Religion in Japan

According to a recent survey, the total number of Shinto believers, Buddhists and Christians in Japan exceeds the total population. It is said that this is because most Japanese people belong to both Shinto and Buddhist religions. In Japan, Shinto and Buddhism have coexisted since the introduction of Buddhism from Korea in the 6th century, and Shinto’s tolerance is behind this. Shinto is an indigenous religion based on the worship of nature. Shinto has no founder, no doctrine, no scripture, and its most important concept is purity. The greatest impurity in Shintoism is death, and it has always been taboo. Buddhism, on the other hand, teaches the way to escape life’s suffering and reach nirvana. For this reason, many Japanese people generally go to shrines for events related to this life, such as visits to shrines, New Year’s weddings and weddings, and Buddhist temples for events related to life after death, such as funerals.

The torii, two upright pillars connected by two horizontal beams, is the symbolic gate of the Shinto shrine. It marks the entrance to the sanctuary. Torii” means “a tatami room for birds,” as the Chinese character for the word means. It is said that it was originally a torii for roosters to be offered to the shrine.

Ema means a picture of a horse. It is said that in the past, people used to dedicate a real horse when making a wish to a shrine.
However, since ordinary people could not afford to offer horses, they began to offer wooden dolls with a picture of a horse on them. Nowadays, people write their wishes on the blank face of an ema and display them at the shrine, where they remain until the end of the year. Most of ema do not have a picture of a horse on them, but some have a motif of an animal of the Chinese zodiac or the coat of arms of a shrine.

Omikuji is a fortune that can be obtained by drawing lottery at most shrines and Buddhist temples. It shows a person’s overall fortune, from very good to very bad, and suggests what to do, whether it’s marriage, travel, work or study. It has been said that.
When you have drawn good luck, you should take it with you. However, when you pull a bad one, you should tie it to a tree branch. It’s for giving back to shrines and temples. However, people often tie their auspices to branches too.

Omamori is a talisman that brings in good luck and repels evil spirits. Each amulet has a different purpose. There are a wide variety of amulets, some of which pray for good health, marital happiness, and traffic safety, while others pray for passing examinations.
People keep it in their purses or hang them in their homes or cars.

Origami also had a religious roll.
After papermaking was introduced to Japan from the Asian continent at the beginning of the 7th century, the method of making thin and strong paper was developed, and it came to be called “Japanese paper”. Initially, it was mainly used in public records and Buddhist religious books. After that, it came to be used for rituals in Shinto, and it became a custom to wrap offerings to the gods in paper. Eventually, they became more particular about the way paper was folded when wrapping gifts and offerings, and formal folding ornaments were developed to make the wrapping more presentable. In the Muromachi period (1336-1573), the Ogasawara and Ise families established etiquette and required formal origami decorations. This tradition continues today, with traditional ornaments called noshi (noshi) and ornaments in the shape of butterflies called mecho and ocho, or origami, being used at weddings.

Zen, one of the many Buddhist sects, was originated by the Indian monk Daruma. It was introduced to Japan by a Japanese monk who had studied in China. Zen teaches that one can attain enlightenment through strict mental and physical practices such as zazen and meditation. As a result, it spread among the samurai who valued “self-discipline,” but also influenced various Japanese traditions such as the tea ceremony and ink painting.

Christianity was first introduced to Japan in the 16th century. It was welcomed by the local rulers, who hoped they would get something new and useful from the missionaries, like the firearms brought in by the Portuguese visitors earlier. But then the powers that be suspected of having territorial ambitions and banned the religion because Christian teachings were seen as an obstacle to the establishment of feudalism. Later, Christians were persecuted and foreign missionaries were expelled from Japan. This situation continued until Japan established diplomatic relations with the West, but was again denounced as a “foreign religion” during World War II.