Traditional Japanese Religious Society

Susumu Shimazono

in The Oxford Handbook of Global Religions

Published in print October 2006 | ISBN: 9780195137989
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Religion and Theology

 Traditional Japanese Religious Society

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Japanese culture, whether it is practiced in Japan or in expatriate Japanese communities around the world, is built on a foundation of traditional Japanese religion. By “traditional,” as opposed to “modern,” one refers to aspects of Japanese culture that originate before the modern era, a line that is usually drawn at the Meiji Restoration in 1867. Shinto and Buddhism were firmly established in Japanese society before 1867, as were folk religions with deep association with the two major religions. Many Shinto shrines are not constructed in the shape of a house, whereas many of the Buddhist temples are built like houses and have live-in priests. Most of the more than 77,000 Buddhist temples in the country are grouped under the seven major sects, namely, Tendai-shu, Shingon-shu, Jodo-shu, Jodoshin-shu, Rinzai-shu, Soto-shu, and Nichiren-shu, and the rest belong to smaller sects. This article examines Shinto and Buddhism in Japan, focusing on religious traditions such as performing rites for the dead and for the ancestors for danka, making wishes, prayers, fortune telling, and taboos.

Keywords: Japan; danka; taboos; Buddhism; Shinto; shrines; temples; sects; rites; fortune telling

Article.  2571 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Interfaith Relations

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