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Transcript of SHINTO
By: Roxanne Grzybowski and Anna Skoczylas
We chose Shinto because we were fascinated by their sacred spirits and gods called "kami" which take the form of things and concepts important to life, such as wind, rain, mountains, trees, rivers and fertility. Shinto does not have a founder nor does it have sacred scriptures like the sutras or the bible. Shinto was founded around 2,500 years ago as a mixture of many tribal religions, each having had their own kami. Shinto is a system of faith and a body of folkways, festivals, myths, ancient writings, and cultural attitudes in relation to the kami.
Shinto, "the Way of the Gods", is the indigenous system of beliefs and rituals of the Japanese people. Shinto is a combination of two Chinese words: Shin, meaning divinity, and Tao, meaning "the way" or "the path". Shintoism is an ethnic religion, based in Japan, although it was affected by Taoism, Buddhism, and Confucianism. As these religions spread to the islands of Japan from Asia and Korea, Shinto has remained a religion of the Japanese people.
History of Shinto
Shintoism was the original religion of Japan before the coming of Buddhism, which is currently the main religion of Japan. Shintoism is a very simple religion. It gives only one command, the necessity of being loyal to one's ancestors.
Its early aspects were naturalistic, which included spiritism, totemism, and nature worship. Early Japanese worshipped the sun, thunder, earth, volcanoes, tigers, serpents, trees, shrubs, vines, etc. The symbol of a shrine is its gate (the torii). It represents the division between the everyday world and the divine world.
Area Adherents Population Percentage
Continuation of History
The only deity actually recognized in higher Shintoism is the spiritualized human mind. For the masses, Shintoism has about 800,000 gods, mostly the deified heroes of the Japanese. The sun goddess Amaterasu from whom the Imperial Family of Japan traces its roots, was the mother of the first emperor, who was sent to earth to find an imperial dynasty. This belief was sacred and became the basis of State Shinto. The emperor became a symbol of the people and the unity of the nation.
Tradition encouraged a respect for the authority of the state, the employer, and the family. Shinto became invested as the official religion and was eventually used to justify the cult of the emperor and the Japanese militarism of the early twentieth century. Under the new constitution written after World War II, Shinto was reduced to the status of an ordinary sect.
Over 90% of the people of Japan are Shintoist. Shinto is a non-exclusive religion and people may practice Shinto along with a second religion, since the beliefs of Shinto do not usually conflict with other faiths. Most Japanese people practice both Shinto and Buddhism.
There are over 110,000 Shinto shrines and temples for the kami in Japan. Each shrine usually has some reason for its existence, such as an important historical event. Many Japanese homes may have small shrines within called kami-dana.
Adherents are expected to visit these shrines at various life cycle events. Inside of the gate, known as the Torii, is a bridge over a small stream and a wash basin where worshipers wash their hands and face. Worship is conducted at a shrine by bowing, reciting a prayer, knocking or ringing a bell to attract the attention of the kami, and then giving offerings to the kami inside.
Continuation of History
Kojiki (Records of Ancient matters)
Kojiki is the oldest extant chronicle in Japan, dating from the early 8th century (711-712) and composed by no Yasumaro at the request of Empress Gemmei. The Kojiki is a collection of myths concerning the origin of the four home islands of Japan, and the Kami. Along with the Nihon Shoki, the myths contained in the Kojiki are part of the inspiration behind Shinto practices and myths, including the misogi purification ritual.
Nihongi (Chronicles of Japan)
Nihongi is the second oldest book of classical Japanese history. The book is also called the Nihongi lit. It is more elaborate and detailed than the Kojiki, the oldest, and has proven to be an important tool for historians and archaeologists as it includes the most complete extant historical record of ancient Japan. The Nihon Shoki was finished in 720 under the editorial supervision of Prince Toneri and with the assistance of no Yasumaro.
Significance of the Myths
The Kojiki is an important source book for ceremonies, customs, divination, and magical practices of ancient Japan. It includes myths, legends, and historical accounts of the imperial court from the earliest days of its creation up to the reign of Empress Suiko. This is significant because it was the base to the start of Shinto. The Nihongi continues where the Kojiki finishes, cataloging the descent of the Yamato rulers of Japan from the Gods, to the date of 697 AD. They both represent a mixture of an open political agenda with a sometimes mixed groups of mythological happenings.
Shinto is a loose collection of faiths without any written commandments or creeds. It is conveyed by ritual, practice, and behavior rather than by word. There are two great texts of Shinto belief and mythology, being the Kojiki or Records of Ancient Matters, and the Nihongi or Chronicles of Japan. Both texts date from about 700 CE.
Shinto has no moral code. Morality is a human, social concept. Shinto is a community based religion. The community may include all Japanese or those who live in a specific area or individuals who respond to a particular kami. Shinto ethics are not based on a set of commandments or laws that tell the faithful how to behave, but on following the will of the kami. A follower of Shinto will try to live in accordance with the way of the kami.
It is important to remember that the kami are not perfect, Shinto texts have many examples of kami making mistakes.This clear difference with faiths whose God is perfect is probably why Shinto ethics avoids absolute moral rules. The overall aim of Shinto ethics is to promote purity in all spheres of life. Purity is not just spiritual but also moral.
Shinto Purification Process
In conclusion, Japanese mythology or otherwise known as Shinto is a religion that involves the worship of natural spirit, belief in the sacred power of Kami, and ancestors.
By: Roxanne Grzybowski and Anna Skoczylas
Shinto is the national religion of Japan. Some call it a "patriotic cult" not a religion because its links to the founding of Japan and the Japanese Imperial family. Others see it as more of a community religious because of its emphasis on local shrines and local guardian gods.
Cult ( practices of beliefs)
Shinto was originally "a shapeless mix of nature worship, fertility cults, divination techniques, hero worship, and shamanism."
It is believed that ancestors are to be deeply respected and worshiped.
Each shrine is dedicated to a specific Kami who has a divine personality and responds to sincere prayers of the faithful. When entering a shrine, one passes through a special gateway for the gods. It marks the boundary between the finite world and the infinite world of the gods.
According to Shinto's creation myth, the heavens and the earths were mixed together in a great cloud. Slowly, the clearer, lighter parts of the cloud rose up and became heaven. The heavier parts of the cloud descended and became an ocean of muddy water. Between the heavens and the earth, a pale green sprout began to grow. It grew swiftly and was extremely strong. When the plant’s flower burst open, the First God emerged.
This First God then created Izanagi, the god of all that is light and heavenly. Izanagi, "the male who invites", and his wife and sister Izanami, "the female who invites". The First God gave Izanagi the task of finishing the creation of the world. When Izanami died giving birth, Izanagi went to the underworld to retrieve her, but she refused to come back with him and they parted forever. When Izanagi returned from the underworld, he started the first cleaning rites. He washed his left eye and created the sun goddess Amaterasu. When he washed his right eye, the moon goddess Tsuki-Yumi was created. From his nose he created Susanowo, the god of the seas and the storms.
HOPE YOU ENJOYED
- This pie chart shows Shnto as the highest percentage religion, however Buddhism is now currently the main religion of Japan.