A brief history of Shinto
Shinto or Shintoism, also kami-no-michi, is the indigenous spirituality of the Japanese people.
It is a set of practices, to be carried out to establish a connection between present day and Kami (Spirits) of the past past.
Shinto practices were first recorded and codified in the written historical records of the Kojiki and Nihon Shoki in the 8th century.
Practitioners express their diverse beliefs through a standard language and practice, adopting a similar style in dress and ritual
The word Shinto (“Way of the Gods”) was adopted from the written Chinese (神道, shén dào), combining two kanji: “shin” (神?), meaning kami; and “tō” (道?), or “dō” meaning a philosophical path or study (originally from the Chinese word tao). Kami are defined in English as “spirits”, “essences” or “deities”, that are associated with many understood formats; in some cases being human-like, in others being animistic, and others being associated with more abstract “natural” forces in the world (mountains, rivers, lightning, wind, waves, trees, rocks). Kami and people are not separate; they exist within the same world and share its interrelated complexity.
Shinto and Buddhism typically do not require professing faith to be a believer or a practitioner, and as such it is difficult to query for exact figures based on self-identification of belief within Japan. Due to the syncretic nature of Shinto and Buddhism, most “life” events are handled by Shinto and “death” or “afterlife” events are handled by Buddhism—for example, it is typical in Japan to register or celebrate a birth at a Shinto shrine, while funeral arrangements are generally dictated by Buddhist tradition—although the division is not exclusive.
- Purification ceremonies and rituals, including the 100 Days of Chinkon
- Dedication ceremonies for the spirit of a deceased person
- Installation of Kami into a Kamidana or object to be used in that same manner
- Ceremonies calling on Kami to bring safety well being and health
- Cleansing ceremonies
- Blessing / Cleasing ceremonies for new buildings and Dojos