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Encyclopedia > Religion in Japan

The primary religions of Japan are Buddhism and Shintō (the latter is a pagan, animist religion). Most Japanese people do not believe in just one exclusive religion; instead they incorporate the features of both religions in their daily lives in a process known as syncretism. Many people, especially those in younger generations, claim to feel that the religions in Japan are part of the traditional culture. Shinto and Buddhist teachings are deeply entangled in Japanese everyday life, though the Japanese people themselves may not be aware of it. Generally speaking, it can be difficult for westerners to disentangle "real" Japanese religion from everyday superstition and rituals; most Japanese people do not often give the distinction much thought. A statue of the Sakyamuni Buddha in Tawang Gompa, India. ... A torii at Itsukushima Shrine Shinto (神道 Shintō) (sometimes called Shintoism) is a native religion of Japan and was once its state religion. ... Pagan may refer to: A believer in Paganism or Neopaganism Bagan, a city in Myanmar also known as Pagan Pagan (album), the 6th album by Celtic metal band Cruachan Pagan Island, of the Northern Mariana Islands Pagan Lorn, a metal band from Luxembourg, Europe (1994-1998) Pagans Mind, is... This article is in need of attention. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Shinto ) is the native religion of Japan and was once its state religion. ... Japanese Buddhist priest c. ...


One of the main characteristics of Japanese religion is its tendency towards syncretism. The same person may have a wedding at a Christian church and have a funeral at a Buddhist temple. Japanese streets are decorated on Tanabata, Obon and Christmas. This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Nuptial is the adjective of wedding. It is used for example in zoology to denote plumage, coloration, behavior, etc related to or occurring in the mating season. ... Topics in Christianity Movements · Denominations · Other religions Ecumenism · Preaching · Prayer Music · Liturgy · Calendar Symbols · Art · Criticism Important figures Apostle Paul · Church Fathers Constantine · Athanasius · Augustine Anselm · Aquinas · Palamas · Luther Calvin · Wesley Arius · Marcion of Sinope Archbishop of Canterbury · Catholic Pope Coptic Pope · Ecumenical Patriarch Christianity Portal This box:      Christianity is... For the architectural structure, see Church (building). ... For other uses, see Funeral (disambiguation). ... People dressed in yukata at Tanabata Tanabata ), meaning Evening of the seventh) is a Japanese star festival, derived from Obon traditions and the Chinese star festival, Qi Xi. ... YOSAKOI1(2004 August at Enomoto Primary School Osaka) Yosakoi2(2004 August at Enomoto Primary School Osaka) O-bon is a Japanese Buddhist holiday to honor the departed spirits of ones ancestors. ... For other uses, see Christmas (disambiguation). ...

Contents

Introduction

The colossal statue of Vairocana at Todaiji in Nara
The colossal statue of Vairocana at Todaiji in Nara
Iwashimizu Hachiman Shintō shrine, Kyoto Prefecture
Iwashimizu Hachiman Shintō shrine, Kyoto Prefecture

While it has been the backbone of the Japanese culture from ancient times, between the 16th to the 19th century Shintō flourished, eventually seeking unity under a symbolic imperial rule. Adopted by the leaders of the Meiji Restoration as a "pure" Japanese religion, it received state support and was isolated from Buddhism and radicalized to spur patriotic and nationalistic feelings in the buildup towards World War I. Image File history File links The bronze Daibutsu of Todai temple in Nara is 16 meters high and weighs 500 tons. ... Image File history File links The bronze Daibutsu of Todai temple in Nara is 16 meters high and weighs 500 tons. ... Iwashimizu Hachiman Shrine, Kyoto, Japan I took this photograph and contribute it to the public domain. ... Iwashimizu Hachiman Shrine, Kyoto, Japan I took this photograph and contribute it to the public domain. ... (15th century - 16th century - 17th century - more centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 16th century was that century which lasted from 1501 to 1600. ... Alternative meaning: Nineteenth Century (periodical) (18th century — 19th century — 20th century — more centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 19th century was that century which lasted from 1801-1900 in the sense of the Gregorian calendar. ... The Meiji Restoration ), also known as the Meiji Ishin, Revolution, or Renewal, was a chain of events that led to enormous changes in Japans political and social structure. ... “The Great War ” redirects here. ...


Following World War II, state support was discontinued and the Emperor publicly disavowed divinity, under American pressure. Today Shintō has reverted to a more peripheral role in the life of the Japanese people. The numerous shrines are visited regularly by local believers and sightseers. Many marriages are held in the shrines, and children are brought after birth and on certain anniversary dates; special shrine days are celebrated for specific occasions, and numerous festivals are held throughout the year, often drawing huge crowds at the larger shrines. Many homes have "god shelves" (神棚, kamidana), where offerings can be made to Shinto deities.


Buddhism first came to Japan in the 6th century and for the next 10 centuries exerted profound influence on its intellectual, artistic, social, and political life; 96%[1] of Japan's population is Buddhist. Most funerals are conducted by Buddhist priests, and burial grounds attached to temples are used by Buddhism, Shinto, and other faiths such as Christianity and Islam. A statue of the Sakyamuni Buddha in Tawang Gompa, India. ... The 6th century is the period from 501 - 600 in accordance with the Julian calendar in the Christian Era. ...


Confucianism, although not practiced as a religion, has deeply influenced Japanese thought. In other words, Confucianism is the practice of proper forms of conduct, especially in social and familial relationships. It is derived from compilations attributed to the fifth-century B.C. Chinese philosopher Kong Fuzi or Kongzi (Confucius; in Japanese, Koshi). Confucian government was to be a moral government, bureaucratic in form and benevolent toward the ruled. Confucianism also provided a hierarchical system, in which each person was to act according to his or her status to create a harmoniously functioning society and ensure loyalty to the state. The teachings of filial piety and humanity continue to form the foundation for much of social life and ideas about family and nation. Neo-Confucianism, introduced to Japan in the twelfth century, is an interpretation of nature and society based on metaphysical principles and is influenced by Buddhist and Taoist ideas. In Japan, where it is known as Shushigaku (Shushi School, after the Chinese neo-Confucian scholar Zhu Xi–Shushi in Japanese), it brought the idea that family stability and social responsibility are human obligations. The school used various metaphysical concepts to explain the natural and social order. Shushigaku, in turn, influenced the kokutai (national polity) theory, which emphasized the special national characteristics of Japan. A Confucian temple in Wuwei, Peoples Republic of China. ... Confucius (Chinese: ; pinyin: ; Wade-Giles: Kung-fu-tzu), lit. ... Zhu Xi or Chu Hsi (born October 18, 1130, Yuxi, Fujian province, China – died April 23, 1200, China) was a Song Dynasty (960-1279) Confucian scholar who became the leading figure of the School of Principle and the most influential rationalist Neo-Confucian in China. ... Kokutai (Japanese kanji: 国体, lit. ...


Taoism from China has influenced Japanese thought and has a special affinity to Zen Buddhism. Zen's praise of emptiness, exhortations to act in harmony with nature, and admonitions to avoid discrimination and duality all are parallel in Taoist beliefs. The lunar calendar, the selection of auspicious days for special events, the sitting of buildings, and numerous folk medicine treatments also have origins in Taoism and continue as customs to varying degrees in contemporary Japanese society. Taoism has also influenced native shamanistic traditions and rituals. Taoism (or Daoism) is the English name referring to a variety of related Chinese philosophical traditions and concepts. ... For other uses, see Zen (disambiguation). ... A lunar calendar is a calendar in many cultures that is oriented at the moon phase. ...


Shinto

The Nachi Shrine is an ancient site of Shinto worship.
The Nachi Shrine is an ancient site of Shinto worship.
Main article: Shinto

Shintoism is one of Japan's largest religions and is the native religion. It originated in and is almost exclusive to Japan. Shintō originated in prehistoric times, as a religion with respect for nature and in particular certain sacred sites. These sites may have originally been used to worship the sun, rock formations, trees, and even sounds. Since each of these things was associated with a deity this resulted in a complex polytheistic religion. The deities in Shintō are known as "kami", and "Shinto", itself, means "the way of the gods". Worship of Shinto is done at shrines. Especially important is the act of purification before visiting these shrines. Kumano Nachi Taisha Shinto Shrine Nachikatsuura, Wakayama Wakayama prefecture Kii Peninsula Honshu Japan I took this photograph and contribute it to the public domain. ... Kumano Nachi Taisha Shinto Shrine Nachikatsuura, Wakayama Wakayama prefecture Kii Peninsula Honshu Japan I took this photograph and contribute it to the public domain. ... Shinto ) is the native religion of Japan and was once its state religion. ... Shinto ) is the native religion of Japan and was once its state religion. ... Polytheism is belief in, or worship of, multiple gods or divinities. ...


Shinto as an indigenous religion has no holy book, no founder, and no canon. The Nihongi and Kojiki, however, contain a record of Japanese mythology. Nihonshoki (日本書紀) is the second oldest history book about the ancient history of Japan. ... Kojiki or Furukotofumi (古事記), also known in English as the Records of Ancient Matters, is the oldest surviving historical book recounting events of ancient earth in the Japanese language. ... Japanese mythology is a very complex system of beliefs that embraces Shinto and Buddhist traditions as well as agriculture-based folk religion. ...


Shinto began to fall out of fashion after the arrival of Buddhism, but soon, Shinto and Buddhism began to be practiced as one religion. On sites of Shintō shrines, Buddhist temples were built, and people began to adhere to both.


Before 1868, there were three main forms of Shinto: Shrine Shinto, the most popular type; Folk (or Popular) Shinto, practiced by the peasants; and Imperial Household Shinto, practiced by the imperial family.


But soon, in the 18th and 19th centuries, people began to form independent Shinto sects, which were very radical and some even monotheistic, such as Tenrikyo. These were soon known as the Shinto Sects, or the New Religions. Tenrikyo Headquarters, Tenri Tenrikyo (天理教; Tenrikyō, lit. ...


After the Meiji Revolution in 1868, Shinto and Buddhism were forcefully separated. The Emperor Meiji made Shintō the official religion, creating a form of Shinto known as State Shinto, which merged Shrine, Folk, and Imperial Household Shinto together. Sect Shinto was seen as radical and separated from Shintō. Under Meiji, Japan became a moderate theocracy, with shrines being controlled by the government. Shinto soon became a reason for Japanese nationalism. After Japan took over Korea and Taiwan, State Shintō became the official religion of those countries as well.


During World War II, State Shinto was the only legal religion; Christians and radical Buddhists were persecuted, as well as Sect Shintoists. However, many people were still adherents of both Sect Shinto and Buddhism.


When the Americans occupied Japan in 1945, the shrines were taken away from the government, and State Shinto was abolished. Shrine, Folk, and Imperial Shinto became separated. The Sect Shinto distanced itself from mainstream Shinto.


Japanese Buddhism

Main article: Buddhism in Japan
The Toshodaiji was an early Buddhist temple in Nara.
The Toshodaiji was an early Buddhist temple in Nara.

Buddhism first arrived to Japan in the sixth century, from the Southern part of Korean peninsula kingdom of Baekje, where the Baekje king sent the Japanese emperor a picture of the Buddha and some sutras. Japanese aristocrats built many Buddhist statues and temples in the capital at Nara, and then at the later capital of Heian (now Kyoto). The Buddha in Kamakura (1252). ... Toshodaiji Buddhist Temple Nara Japan UNESCO World Heritage Site I took this photograph and contribute it to the public domain. ... Toshodaiji Buddhist Temple Nara Japan UNESCO World Heritage Site I took this photograph and contribute it to the public domain. ... Categories: Stub | Buddhist temples | World Heritage Sites in Japan ... A statue of the Sakyamuni Buddha in Tawang Gompa, India. ... Baekje (October 18 BCE–August 660 BCE), originally Sipje, was a kingdom in the southwest of the Korean Peninsula. ...


Buddhism is divided into three forms, the more orthodox and impersonal Theravada Buddhism, which is prevalent in India and Southeast Asia, and the more personal Mahayana Buddhism, which spread to North India, China, Tibet, and from there went to Korea, where it came to Japan. The third is Vajrayana Buddhism. From the beginning, the largest form of Buddhism in Japan was the Mahayana school. Theravada (Pali; Sanskrit: Sthaviravada) is one of the eighteen (or twenty) Nikāya schools that formed early in the history of Buddhism. ... Relief image of the bodhisattva Guan Yin from Mt. ... A mandala used in Vajrayana Buddhist practices. ...


In the capital of Nara, six Buddhist sects were created. These six are today quite small and called together "Nara Buddhism". Some were Theravada influenced. These Buddhist schools did very well, but when the capital moved to Heian, more forms of Buddhism arrived from China. The two survivors of that day are Shingon, an esoteric form of Buddhism similar to Tibet's Vajrayana (or Tantric) Buddhism, and Tendai, a monastic conservative form known better by its Chinese name of Tiantai. These Buddhist forms converted many Japanese, and temples were built all over Heian. Most Japanese at this time too adhered to both Shinto and Buddhism. Shingon (真言宗) is a major school of Japanese Buddhism, and the most important school of Vajrayana Buddhism outside of the Himalayan region. ... Tiantai (天台宗, Wade-Giles: Tien Tai) is one of the thirteen schools of Buddhism in China and Japan, also called the Lotus Sutra School because of its emphasis on the supremacy of that scripture. ...


When the shogunate took power in the 1100s, and the administrative capital moved to Kamakura, new forms of Buddhism arrived. The most popular was Zen, known in China as Chan. Zen Buddhism was completely different, and it was the most popular type of Mahayana Buddhism of the time period. Zen split up into two different forms, Rinzai and Soto. Soto Zen is the more popular of the two today. Zen Buddhism is today the fourth largest type of Buddhism, but the most popular among Westerners. Kamakura can refer to: Kamakura, Kanagawa, a city in Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan The Kamakura Shogunate The Kamakura period in the History of Japan The Kamakura family name in Japan Kamakura Great Buddha, the Great Buddha of Kamakura Kamakura, a fictional character from the G.I. Joe series Category: ... For other uses, see Zen (disambiguation). ... A woodblock print by Yoshitoshi, (Japan, 1887) depicting Bodhidharma the founder of Chinese Zen. ... There is a disputed proposal that this article should be merged with Rinzai and Linji. ... For the vegetable, see Celosia. ...


Another form of Buddhism arrived in the Kamakura period, known as Jodo-kyo or Pure Land Buddhism. Pure Land Buddhism emphasizes the role of Amida Buddha or the Buddha of the Western Paradise. This school promises that reciting the phrase "Namo Amida Butsu" upon death will result in a person being removed by Amida to the "Western Paradise" or "Pure Land" and from then on to Nirvana. Jodo-kyo attracted the merchant and farmer classes. But after Honen, Jodo-kyo's head missionary in Japan, died, the form split up. Jodo-shu were followers of Honen who said that saying the Nembutsu (an abbreviation for Namo Amida Butsu) many many times would save someone. The more liberal form started by Shinran known as Jodo Shinshu says that saying the phrase once with a pure heart will save you. It has also dropped monastism. Jodo Shinshu is the largest form today. The following text needs to be harmonized with text in the article History of Japan#Kamakura Period. ... The Buddha Amitabha, 13th century, Kamakura, Japan. ... The Big Buddha in Kamakura, an image of Amitabha Amitābha (阿彌陀佛 Ch. ... This article is about the Buddhist concept. ... Jōdo ShinshÅ« ), also known as Shin Buddhism, was founded by the former Tendai Japanese monk Shinran Shonin. ... Jōdo ShinshÅ« ), also known as Shin Buddhism, was founded by the former Tendai Japanese monk Shinran Shonin. ...


A more radical form of Buddhism was Nichiren Buddhism, created by the monk Nichiren, which praised the Lotus Sutra. Nichiren's teaching was often revolutionary, and the shogun distrusted him, especially when he said that the Mongols were to invade Japan. When the shogun heard this, he exiled Nichiren, but it soon became true. Nichiren Buddhism is the second largest form, and split off into Nichiren-shu, Nichiren Sho-shu, a more radical form, and Soka Gakkai, a very radical Nichiren denomination, whose political wing forms the conservative yet buddhist New Komeito Party, Japan's third largest political party. Nichiren (日蓮) (February 16, 1222 – October 13, 1282), born Zennichimaro (善日麿), later Zeshō-bō Renchō (是生房蓮長), and finally Nichiren (日蓮), was a Buddhist monk of 13th century Japan. ... Soka Gakkai International or SGI is the umbrella organization for affiliate lay organizations in over 190 countries practicing a form of the Buddhism of Nichiren Daishonin. ... The New Clean Government Party (公明党) or NKP, -- often translated as New Komeito Party, is a political party in Japan affiliated with the religious movement Soka Gakkai. ...


Shinto and Buddhism were closely knit, and forms of Shinto and Buddhism were formed where the two were merged together. In 1868, after the Meiji Restoration, Buddhism and Shintō were separated, but many Japanese still adhered to both. The Meiji Restoration ), also known as the Meiji Ishin, Revolution, or Renewal, was a chain of events that led to enormous changes in Japans political and social structure. ...


Today, most Japanese[citation needed] adhere to Nishi Honganji-ha Buddhism, a conservative form of Jodo Shin-shu. It was formed in 1580, after Honganji, a form of Jodo Shin-shu, split up into two forms - Nishi and Higashi. Most Japanese[citation needed] also adhere to other forms, however, such as Higashi, Zen, Nichiren, and other forms, as well as Shinto.


Other Religions

Main article: Judaism in Japan

Judaism is practiced by approximately 600 Americans and Europeans residing in Japan, [1], at synagogues located in Tokyo and Kobe. In addition, it is practiced on several US military bases in Japan. There is also a Makuya community of Japanese who claim to be descendants two of the Lost Tribes of Israel (Dan and Zebulun). Jews are a minor ethnic group in Japan, presently consisting of only about 1002 Jewish people which makes up about 0. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... The United States Forces Japan (USFJ, Japanese: ) refers to the various divisions of the United States Armed Forces (USAF) that are stationed in Japan. ... Makuya ), also called Makuya of Christ ) and based at the Tokyo Bible Seminary, is a small Japanese New Religion, which considers itself Christian, and is strongly Zionist. ... Lost Ten Tribes, also referenced as the Ten Lost Tribes or the Lost Ten Tribes of Israel, usually refers to ten of the tribes of the ancient Kingdom of Israel that were reported lost after the Kingdom of Israel was totally destroyed, enslaved and exiled by ancient Assyria. ... Tribe of Dan was also a band from the mid 1990s. ... This entry incorporates text from Eastons Bible Dictionary, 1897, with some modernisation. ...

Main article: Islam in Japan

Islam constitutes a relatively small group in Japan, which has little social influence. The history of Islam in Japan is relatively brief in relation to the religions longstanding presence in other countries around the world. ... For people named Islam, see Islam (name). ...

Main article: Hinduism in Japan

Hinduism is a small minority religion in Japan that began when Hinduism and other Indian related beliefs (including Buddhism) spread to Japan from China and Korea during the 6th century. In the 19th century Hindu numbers increased, seeking to take advantage of the textile importing and exporting industry. Hinduism, unlike the closely related Buddhism, is a minority religion in Japan. ... hinduism also involves the exchange of male pun. ... This article is about the Korean civilization. ... The 6th century is the period from 501 - 600 in accordance with the Julian calendar in the Christian Era. ... For other uses, see Textile (disambiguation). ...


Sikhism Like Hindus, Sikhs make up a very small amount of Japan's religious backgrounds. Sikhs had come to Japan from China, Korea, and Hong Kong. Sikhs are mainly in Kobe and Tokyo. Sikhism (IPA: or ; Punjabi: , , IPA: ), founded on the teachings of Guru Nanak Dev and nine successive gurus in fifteenth century Northern India, is the fifth-largest religion in the world. ... This article is about the Korean civilization. ... This article is about the Japanese city. ... For other uses, see Tokyo (disambiguation). ...


Christianity

See also: Kirishitan

Japan's first contacts with the West in the 16th and 17th centuries were with either traders or missionaries. The first forms of Christianity to arrive were Roman Catholicism, spread by Spanish and Portuguese missionaries, and Protestantism, spread by Dutch missionaries. Thousands of Japanese converted from Shinto and Buddhism to Catholic Christianity. This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... Image File history File links Question_book-3. ... (15th century - 16th century - 17th century - more centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 16th century was that century which lasted from 1501 to 1600. ... (16th century - 17th century - 18th century - more centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 17th century was that century which lasted from 1601-1700. ... As a Christian ecclesiastical term, Catholic - from the Greek adjective , meaning general or universal [1] - is described in the Oxford English Dictionary as follows: ~Church, (originally) whole body of Christians; ~, belonging to or in accord with (a) this, (b) the church before separation into Greek or Eastern and Latin or... Topics in Christianity Movements · Denominations · Other religions Ecumenism · Preaching · Prayer Music · Liturgy · Calendar Symbols · Art · Criticism Important figures Apostle Paul · Church Fathers Constantine · Athanasius · Augustine Anselm · Aquinas · Palamas · Luther Calvin · Wesley Arius · Marcion of Sinope Archbishop of Canterbury · Catholic Pope Coptic Pope · Ecumenical Patriarch Christianity Portal This box:      Christianity is...


On August 15th, 1549, Francisco Xavier (a Catholic Saint)[2][3], Cosme de Torres (a Jesuit priest), and Father John Fernandez arrived in Kagoshima from Spain with hopes to bring Christianity and Catholicism to Japan. On September 29th, Xavier visited Shimazu Takahisa, the daimyo of Kagoshima, asking for permission to build the first Catholic mission in Japan. The daimyo agreed in hopes of producing a trade relationship with Europe. During his stay in Japan, Xavier ordered all missionaries to study the Japanese language and an early form of Romaji was developed as a result. He also succeeded in baptizing and fully converting 100 people to Catholicism. Events July - Ketts Rebellion Francis Xavier arrives in Japan. ... Saint Francis Xavier (Basque: San Frantzisko Xabierkoa; Spanish: San Francisco Javier; Portuguese: São Francisco Xavier; Chinese: 聖方濟各沙勿略) (7 April 1506 - 2 December 1552) was a Spanish pioneering Roman Catholic Christian missionary and co-founder of the Society of Jesus (Jesuit Order). ... Kagoshima (鹿児島市; -shi) the capital city of Kagoshima Prefecture at the southwest tip of the Kyushu island of Japan. ... Shimazu Takahisa (島津貴久; 1514-July 15, 1571) was a daimyo during Sengoku period. ... Daimyo Matsudaira Katamori visits the residence of a retainer. ... Japanese writing Kanji 漢字 Kana 仮名 Hiragana 平仮名 Katakana 片仮名 Uses Furigana 振り仮名 Okurigana 送り仮名 Romaji ローマ字 The title given to this article lacks diacritics because of certain technical limitations. ...


The shogunate and imperial government at first supported the Christian movement and the missionaries, thinking that they would reduce the power of the powerful Buddhist monks. The thought that Christianity would threaten to destabilize and overthrow the Japanese government arose later on. Japanese policy with regards to Christianity wavered until the 17th century (and around 1614 in particular), when Christianity was banned by Tokugawa Ieyasu and those who refused to abandon their new faith were killed, like Paul Miki or Magdalene of Nagasaki, following the Shimabara Rebellion, in which the Christian rebel army led by Amakusa Shiro was defeated by a large army of the Tokugawa Shogunate at the siege of Hara fortress. Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu The Tokugawa clan crest This is a Japanese name; the family name is Tokugawa Tokugawa Ieyasu (previously spelled Iyeyasu) January 31, 1543 – June 1, 1616) was the founder and first shogun of the Tokugawa shogunate of Japan which ruled from the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600 until... Paul Miki is a saint of the Roman Catholic Church. ... Magdalene of Nagasaki was the daughter of a Christian couple martyred about the year 1620. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... The article incorporates text from OpenHistory. ...


European missionaries who did not leave the country were also killed. Many Christians fled to Europe or the Spanish Philippines. In the next two centuries, Japan remained in a state of complete isolation from the outside world. Dutch traders were limited to the island of Dejima and were forbidden to proselytize. For the sumo wrester Dejima see Dejima Takeharu, see Dejima (disambiguation). ...


In secluded areas, the hidden Christians (Kakure Kirishitan) continued to practice a corrupted Catholicism, actually a cult of their Christian ancestors with misremembered Latin and Portuguese prayers. When Meiji modernization allowed freedom of religion, several of these hidden Christians turned to Roman Catholicism while others maintained their traditions. Shusaku Endo's acclaimed novel "Silence" draws from the oral history of Japanese Catholic communities pertaining to the time of the suppression of the Church. Kakure Kirishitan (隠れキリシタン, Japanese for Hidden Christian) is a modern term for a member of a sect of Japanese Roman Catholicism that went underground after the Shimabara Rebellion in the 1630s. ... Shusaku Endō (遠藤 周作 Endō Shusaku, March 27, 1923 - September 29, 1996) was a renowned 20th Century Japanese author who wrote from a unique perspective of being a Roman Catholic Japanese. ... Silence ) is a 1966 novel by Japanese author Shusaku Endo. ...

Russian Orthodox church in Hakodate

With the 19th century Meiji Restoration, foreign missionaries were able to return. State Shinto was made the official religion, but Christianity was allowed. In addition to Roman Catholicism being allowed back in, Protestantism and Russian Orthodoxy (from Sakhalin) also arrived. Protestant missionaries from Britain, other European countries, and especially the United States succeeded in making many conversions. Church, Hakodate, Hokkaido, Japan I took this photograph and contribute it to the public domain. ... Church, Hakodate, Hokkaido, Japan I took this photograph and contribute it to the public domain. ... Alternative meaning: Nineteenth Century (periodical) (18th century — 19th century — 20th century — more centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 19th century was that century which lasted from 1801-1900 in the sense of the Gregorian calendar. ... The Meiji Restoration ), also known as the Meiji Ishin, Revolution, or Renewal, was a chain of events that led to enormous changes in Japans political and social structure. ... Protestantism encompasses the forms of Christian faith and practice that originated with the doctrines of the Reformation. ... The Russian Orthodox Church (Русская Православная церковь) is that body of Christians who are united under the Patriarch of Moscow, who in turn is in communion with... Sakhalin (Russian: , IPA: ; Japanese: 樺太 ) or サハリン )); Chinese: 庫頁; also Saghalien, is a large elongated island in the North Pacific, lying between 45°50 and 54°24 N. It is part of Russia and is its largest island, administered as part of Sakhalin Oblast. ...


Denominations included Methodists, Episcopalians/Anglicans, Lutherans, Baptists, Roman Catholics, Russian Orthodox, Mormons, and Unitarians. The most popular denomination was the Congregationalist Church, under the name Kyōdan (United Church of Christ). The Methodist movement is a group of denominations of Protestant Christianity. ... The Episcopal Church may refer to several members of the Anglican Communion, including: Episcopal Church in the United States of America Scottish Episcopal Church Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East Episcopal Church of Cuba idk of the Sudan Spanish Reformed Episcopal Church ... The term Anglican describes those people and churches following the religious traditions of the Church of England, especially following the Reformation. ... The Lutheran movement is a group of denominations of Protestant Christianity by the original definition. ... Topics in Christianity Movements · Denominations · Other religions Ecumenism · Preaching · Prayer Music · Liturgy · Calendar Symbols · Art · Criticism Important figures Apostle Paul · Church Fathers Constantine · Athanasius · Augustine Anselm · Aquinas · Palamas · Luther Calvin · Wesley Arius · Marcion of Sinope Archbishop of Canterbury · Catholic Pope Coptic Pope · Ecumenical Patriarch Christianity Portal This box:      Baptist is... The Roman Catholic Church, most often spoken of simply as the Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with over one billion members. ... The Russian Orthodox Church (Русская Православная церковь) is that body of Christians who are united under the Patriarch of Moscow, who in turn is in communion with... This article is about the history and use of the word Mormon. For information about the religious beliefs and culture of Mormons, see Mormonism. ... Historic Unitarianism believed in the oneness of God as opposed to traditional Christian belief in the Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). ... Congregational churches are Protestant Christian churches practicing congregationalist church governance, in which each congregation independently and autonomously runs its own affairs. ...


When the military took power in 1931, Christians of all stripes were forced to merge into the United Church of Christ. During World War II, Christians were persecuted due to their perceived association with the American enemy, leading many to flee the country. Year 1931 (MCMXXXI) was a common year starting on Thursday (link will display full 1931 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ...


In 1945, freedom of religion was allowed, and separation of church and state enacted by the American occupation. All the former denominations were revived, as was the independent United Church of Christ. Year 1945 (MCMXLV) was a common year starting on Monday (link will display the full calendar). ... . Constantines Conversion, depicting the conversion of Emperor Constantine the Great to Christianity, by Peter Paul Rubens. ...


Today, Christianity is adhered to by 1.1 million people, or less than 1%[4][5] of Japan's population, though according to the US State Department 2007 Report, Japan has 3 millions Christians[6]. Most people adhere to Shinto and Buddhism. But in the Japanese Diaspora, mostly in America, there are many Japanese Christians. Most Japanese Christians in the United States belong to the United Methodist Church, and other Protestant denominations. Some churches in America take an active missionary role in converting Japanese in Japan, and America. In the U.S., 43% of Japanese Americans claim a Christian faith. (Pilot National Asian American Political Survey, 2000-1) For other uses, see Diaspora (disambiguation). ... Japanese Americans ) are Americans of Japanese descent who trace their ancestry to Japan or Okinawa and are residents and/or citizens of the United States. ... The United Methodist Church is the largest Methodist denomination, and the second-largest Protestant one, in the United States. ...


In Japan today, most Christians are Protestant. Most belong to the United Church of Christ, followed by Catholics, and then other Protestant denominations. There are also Korean churches, including the Unification Church started in Korea. The Unification Church is a new religious movement started by Sun Myung Moon in Korea in the 1940s. ...


Though Japanese Christians make up a small fraction of the population, Christmas is widely observed, though in a largely secularised form. Furthermore, Christian organizations have founded some important educational institutions such as the International Christian University, Kwansei Gakuin University and the Jesuit Sophia University. For other uses, see Christmas (disambiguation). ... International Christian University ) is a non-denominational private university located in Mitaka, Tokyo, Japan. ... Kwansei Gakuin University ), colloquially abbreviated to KG ), is a private non-sectarian and coeducational university located in Nishinomiya, Sanda, and Osaka City, Japan. ... Sophia University ) is a private university, with its main campus located in Yotsuya, an area of Tokyos Chiyoda Ward in Japan. ...


Prominent Japanese Christians include:

Shusaku Endō (遠藤 周作 Endō Shusaku, March 27, 1923 - September 29, 1996) was a renowned 20th Century Japanese author who wrote from a unique perspective of being a Roman Catholic Japanese. ... Marutei Tsurunen (ツルネン マルテイ or 弦念 丸呈 Tsurunen Marutei, born April 30, 1940) is the first foreign-born Japanese member of the Diet of Japan. ... Toyohiko Kagawa (賀川豊彦 Kagawa Toyohiko, 10 July 1888–23 April 1960) was a Japanese pacifist, Christian reformer, and labour activist. ... Ebara Soroku ); (March 10, 1842-May 19, 1922) was a samurai of the late Edo period who went on to become an educator and politician in the Meiji era. ... Joseph Hardy Neesima (新島 襄, Nījima Jō) (February 12, 1843 - January 23, 1890) is the founder of Doshisha University in Japan. ... Protestantism is a general grouping of denominations within Christianity. ... Topics in Christianity Movements · Denominations Ecumenism · Preaching · Prayer Music · Liturgy · Calendar Symbols · Art · Criticism Important figures Apostle Paul · Church Fathers Constantine · Athanasius · Augustine Anselm · Aquinas · Palamas · Wycliffe Tyndale · Luther · Calvin · Wesley Arius · Marcion of Sinope Pope · Archbishop of Canterbury Patriarch of Constantinople Christianity Portal This box:      For other types of... Chiune Sugihara (Japanese: 杉原千畝, Sugihara Chiune; January 1, 1900 – July 31, 1986) was a Japanese diplomat who helped thousands of Jews leave the Soviet Union while serving as the consul of the Empire of Japan to Lithuania. ... Righteous Among the Nations (Hebrew: חסידי אומות העולם, Hasidei Umot HaOlam), in contemporary usage, is a term often used to describe non-Jews who risked their lives during the Holocaust in order to save Jews from extermination by the Nazis. ... For other uses, see Holocaust (disambiguation) and Shoah (disambiguation). ... New Yad Vashem museum building designed by Safdie Yad Vashem (Hebrew: ‎; Holocaust Martyrs and Heroes Remembrance Authority) is Israels official memorial to the victims of the Holocaust established in 1953 through the Memorial Law passed by the Knesset, Israels parliament. ... For other uses, see Jerusalem (disambiguation). ... Fuchida in training for attack on Pearl Harbor Mitsuo Fuchida (December 3, 1902 - May 30, 1976) was a Lieutenant-Commander (少佐) in the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service and a pilot before and during World War II. He headed the formation that led the first wave of attacks on Pearl Harbor... This article is about the harbor in Hawaii. ... Ayako Sono(曽野綾子 or 曾野綾子, Sono Ayako ( born in Tokyo on September 17th (Shōwa 6) 1931 - ) is a writer and a Catholic. ... This is a Japanese name; the family name is Kon Hidemi Kon , 6 November 1903 – 30 July 1984) was a literary critic and essayist active in Japan during the Showa period. ... The Japan Foundation (jap. ... Taro Aso Taro Aso (麻生太郎 Asō Tarō, born September 20, 1940 in Iizuka, Fukuoka) is the Minister for Foreign Affairs in the Government of Japan. ... A minister for foreign affairs, or foreign minister, is a governmental cabinet minister who helps form the foreign policy of a sovereign nation. ... This article discusses the Japanese singer hitomi. ... m-flo is a Japanese hip hop group currently consisting of producer and DJ Taku Takahashi and emcee VERBAL. As to the origins of the groups name, VERBAL explains: It was originally meteorite flow, but for the Japanese thats pretty long, so (Avex) asked us to shorten it...

New Religions

Main article: Shinshūkyō

Beyond the two traditional religions, many Japanese today are turning to a great variety of popular religious movements normally lumped together under the name "New Religions". These religions draw on the concept of Shinto, Buddhism, and folk superstition and have developed in part to meet the social needs of elements of the population. The officially recognized new religions number in the hundreds, and total membership is reportedly in the tens of millions. Shinshūkyō ) is a term used in Japan to describe new religious movements. ... Shinshūkyō ) is a term used in Japan to describe new religious movements. ...


The biggest new religion is Soka Gakkai, a Buddhist sect, founded in 1930. The New Komeito Party is of this faith. It is both in national and local assemblies and has a huge influence on politics as it is a part of the coalition government at the Diet. Because the Constitution requires separation of church and state the party's connections with the religion is often criticized. Soka Gakkai International or SGI is the umbrella organization for affiliate lay organizations in over 190 countries practicing a form of the Buddhism of Nichiren Daishonin. ... The New Komeito ), New Komeito Party , or NKP is a political party in Japan founded by Daisaku Ikeda, leader of the Buddhist organization Soka Gakkai. ... A coalition government, or coalition cabinet, is a cabinet in parliamentary government in which several parties cooperate. ... The National Diet of Japan ) is Japans legislature. ... . Constantines Conversion, depicting the conversion of Emperor Constantine the Great to Christianity, by Peter Paul Rubens. ...


Many of these new religions actually arose as part of Shintō, and some still have Shinto in their teachings. Some, not all, of the new religions are also known as Sect Shinto, such as Tenrikyo. Tenrikyo Headquarters, Tenri Tenrikyo (天理教; Tenrikyō, lit. ...


They do not make up much of the population, however. Most people follow Shinto and Buddhism, and these new religions make up a little more[citation needed] than Christianity.


Other new religions include:

Aum Shinrikyo, now known as Aleph, is a Japanese religious group founded by Shoko Asahara. ... Aum Shinrikyo, now known as Aleph, is a Japanese religious group founded by Shoko Asahara. ... A wanted poster in Japan. ... Kofuku-no-Kagaku, also called The Institute for Research in Human Happiness (IRH), is a religious organization founded in Japan. ... Konkokyo is a relatively new religion of Japanese origin. ... Oomoto (大本, literally foundation), also known as Omoto-kyo (大本教) or similar Omoto, is a Japanese religion, often categorized as a new Japanese religion and offshoot of Shinto. ... The Pana-Wave Laboratory (Japanese: パナウェーブ研究所) is a religious cult in Japan. ... PL Kyodan or the Church of Perfect Liberty is an international religion that developed from the Zen Buddhist culture of Japan early in the 20th century. ... Seicho-No-Ie (生長の家, Seichō no ie, lit. ... Mahikari is the compilation of two Japanese words Ma (真) True and Hikari (光) Light. Its meaning according to the Mahikari group is True Light. It refers to a group of Japanese Shinshūkyō or new religions founded by Yoshikazu Okada (岡田 良一) (1901-1974). ... Church of World Messianity The Church of World Messianity (世界救世教 Sekai kyūsei kyō in Japanese) is a so-called new religion (Shinshukyo) founded in 1935 by Mokichi Okada (1882-1955), a former staff member of Omoto-kyo. ... Shinreikyo (神霊教 Shinreikyō) is a Japanese Shinshūkyō (new religious movement), founded in 1947. ... Sukyo Mahikari headquarters in Takayama, Gifu, Japan Sukyo Mahikari (崇教真光 Sūkyō Mahikari) is a Japanese new religion (Shinshūkyō). It has garnered a mixture of praise and controversy. ... Tenrikyo Headquarters, Tenri Tenrikyo (天理教; Tenrikyō, lit. ... Zenrinkyō is a new religion in Japan, based on Shinto. ...

Religious Practice

Most Japanese participate in rituals and customs derived from several religious traditions. Life cycle events are often marked by visits to a Shintō shrine. The birth of a new baby is celebrated with a formal shrine visit at the age of about one month, as are the third, fifth, and seventh birthdays and the official beginning of adulthood at age twenty. Wedding ceremonies are often performed by Shinto priests, but Christian weddings (or rather secular American-style chapel weddings, called howaito uedingu ("white wedding") in Japanese) are also popular. In the early 1980s, more than 8% of weddings were held in a shrine or temple, and nearly 4% were held in a church. The most popular place for a wedding ceremony—chosen by 41%—was a wedding hall. See Adult. ... Nuptial is the adjective of wedding. It is used for example in zoology to denote plumage, coloration, behavior, etc related to or occurring in the mating season. ... This article concerns secularity, that is, being secular, in various senses. ...


Funerals are most often performed by Buddhist priests, and Buddhist rites are also common on death day anniversaries of deceased family members. Some Japanese do not perform ancestral ceremonies at all, and some do so rather mechanically and awkwardly. But there have also been changes in these practices, such as more personal and private ceremonies and women honoring their own as well as their husbands' ancestors, that make them more meaningful to contemporary participants.


There are two categories of holidays in Japan: matsuri (festivals), which are largely of Shinto origin and relate to the cultivation of rice and the spiritual well-being of the local community, and nenjyuu gyouji (annual events), mainly of Chinese or Buddhist origin. The matsuri were supplemented during the Heian period with more festivals added and were organized into a formal calendar. In addition to the complementary nature of the different holidays, there were later accretions during the feudal period. Very few matsuri or nencho gyo are national holidays, but they are included in the national calendar of annual events. Most matsuri are local events that follow local traditions, and vary from place to place. Stalls selling food or toys are a familiar sight at festivals throughout Japan. ... The following text needs to be harmonized with text in the article History of Japan#Heian Period. ...


Most holidays are secular in nature, but the two most significant for the majority of Japanese--New Year's Day for Shinto believers and Obon (also called Bon Festival) for Buddhists, which marks the end of the ancestors' annual visit to their earthly home-- involve visits to Shintō shrines or Buddhist temples. The New Year's holiday (January 1-3) is marked by the practice of numerous customs and the consumption of special foods. These customs include time for getting together with family and friends, for special television programming, and for visiting Shintō shrines to pray for family blessings in the coming year. Dressing in a kimono, hanging out special decorations, eating noodles on New Year's Eve to show continuity into the new year, and playing a poetry card game are among the more "traditional" practices. During Obon season, in mid-August (or mid-July depending on the locale), bon (spirit altars) are set up in front of Buddhist family altars, which, along with ancestral graves, are cleaned in anticipation of the return of the spirits. As with the New Year's holiday, people living away from their family homes return for visits with relatives. Celebrations include folk dancing and prayers at the Buddhist temple as well as family rituals in the home. This article is about the date January 1 in the Gregorian calendar. ... Illuminated by the Albuquerque Bridge, Japanese volunteers place candle lit lanterns into the Sasebo River during the Obon festival. ... A traditional wedding kimono The kimono literally something worn) is the national costume of Japan. ...


Many Japanese also participate, at least as spectators, in one of the many local matsuri celebrated throughout the country. Matsuri may be sponsored by schools, towns, or other groups but are most often associated with Shintō shrines. As religious festivals, these strike a Western observer as quite commercialized and secular, but some who plan the events, cook special foods, or carry the floats on their shoulders find renewal of self and of community through participation.[citation needed] Stalls selling food or toys are a familiar sight at festivals throughout Japan. ... For other uses, see Soul (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Community (disambiguation). ...


Religion and the State

Article 20 of the 1947 Constitution states, "Freedom of religion is guaranteed to all. No religious organization shall receive any privileges from the State, nor exercise any political authority". Contemporary religious freedom fits well with the tolerant attitude of most Japanese toward other religious beliefs and practices. Separation of religion and the state, however, is a more difficult issue.


Historically, there was no distinction between a scientific and a religious worldview. In early Japanese history, the ruling class was responsible for performing propitiatory rituals, which later came to be identified as Shinto, and for the introduction and support of Buddhism. Later, religious organization was used by regimes for political purposes, as when the Tokugawa government required each family to be registered as a member of a Buddhist temple for purposes of social control. In the late nineteenth century, rightists created State Shinto, requiring that each family belong to a shrine parish and that the concepts of emperor worship and a national Japanese "family" be taught in the schools. History of Japan Paleolithic Jomon Yayoi Yamato period ---Kofun period ---Asuka period Nara period Heian period Kamakura period Muromachi period Azuchi-Momoyama period ---Nanban period Edo period Meiji period Taisho period Showa period ---Japanese expansionism ---Occupied Japan ---Post-Occupation Japan Heisei Pre-History/The Origin of History Jomon Period Main... The Tokugawa shogunate or Tokugawa bakufu (徳川幕府) (also known as the Edo bakufu) was a feudal military dictatorship of Japan established in 1603 by Tokugawa Ieyasu and ruled by the shoguns of the Tokugawa family until 1868. ... Alternative meaning: Nineteenth Century (periodical) (18th century — 19th century — 20th century — more centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 19th century was that century which lasted from 1801-1900 in the sense of the Gregorian calendar. ... A torii at Itsukushima Shrine Shinto (神道 Shintō) (sometimes called Shintoism) is a native religion of Japan and was once its state religion. ...


In the 1980s, the meaning of the separation of state and religion again became controversial. The issue came to a head in 1985 when Prime Minister Nakasone Yasuhiro paid an official visit to Yasukuni Shrine, which honors Japanese war dead, including leaders from the militarist period in the 1930s and 1940s. Supporters of Nakasone's action (mainly on the political right) argued that the visit was to pay homage to patriots; others claimed that the visit was an attempt to revive State Shinto and nationalistic extremism. The visit was protested by China, North Korea, South Korea, and other countries occupied by Japan in the first half of the twentieth century, and domestically by leftists, intellectuals, and the Japanese news media. Similar cases have occurred at local levels, and courts increasingly have been asked to clarify the division between religion and government. Separating religious elements of the Japanese worldview from what is merely "Japanese" is not easy, especially given the ambiguous role of the emperor, whose divinity was denied in 1945 but who continued to perform functions of both state and religion. Yasuhiro Nakasone Yasuhiro Nakasone (中曽根 康弘 Nakasone Yasuhiro, b. ... Torii Gate at Yasukuni Shrine The main building of Yasukuni Shrine Yasukuni Shrine 75th anniversary Stamp (1944) Yasukuni Shrine ) is a Shinto shrine located in Tokyo, Japan, dedicated to the spirits of soldiers and others who died fighting on behalf of the Emperor of Japan. ... Japanese militarism (日本軍國主義/日本軍国主義) refers to militarism in Japan, the philosophical belief that military personnel (army or navy) should exercise full power in Japan. ... His Imperial Majesty, Emperor Akihito of Japan The Emperor of Japan (天皇, tennō) is Japans titular head of state and the head of the Japanese imperial family. ...


See also

Ryukyuan religion is the indigenous belief system of the Uchinanchu people of Okinawa and the other Ryukyu Islands. ... Ryukyuans (Japanese: 琉球民族, Ryūkyū minzoku; Okinawan: ウチナンチュ, Uchinanchu) are the indigenous peoples of the Ryukyu Islands of Japan between the islands of Kyūshū and Taiwan. ... “Okinawa” redirects here. ... Location of Ryukyu Islands The Ryukyu Islands, in Japanese called the Nansei Islands ) are a chain of Japanese islands in the western Pacific Ocean at the eastern limit of the East China Sea. ... Silence ) is a 1966 novel by Japanese author Shusaku Endo. ...

External links

  • Religion and the Secular in Japan: Problems in History, Social Anthropology and the Study of Religion, discussion paper by Tim Fitzgerald in the electronic journal of contemporary japanese studies, 10 July 2003.
  • Christianity is popular in Japan today, Article in Pravmir Magazine

  Results from FactBites:
 
Survey: Religion in Japan (1022 words)
Japan's two traditional religions are Shinto, the indigenous religion which is as old as the Japanese people, and Buddhism which was introduced from the Asian mainland in the 6th century.
The first Christian missionaries entered Japan in the 16th century, but the foreign religion was later banned from Japan for most of the Edo period that lasted until 1868.
Religion clearly seems to be rather unimportant in Japanese daily life also in comparison to the American survey results: 43% of the Americans indicated to be religious and 44% indicated that religion is important or very important to them in daily life.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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