What is Shinto?
Its Traditions...
Japan Society
State Shinto
The World

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Last Updated
6/11/02
 
The World

        Shinto is very much a national religion, and as such it lends itself to being exclusive to only Japanese people. It was taught in many forms that someone has to be Japanese in order to be a Shintoist. Although it is a fading religion, it can still be found in many countries, and still attracts news because of its traditions. These traditions are also what people think of when they think of Japan itself. Sumo wrestling is a sport that conjures up a picture of Japan whenever it seen. It is also a ceremonial sport of Shinto though, being an "offering of strength and entertainment for the gods on Shinto temple grounds. The elements of the sumo ring very much has elements of Shinto in it, with the canopy above the ring and ritual stomping and tossing of salt before a match. Shinto rituals also occur in the ceremonies at the open and close and each match (The Way of te Gods). Shinto very much influenced this sport, and thus leads to its impacting other areas. While
The ideas and stories of anime are largly based off of Shinto.
sumo may not be a very popular sport to watch in other countries, people recognize it and the events that take place as being distinctly Japanese. Another one of the major ways that Shinto has affected our lives around the world is anime. This form of animation originated in Japan, and has now spread around the world and become popular in many circles of people. The storylines of these pieces of art highly reflect a Shinto style of thinking, this is one of the highly appealing aspects of anime that people watch it for. The entertainment industry is one of the strongest ways to for a country to promote an image of itself. Those from other countries who watch Hollywood movies believe that the type of characters portrayed on screen are what true Americans are like. The same could be said in the world of anime, where viewers are unknowingly being subjected to the ideas and myths of Shinto. While they may not know it, the style and stories of these shows and movies reflect the image of what others think of Japan.
         Shinto also plays a role in world politics. While it may not be the star religion of Japan, it sill attracts media attention when political beings enter Shinto shrines. Every August people discus whether or not the prime minister should be allowed to enter a controversial Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo dedicated to Japan's "war dead" ("Japan Has Little Time for Its Old-Time Religion," 2001). Being a religion unlike many others
Japanese war veterans commemorate the 54th anniversary of the end of World War II, and pay respect to the war dead on Aug. 15, 1999.
it attracts this attention to itself, and is one to start discussion concerning religious tolerance. As a country Japan affects the world in many ways in the products they produce and the lifestyle that they live. The many Japanese-Americans who live in the United States may not be active Shintoists, but surly retain some of their Shinto culture and traditions still. Of the 2,789,000 Shintoists said to be in world in a mid-1998 statistic of worldwide population of Shintoists by six continental areas there are bound to be interaction among cultures (Shintoism). The official religion of Shinto may be on the decline, but as it has with Buddhism in Japan, the actual religion itself does not necessarily reflect its true existence. Through many forms its ideas and influence spreads unknowingly, educating people about its beliefs, and the myths that it holds.