Culture VS Religion

Japan ranked 5th place out of 140 countries for being the most peaceful country in the world. What about the United States? The U.S. was ranked 97th in the survey, while China was 67th.
Japanese People are very Respectful, respect for your elders, let alone strangers, is actually practiced, you’ll find Japan exceedingly old-fashioned, in a good way.
Then again, it’s not entirely surprising that tradition is valued here; the imperial house of Japan is the oldest continuing hereditary monarchy in the world. Tradition, hospitality and respect is apparent everywhere, even how they bow is based on the amount of deference you wish to give to the person you are speaking with, 15 – 20 degrees is usual for an everyday greeting. If you are meeting someone very important, then you may wish to bow lower and if you are often doing the wrong thing, then you might find yourself often in bows of 90 degrees or at one’s feet in apology!
The crime rate in Japan is very low. The theft rate is particularly low. There are 1.3 robberies per 100,000 population compared with 233.0 in the United States. Japanese view theft as a pathetic crime.
Japanese language with it’s complex rules of honorific and humble speech are a reflection of Japan’s ultra polite culture and society. It’s a beautiful yet complex language.
People in Japan wear a mask at any indication of illness or allergies. It’s basically rude not to wear a mask when your sick.
Now lets get into Religion,
Shinto is the indigenous faith of the Japanese people and it is as old as Japan itself. Today it remains Japan’s major religion alongside Buddhism and Christianity. Most people who have any interest in Japanese culture are aware of this, but how many people actually know the intricacies that make up Shinto and its beliefs?
The customs and values of Shinto are inseparable from those of Japanese culture. Many Japanese activities have their roots in Shinto. Elements of Shinto can be found in architecture, sumo wrestling anime, manga, and a lot of Japanese pop culture.
Shinto doesn’t really have a founder or sacred scriptures or anything like that though. Religious propaganda and preaching are not common here either. This is one of the things that sets Shinto apart from most of the popular religions today. Shinto is deeply rooted in the Japanese people and their traditions, so practices like conversion don’t exactly go along with what Shinto is. Since Shinto is very Japanese by nature and does not try to press others to join them, the percentage of Shintos living in this world is very small, with pretty much all of them residing in Japan. I think that’s nice though. Shinto is inherently Japanese, and its just another one of those things that you can really only get the full experience and understand while in Japan. Instead of sacred texts, Shinto bases most of its beliefs on four ancient books. These books are, Kojiki (Record of Ancient Matters) which is the foundation to written Shinto history, Shoku Nihongi, Nihon Shoki (Continuing Chronicles of Japan), Rikkokushi (Six National Histories), and JinnShōtōk (a study of Shinto and Japanese politics and history).
Shinto is all about the kami.
Kami (sacred spirits) are the “gods” in Shinto. They take the form of many things such as animals, plants, lakes, and rivers. As such, Shinto is a form of animism. Humans become kami after they die and are honored as ancestral kami with some families actually having little shrines in their homes.
The Goddess Amaterasu is widely considered to be Shinto’s most famous kami and she was even the star of her very own video game, Ōkami.
There are no real absolutes in Shinto,everything is kind of grey.
They don’t believe in absolute right or wrong and they acknowledge that nobody is perfect.
They view humans as fundamentally good, with the evils in the world being caused by ghouls and ghosts from Japan, troublesome and devilish kami. As such, the purpose of most Shinto rituals is to keep away evil spirits. This is achieved by purification, prayers, and offerings.
Shinto teaches that people should want their sins cleansed for one’s own peace, not because sinning is inherently wrong. It’s natural.
Shinto do have some freaky beliefs. Those who die holding a grudge strong enough to keep them attached to the physical world will become evil, revenge seeking kami, as seen in “The Grudge” a popular Japanese film.
So, Shinto has its easygoing ups as well as its terrifying downs.
Purification rituals are an essential part of Shinto. New buildings constructed in Japan are frequently blessed by a Shinto priest during the groundbreaking ceremony, and many Japanese cars are blessed at some point in their assembly. I wonder if they get a little sticker or certificate saying they were blessed. Hmm…?
Both men and women can become Shinto priests, and they’re even allowed to marry and have children. Some even live on site with the shrine they’re in charge of. Priests are aided by young women known as miko during Shinto rituals and performances. Miko wear white kimono, must be unmarried, and are often daughters of the Shinto priests.
The purpose of this information is give a little insight into another culture to help open our minds and to prove yet another point, we have our “BIBLE” and they have their four ancient books passed down from generations, Man written NOT dictated from a SUPER BEING!

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12 comments on “Culture VS Religion

  1. Reblogged this on Flickr Comments and commented:
    frizz-comment: The yearly peace ranking is very interesting. Nice that in Japan crime rate is low. To be polite is the rule. But what about the tons of nuclear water at Fukushima, entering the ocean daily?

  2. Funny how I was never into the Japanese culture that much.
    I studied it in high school, but after that, didn’t really care anymore – until I read more about it here in the WordPress community 🙂 we could use some of their values for sure.

  3. Maybe I am a bit biased having visited places like Kanchanaburi (the bridge over the river Kwai) in Thailand and having spoken to many older people who were in Asia during World War 2. My parents also used to host Japanese exchange students and my dad, who was a history teacher, was pretty surprised at their lack of knowledge about events of the past (not taught at all in schools there). This was when Emperor Hirohito (who was never brought to account) was still alive.

  4. Are you/have you spent time in Japan?
    Currently, the word is Japan has another strain of virulent nationalism coming on. Not so sure how China and South Korea feel about that, but the last time their nationalism erupted, we lost a lot of lives in Hawaii, and they lost two cities to nuclear weapons.

    • My point here was manners and culture, where UNITED STATES in majorly lacking! Yes there are many other problems, but I found the overall culture intriguing to write about. 🙂

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