Please Enter Your Search Term Below:
 Websearch   Directory   Dictionary   FactBook 
  Wikipedia: Religions of Japan

Wikipedia: Religions of Japan
Religions of Japan
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Most Japanese people do not believe in any particular religion. Many people, especially those in younger generations, are opposed to religions because of historical reasons and the development of science. One of these historic reasons is that during World War II people were required to believe in Shintoism and prohibited to believe any other religion. It is also common to participate in various religions. One may visit a Shintoism shrine on New Year's day for the year's success and before school entrance exam to pray to pass. The same person may have a wedding at a Christian church and have funeral at a Buddhist temple.

Traditional religions

From the 16th to the 19th century Shintoism flourished, eventually seeking unity under a symbolic imperial rule. Adopted by the leaders of the Meiji Restoration, it received state support and was cultivated as a spur to patriotic and nationalistic feelings. Following World War II, state support was discontinued and the Emperor disavowed divinity. Today Shintoism plays a more peripheral role in the life of the Japanese people. The numerous shrines are visited regularly by a few believers and, if they are historically famous or known for natural beauty, by many sightseers. Many marriages are held in the shrines, and children are brought after birth and on certain anniversary dates; special shrine days are celebrated for specific occasions, and numerous festivals are held throughout the year. Many homes have "god shelves," where offerings can be made to Shinto deities.

Buddhism first came to Japan in the 6th century and for the next 10 centuries exerted profound influence on its intellectual, artistic, social, and political life. Most funerals are conducted by Buddhist priests, and burial grounds attached to temples are used by both faiths.

Confucianism arrived with the first great wave of Chinese influence into Japan between the 6th and 9th centuries. Overshadowed by Buddhism, it survived as an organized philosophy into the late 19th century and remains today as an important influence on Japanese thought and values.

Christianity, first introduced into Japan in 1549, was virtually stamped out a century later; it was reintroduced in the late 1800s and has spread slowly. Today it has 1.4 million adherents, which includes a high percentage of important persons in education and public affairs.

New religions

Beyond the three traditional religions, many Japanese today are turning to a great variety of popular religious movements normally lumped together under the name "new religions." These religions draw on the concept of Shinto, Buddhism, and folk superstition and have developed in part to meet the social needs of elements of the population. The officially recognized new religions number in the hundreds, and total membership is reportedly in the tens of millions.

The biggest new religion is Soka Gakkai, a Buddhist sect, founded in 1930. The Komei party is of this faith. It is both in national and local assemblies and has a huge influence on politics as it is a part of the coalition government at the Diet. Because the Constitution requires separation of religion and state the religion's connection with politics is often criticized.

Other new religions include:

  • Seicho no Ie
  • Shinreikyo (God-Soul Sect)
  • Mahikari Kyodan (True Light Sect)
  • Kiriyama Mikkyo (Kiriyama Esotericism)
  • Kofuku no Kagaku (science of Happiness)
  • Aleph (formerly called Aum Shinrikyo)
  • Oomoto
  • Konkokyo
  • Tenrikyo

  

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 
Modified by Geona