The Four Affirmations of Shintoism **

1. Tradition and Family - family is the main mechanism by which traditions are preserved and are celebrated mainly through weddings and births

2. Love of Nature - nature is sacred-to be in contact with nature is to be in contact with the gods

3. Physical Cleanliness - the most common form of purification is ablution (Misogi) involving taking baths, washing hands and rinsing out of the mouth before worshiping in a shrine

4. Matsuri (worship and honor given to the Kami and ancestral spirits) - Kami are spirits found in every living creature, natural object, or deceased spirit; which while not entirely similar, might be compared to the western concept of the soul: Izanagi (male) and Izanami (female) the two kami from which all else was made; however, the closest concept to a 'central' spirit in shintoism is Amaterasu (female Sun kami)

    • (Holland, David, and Amherst College. Dept. of Asian Languages and Civilizations. Housing the Spirit of the Nation : Yasukuni Shrine, Popular Mobilization, and the Invention and Renovation of National Identity in Japan. B.A. with departmental honors Amherst College, 2002).

Did you know?

  • 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.
  • Mount Fuji is a religious figure in Shinto.


  • Wikipedia:WikiProject Religion
  • Wikipedia:WikiProject Shinto

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The Emperor of Japan (Japanese: 天皇; tennō) is recognized by the Constitution of Japan as a symbol of the Japanese nation and the unity of its people. He is the head of the Imperial Household of Japan, the Japanese imperial family. The current emperor is Akihito, who has reigned since 1989.

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