Shinto - Kami no michi – ‘The way of the gods’

Though Shinto is a Japanese religion, its name comes from 2 Chinese words: shin – ‘divine’ and tao – ‘the way.’ The gods, or kami, in Shinto are thought to live in rocks, mountains, and rivers. It explains the creation of Japan, its people and links the emperor to the divine line of the kami.

Shinto promotes harmony between people, nature and the kami. It has no known founder, central figure or scripture, though there is a code of values promoting cleanliness, purity, and renewal. Shinto believes in kuni-hito where group solidarity is favoured over individual identity. Closely associated with Buddhism, which offers the comfort of life after death, Shinto, however, sees death as the end of existence. From this comes the phrase “Born Shinto, Die Buddhist.”

Shinto has no regular services, other than festivals, as people are to live by Shinto daily and offer thanks when they feel the need. Shinto has many festivals, Spring planting, Fall harvest, and New Year being most important.

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