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Religion in Japan. By: Katherine, Isabel, Gabriel, and David. Introduction. Shintoism was the indigenous religion of Japan. Trading led to the diffusion of the many different cultures. The Japanese were influenced by India and got Buddhism. Buddhism didn’t replace Shintoism.

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Religion in japan
Religion in Japan

By: Katherine, Isabel, Gabriel, and David


  • Shintoism was the indigenous religion of Japan.

  • Trading led to the diffusion of the many different cultures.

  • The Japanese were influenced by India and got Buddhism.

  • Buddhism didn’t replace Shintoism.

  • They adapted both religions.

  • Some Buddhist ideas were used in Shintoism.

  • Some Shinto ideas were used in Buddhism.

What is shintoism
What is Shintoism?

  • Shintoism was the indigenous religion of Japan founded in 660 BC.

  • The Japanese religion, Shinto, expresses love and respect.

  • Followers of Shinto worship spirits called kami.

  • Kami are impressive natural objects, such as wind, lightning, rivers, mountains, waterfalls, large trees, unusual stones, and sometimes the emperor.

How is shintoism expressed in japan
How is Shintoism expressed in Japan?

  • People love and respect each other and the beauty of nature.

  • Shintoists stress to purify whatever is unclean and celebrate life and the beauty of nature.

  • Tradition and the family: The family is seen as the main mechanism by which traditions are preserved. Their main celebrations relate to birth and marriage.

  • Love of nature: Nature is sacred; to be in contact with nature is to be close to the kami. Natural objects are worshipped as containing sacred spirits.

  • Physical cleanliness: Followers of Shinto take baths, wash their hands, and rinse out their mouth often.

  • One should want cleansed merely for

    one's own peace of mind and good

    fortune, and not because impurity is

    wrong in and of itself.

  • Matsuri: Festivals in which the worship

    and honor is given to the kami.

The mirror of matsuyama
The Mirror of Matsuyama

  • The quote “… and she now determined to be filial and dutiful to her father’s wife, in all respects.” is from The Mirror of Matsuyama.

  • This quote represents Shinto in Japan because the little girl loves and respects her stepmother and respects her father’s wishes even though the stepmother despises her.

What is buddhism
What is Buddhism?

  • Buddhism was created in India in 500 B.C. by Siddhartha Gautama.

  • The founder, Siddhartha Gautama, taught that life was full of pain and suffering in an endless cycle of birth, death, and rebirth.

  • You could escape this cycle by following the Eightfold path which leads nirvana, a sate of perfect peace.

  • When in nirvana, one will never be born again into a life of suffering.

  • By finding the path to enlightenment, Siddhartha

    became Buddha or “enlightened one”

  • Buddhism’s moral code shows that you’re

    respectful, mature, and achieving wisdom

    through meditation.

How did buddhism get to japan
How did Buddhism get to Japan?

  • Buddhism had originated in India.

  • When India traded with China and Korea, the Buddhist religion was passed on.

  • When it spread, a new form of Buddhism was created called Mahayana Buddhism.

  • Mahayana Buddhism states that everyone can reach nirvana.

  • Its followers believed in bodhisattvas.

  • Bodhisattvas are spirits who help others reach enlightenment.

  • Mahayana Buddhism came to Japan in 522 when a Korean King sent the Japanese emperor a statue of Buddha and a recommendation for a new religion.

  • Buddhism was greeted with resistance, but in 585 it was recognized by Emperor Yomei.

  • When Emperor Yomei got sick, his son,

    Prince Shotoku prayed to Buddha everyday.

  • Finally Emperor Yomei recovered and

    converted to Buddhism.

  • Prince Shotoku became fond of Buddhism

    and created many Buddhist temples.

Cultural diffusion
Cultural Diffusion

  • The emperor and his court adopted the new religion, Buddhism.

  • They admired Buddhism’s wisdom and rituals, and they considered the Buddha a protector of families and the nation.

  • However, Buddhism didn’t replace Shinto.

  • Buddhists built shrines to kami and Shintoistsenshrined Buddhists.

  • Even today, ceremonies to celebrate birth

    and marriage often come from Shinto,

    a joyful religion.

  • Funeral ceremonies are Buddhist, the

    religion that acknowledges suffering and pain.

Shintoism buddhism and confucianism
Shintoism, Buddhism, and Confucianism

  • From the 17th century on, the influence of Buddhism gradually declined and was dominated by the rise of the rival religious and political philosophies of Shintoism and Confucianism.

  • Shintoism, Buddhism, and Confucianism were later completely separated.

  • Shinto was in state politics.

  • Buddhism functioned in the sphere of religion.

  • Confucianism was in the moral religion.


Shintoism was the first religion in Japan. After trading with other countries, like India, China, and Korea, they inherited new religions and philosophies, Buddhism and Confucianism. These cultures diffused and blended. While the religions did mix, there are still followers that worship the original religions.








Activity questions
Activity Questions

  • What do Shintoists worship? State your answer then give some examples.

  • Name two ways that people expressed Shintoism in Japan

  • How is Shinto expressed in The Mirror of Matsuyama?

  • What did the founder of Buddhism, Siddhartha Gautama, teach about life?

  • How did Buddhism get to Japan?

  • What were the purposes of Shinto, Confucianism, and Buddhism after they were separated?

  • As Shintoism and Buddhism diffused, what ceremonies did each religion represent?