Shintoism 83.9%, Buddhism 71.4%, Christianity 2%, other 7.8% note: total adherents exceeds 100% because many people belong to both Shintoism and Buddhism (2005) Source: CIA World Factbook
1. A Brief History of Japanese Religion (325-334) See Section Review Questions on pgs. 334-35 1.What role does the Japanese Creation Myth play in Japanese identity?noooo – The Japanese creation myth places Japan as the center of the world and its rulers as direct descendants of Amaterasu, the sun god. The myth holds that Japan is of divine origin. 2.Why might kami be a better word to describe Japanese religion than Shinto? – Kami relates to any spiritual or sacred power. Kami permeates Japanese religion. There are thought to be 8 million kami divided into gods of the sky or gods of the soil.
1. A Brief History of Japanese Religion (325-334) 3.What was the traditional role of the emperor in Japanese religion? – The traditional role of the emperor in Japanese religions was that of a kami. The emperor was believed to be a direct descendant of the sun goddess, Amaterasu. 4.Describe the differences between Soto Zen Buddhism and Rinzai Zen Buddhism. – While Rinzai Zen believes that a person can gain immediate enlightenment, Soto Zen believes enlightenment emphasizes a method of zazen, or sitting meditation, Rinzai places more emphasis on the koan.
1. A Brief History of Japanese Religion (325-334) 5.What did the Meiji Government restore? – The Meiji government restored some of the imperial power that had been lost to the shogunates. 6.What happened to Emperor Hirohito after World War II? – Due to the defeat of the Japanese in World War II, Emperor Hirohito was forced to renounce his divinity. 7.What are new religions among Japanese religions? – Involving Shinto and Buddhism at the beginning of the 20 th century. These movements shuffled and reintegrated elements of the older religious traditions into new movements or society. What is Soka Gakkai?
2. Sacred Stories and Scriptures (335-36) 1.Name the two texts that contain the National myth of Japan. – Kojiki (Record of Ancient Matters) – Nihonshoki (Chronicles of Japan) 2.For whom were the texts written? – They were written for the Emperors (specifically Temmu). They were written to legitimize the imperial government as the direct descendant of the sun goddess, Amaterasu.
3. Beliefs and Practices (336-40) 1.Besides being a name for Shinto gods, what does Kami refer to? – Kami also refers to whatever is sacred or powerful. Nature, such as mountains, rivers, trees, or rocks can be kami. Human beings can be kami (Emperor, warriors, poets, etc.) 2.Harmony and loyalty are valued virtues in Japanese religion. Why? – Harmony describes how kami and people live together. Loyalty is the state that holds the five relationships of li together.
4. Sacred Time (341-44) 1.Why did Japan move to the Gregorian calendar? – To compete with the West. 2.What happens on the fiftieth anniversary of a Japanese person’s death? – This person is considered to be an ancestor in the Japanese tradition.
5. Sacred Places/Spaces (344-47) 1.Why do many Japanese homes have both Shinto and Buddhist shrines? – Shinto emphasizes things of life such as birth, marriage, agriculture, or even a new job. The Buddhist emphasizes the end of life and the after life. Guess who makes the offerings? 2.What is the significance of a torii at a shrine or temple? – Symbolically, the torii separates the profane world outside from the sacred residence of the kami inside. 3.Name the typical elements in a Shinto worship service. – They are: rite of purification, the offering, and the prayer. 4.Why is the Grand Shrine at Ise significant for Japanese religion? – This is the location of the shrine for the imperial family of ancient Japan.