Shintoism in modern Japan

This semester I'm studying Buddhism in Japan and part of our study is about Shintoism. We know that Shinto is based on belief and worship of god (Kami). Unfortunately, I've never been to this amazing country yet. I do hope I can travel in the near future after this terrible pandemic. I'm just curious if our Japanese brothers still deeply follow Shintoism in this modern and digital society we live in? Considering that Japan is always more advance when it comes to technology and science. Please share your thoughts on this.

Shinto Today

Unlike Buddhism or Christianity, Japanese Shintoism has no founder, no sutras, no body of law, no closely knit organization or priesthood (there are no nuns). There is no Shinto heaven or afterlife, no orthodox moral code -- only the social etiquette of the community and some ideas borrowed from Confucian (Chinese) philosophy. The Shinto universe is amoral and indifferent. Virtue is not always rewarded, nor is evil always punished. Shinto priests do not follow any path toward self-realization or enlightenment. Their sacred incantations are given in an old language no longer comprehended by the laity. The Imperial Family and its earlier enforced system of emperor worship essentially denies independence to Japan's local shrines.

Priests may, on occasion, serve as counselors, but their main obligations nowadays are to act as intermediary between the gods and the people (the local community), to perform shrine rituals, and to attend to the local shrine deity (kami, which can be a god or goddess or deceased person who has attained divine status). To work officially as a priest, an individual must receive an appointment from the "Association of Shinto Shrines" -- but there is no certification or qualification system. This situation does not irk the Japanese worshipper or casual shrine vistor. To them, this is the "way of the kami." Emperors and rulers may come and go, but the Japanese people and their nature will remain constant. All life forces have rough and gentle natures, all are demanding and then forgiving. The underlying nature of the people does not change, the underlying "nature of nature" does not change.


If you are interested in the Japanese way of life, there are HUGE video series Japanology (Japanology Plus) hosted by Peter Barakan IN ENGLISH that cover aspects of Japanese life in hundreds of episodes online.
Shinto is a way of life.
I know there are sanctuaries where they say thanks to sea creatures they routinely fish and eat...

Alejandro Cardeinte's picture

I really appreciate it

Thank you so much. I really appreciate it if you could share the links for the documentary. My essay was about Prince Shokotu who introduced Buddhism to Japan. It was really fantastic.