Shintō

Shinto

Shinto, the “way of the kami” refers to the indigenous Japanese religious traditions which focus on the worship of kami. Initially, rituals devoted to kami took place outdoors in natural surroundings. Later, wooden structures were constructed to house the altars and provide a place for the rites. In addition to such “Shrine Shinto,” there is also “State Shinto,” which emerged after 1868, when the Meiji monarchy attempted to disestablish the prominence of Buddhism and restore Shinto as the foundation of the modern state of Japan. “Sect Shinto” refers to those Japanese “new religions”... Read more about Shinto

haru matsuri

Important indigenous Japanese festivals (matsuri) are held in the spring (haru) and autumn (aki), the most crucial times of the agricultural cycle. In the spring, the blessings of kami are invoked to insure a plentiful crop. In the autumn, festivals of thanksgiving take place as the kami return to their mountain abodes for the winter.

kamidana

A kamidana is a small domestic Shinto altar or shelf for the tutelary kami of the house. Offerings of food and drink will be made at the kamidana at the start of each day. A Japanese home may contain several kamidana as well as a butsudana, or Buddhist altar.

Amaterasu Omikami

Amaterasu, the “Heavenly Illuminator,” is often referred to as the Sun Goddess. She is the divine ancestor and tutelary deity of the royal family of Japan and is understood to be the protector of Japan and its people. Amaterasu’s shrine is at Ise, one of the most important Shinto shrines in Japan. Amaterasu is represented by a mirror.

tsukinamisai

Tsukinamisai is a monthly ritual performed at Tsubaki Grand Shrine of America.

Konkokyo

The Japanese new religion Konkokyo, which came to be seen as one of the thirteen Shinto sects, was founded by a Japanese peasant and farmer, Bunji Akazawa (1814-83). Akazawa was given the title Konko Daijin, “Great God of Golden Light.” He mediated to humankind the healing presence of one all-sustaining God, Tenchi Kane no Kami. Today, the tradition has some 500,000 members.

harai

Harai (honorific: oharai) are rites of purification in the Shinto tradition.

Shinto priest

There are many ranks, titles, and functions of Shinto priests. While some priestly positions are hereditary, most priests train for their ceremonial, educational, and administrative roles at Shinto institutions such as the Kogakukan University at Ise. Most priests are men, though women do become priests as well. Shinto priests are allowed to marry.

kami

Kami, often translated as "god," "deity," or "spirit," are manifestations of divine presence or awe-inspiring power. The kami rest upon or dwell in a particular place, especially in natural settings of unusual form or stunning beauty. They are also "called down" to dwell in a multitude of domestic and public shrines, where they will most commonly be symbolized by a mirror. Traditionally, kami were associated with Japan's clans. Particularly great human beings may be enshrined as kami after their death. And today, the charismatic founders and leaders of Japan's many new religions are often... Read more about kami

aki matsuri

Important indigenous Japanese festivals (matsuri) are held in the spring (haru) and autumn (aki), the most crucial times of the agricultural cycle. In the spring, the blessings of kami are invoked to insure a plentiful crop. In the autumn, festivals of thanksgiving take place as the kami return to their mountain abodes for the winter.

Akazawa, Konko Daijin Bunji

Bunji Akazawa (1814-1883), who is given the honorific title Konko Daijin, was the founder of the Japanese new religion Konkokyo. As the result of a profound healing experience, he began to teach a monotheistic religion based on the one all-sustaining God, Tenchi Kane no Kami. After his death and, perhaps, contrary to his own views, the new movement aligned itself with State Shinto and came to be regarded as one of the thirteen sects of Shinto.

Goddess

Goddess is a term used to refer to the female deity, either in the singular as the supreme divine reality, or in the plural as one of many particular or localized feminine deities. In the Hindu tradition, the Goddess refers to the very powerful, even supreme Goddess known variously as Durga, Kali, or simply Devi. In today’s Pagan traditions, the Goddess may refer to one of the ancient female deities such as Diana or Isis, or to the universal and supreme Goddess known under many names.

Shintō Comes to America

The Tsubaki Grand Shrine first took root in an ordinary suburban home in Stockton, California. The shrine soon found itself making special connections with the wider community, representing the Shintō tradition in conversations with Unitarian Universalist communities and with the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley.... Read more about Shintō Comes to America

The Way of the Kami

The Japanese landscape is filled with kami (“gods” or “spirits”), and the Shintō tradition honors and respects these deities. While Shintō remains important for life in Japan, it has also begun to make its presence felt in America.... Read more about The Way of the Kami

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