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By John Breen

This available advisor to the improvement of Japan’s indigenous faith from precedent days to the current day bargains an illuminating creation to the myths, websites and rituals of kami worship, and their function in Shinto’s enduring spiritual identity.

  • Offers a different new method of Shinto heritage that mixes serious research with unique research
  • Examines key evolutionary moments within the lengthy historical past of Shinto, together with the Meiji Revolution of 1868, and gives the 1st serious historical past  in English or jap of the Hie shrine, some of the most vital in all Japan
  • Traces the improvement of varied shrines, myths, and rituals via historical past as uniquely diversified phenomena, exploring how and after they merged into the fashionable concept of Shinto that exists in Japan today
  • Challenges the historical stereotype of Shinto because the unchanging, all-defining center of eastern culture

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Most shrine sites, however, were not included in this court cult, and about these we know next to nothing. The closest the Hitachi gazetteer comes to a description of actual shrine practice is a short passage about a shrine called Tsunomiya: Every year, on the tenth day of the fourth month, a festival [matsuri] is held and sake is served. Men and women of the Urabe lineage gather to drink and to enjoy themselves with song and dance for many days and nights. ” (NKBT 2: 68–9) Shrines, Myths, and Rituals in Premodern Times 27 Similar incidental glimpses at shrine practice in other sources likewise confirm this image of communal festivities, mostly concentrated in the months of planting in spring and harvesting in autumn.

Stripped of their uniqueness, the deities were no longer all-powerful even in their own ancient domains. 38 Shrines, Myths, and Rituals in Premodern Times Both the court and local elites cherished Buddhism for its ability to control the violence of deities, spirits, and demons of all kinds, including the kami. Usually, this entailed building temples next to shrines, where monks dedicated themselves to the conversion of the kami by exposing them to the Buddha’s benign teachings. ”10 Such temples, called jingu¯ji or “shrine temples,” were first built in the periphery of the Yamato region in the eighth century, and soon spread throughout the land.

However, a closer look at jingi ceremonial reveals that it was in a state of constant flux. Moreover, from a detached perspective it is difficult to agree with the Shintoist vision that construes the jingi cult as Japan’s indigenous, ethnic creed. Jingi myth was far removed from popular beliefs, and jingi ritual, in whatever form it actually existed, was not representative of shrine ritual in general. The jingi cult did not in any sense advocate a “nativist” or protonationalist ideology, even though it did serve the purpose of establishing the court as the center of a new political regime.

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