Shinto Paper Week 5 Lt Assignment

Contemporary Issues Facing Shinto
World Religious Traditions 1 – REL 133

A Closer Look at Shinto
Japan is an island country, housing over 127 million people, which 84% observe Shinto or Buddhism, (Country Watch, 2014). Shintoism is Japan’s indigenous religion, which began or made its emergence at around 700 BCE. One of the most common elements and symbols regarding Shintoism is the Torii Gate, which means “a birds perch”, and started to become a major project in the 10th century, (Japan Reference, 2014). The Torii Gate is a structure made of beams that stand tall, have either one or more crossbeams that curve upward, signifying a boat at the top. The significance is that of a heavenly boat, are scattered all over Japan, and used to show visitors, followers, and others there is a Shinto shrine close to the area. Although, Shinto is a religion that ties in nature with its practices, it has also integrated other facets regarding Buddhism, Confucianism, while upholding its own native uniqueness.
In the earliest years, around 700 BCE, the Shinto legend tells of two spirits, called kami, one female named Izanami, and a male, Izanagi, whom were part of the creation legends. It tells of the two kami whom were instructed to make Japan, and while “standing on the Floating Bridge of Heaven”, (Molloy, 2010, p. 266), the Torii, struck the earth and gave birth to the island of Japan. During their time together of creating everything associated with nature, one kami born was the sun, which severely burned Izanami. As she perished, Izanagi went to save her, but because of the wounds and burns, she would not return with him. Distraught, he returned back to earth, and began his purification and cleansing process, and created the shining of the sun, Amaterasu, Tsukiyomi, the shining of the moon, and Susanowo, the spirit of the wind, (Molloy, 2010). These three spirits or kami, are the essential realm of Shinto whom practice the balance and being in harmony with nature. The...