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Social Studies
Religious Studies

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The main Shinto rites and festivals are for celebrating the New Year, child birth, coming of age, planting and havest, weddings, and groundbreaking ceremonies for new buildings. Many national holidays in Japan are Shinto in origin.

Shintoism can be found in Japan and is the formal state religion of Japan. It connects modern day Japan with the past and also has no founder. It was first used in the sixth century C.E., although the traditions trace back to atleast sixth century B.C.E., it is said that 80% to 90% of the people in Japan are Shinto and there are about 3,000,000 followers around the world.

Origami is a Japanese folk art. If you go to a Shinto shrine, you will often find these beautiful and ornate paper foldings around it. Since the tree kami gave life for the paper to be created, Origami paper is never cut.

Shinto does not have a founder nor does it have sacred scriptures like the bible. Shinto is deeply rooted in the Japanese people and traditions. There is no absolute right and wrong, and nobody is perfect. Shinto is an optimistic faith, as humans are thought to be fundamentally good, and evil is believed to be caused by evil spirits. The purpose of most Shinto rituals is to keep away evil spirits by purification, prayers and offerings to the kami.


The symbol of Shintoism is the Torii Gate. It symbolizes the entrance to sacred space. Representing the transition between the finite world and the infinite world of gods.

Shinto worship follows strict convections of order and control. In kepping Shinto values, Shinto rituals should be carried out with sincerity, cheerfulness and purity. There is no special day of worship. The origin of the word "shinto" means "way of the kami." Therefore, Shinto beliefs focus on the existence and power of the kami, or gods, that exist in the world, in nature, and especially in and throughout Japan.

Many Japanese homes contain a place set aside as a shrine, called a kami-dana (kami shelf), where they may make offerings of flowers or food, and say prayers. Although Shinto worship features public and shared rituals at local shrines, it can also be a private and individual event, in which a person at a shrine (or in their home) prays to particular kami either to obtain something, or to thank the kami for something good that has happened.

Shinto is translated into "The way of the Gods.". "Kami" translates to "god" or "gods." Kami are realized in many different forms: rivers, rocks, mountains, islands, fish, rice, the sun, etc. A single, all-powerful god is not found in Shinto. Humans become kami after they die and are respected by their families as a kami. The kami of extraordinary people are even enshrined at some shrines. The Sun Goddess Amaterasu is considered Shinto's most important kami.



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