Tuesday, 07. November 2006


Shinto is a general term for the activities of the Japanese people to worship all the deities of heaven and earth, and its origin is as old as the history of the Japanese. It was towards the end of the 6th century when the Japanese were conscious of these activities and called them 'Way of Kami(the deity or the deities )'. It coincides the time when the 31st Emperor Yomei prayed before an image of Buddha for the first time as an emperor for recovery of his illness. Thus accepting Buddhism, a foreign religion, the Japanese realized existence of a tradition of their own faith.
After having gone through a long history since then, this indigenous faith, Shinto, has been developed into four main forms: the Koshitsu Shinto ( Shinto of the Imperial House), the Jinja Shinto (the Shrine Shinto), the Shuha Shinto (the Sect Shinto), and the Minzoku Shinto (the Folk Shinto).

What is Shinto? by Shinto Online Network Association. (English)

With everything about Shinto. Includes information on sects, shrines, and beliefs.

Gods still inhabit the island country of Japan. Although Japan has experienced a rapid change of environment due to a gust of modernization, the Japanese feel the same presence of gods, in their modern lives, that they had felt in the ancient days. Shinto, written as the Way of the Gods, is a native religion of Japan that encompasses the poetic reality of senses, which is a part of basic Japanese principles of life. According to the Kojiki, the mythological chronology of Japan, the gods of the Shinto religion are believed to have created Japan as their image of paradise on earth, and the ruler of Japan, the Emperor, is a direct descendent of the Sun-goddess Amaterasu.


Shinto: The Way of the Gods by N. Alice Yamada. (English)
A short introduction to Shinto.


Shinto is a religion developed indigenously in the Japanese soil. So it is unique in many ways, its doctorinal formation and forms of rites and festivals. There are a good many words of Shinto which could not be adequately translated into European languages. Precise understanding of them would be invaluable help for the inquiry of religious life of the Japanese people. We shall be happy if this booklet is of any use to visitors who wish to study Shinto and observe the Shinto shrines.

Basic Terms of Shinto by Kokugakuin University. (English)
An online searchable dictionary. With some photographs.

Check also Encyclopedia Of Shinto (English)

Shinto has no known founder or single sacred scripture. Shinto is wholly devoted to life in this world and emphasises man's essential goodness.

Shinto by the BBC. (English)
Check out and listen to a discussion of Japanese spirituality from Beyond Belief. (Realmedia - 27m 29s)



Cyber Shrine - Photographs of shrines in the Northern Kyushu region by Electric Samurai.

With cool VR Panoramas!

At the Sacred Texts site, you can read translations of the Kojiki, Nihongi and other texts that describe the origins of Japan and its deities. (English)


Die alte japanische Religion, auch als "Shintô" bezeichnet, ist insbesondere durch ihre außerordentliche Vielfalt auffällig. Der Ursprung hierfür ist in ihrem regionalen Charakter und ihrer schwach ausgebildeten Dogmatik zu suchen. Ziel dieses Artikels soll es dabei sein, über die vorhistorische, wahrhaft unsystematische Volksreligion schließlich zu einer Darstellung des formalisierten Staatskultes der Nara-(720-784) und der Heian- Zeit (794-1180) zu gelangen.

Shintô- Die einheimische Religion Japans von Marc Verfürth.

Um das widersprüchliche Bild des Shinto in den Griff zu bekommen, wurde er von der Meiji-Regierung in zwei Kategorien unterteilt: (1) Schrein Shinto (jinja shintô) = Shinto der verschiedenen lokalen Schreintraditionen; (2) Sekten Shinto (kyôha shintô) = Shinto Sekten, die zu dieser Zeit (19. Jh.) neu entstanden und heute meist zu den Neuen Religionen gerechnet werden. Die von der Regierung propagierte Form des Kults für den Tenno und den Staat, heute als Staats-Shinto (kokka shintô) bezeichnet, kam gleichsam als dritte Kategorie dazu, verstand sich jedoch aus der Sicht des Staates nicht als Religion, sondern als staatsbürgerliche Pflicht. In der Shinto-Forschung gab es Bemühungen, diesen Unterteilungen zu folgen, die auch heute noch in der Shinto-Literatur zu finden sind. Dabei wurde nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg eine weitere Unterscheidung zwischen "Imperialer Shinto" (kôshitsu shintô) = traditioneller Shinto des kaiserlichen Hofes, und "Staats-Shinto" vorgenommen. Außerdem ist häufig von "Volksshinto" (minzoku shintô) = lokales religiöses Brauchtum als weiterer Kategorie die Rede.

Shinto und japanische Urreligion und Shinto im Mittelalter
von Bernhard Scheid.


Category: Religion & Early Cultures |

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