By John Breen

This available consultant to the advance of Japan’s indigenous faith from precedent days to the current day bargains an illuminating creation to the myths, websites and rituals of kami worship, and their position in Shinto’s enduring non secular identity.Offers a special new method of Shinto historical past that mixes severe research with unique researchExamines key evolutionary moments within the lengthy historical past of Shinto, together with the Meiji Revolution of 1868, and offers the 1st serious background  in English or jap of the Hie shrine, some of the most very important in all JapanTraces the advance of varied shrines, myths, and rituals via heritage as uniquely varied phenomena, exploring how and after they merged into the trendy inspiration of Shinto that exists in Japan todayChallenges the historical stereotype of Shinto because the unchanging, all-defining middle of eastern tradition

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Additional info for A New History of Shinto (Blackwell Brief Histories of Religion)

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The jingi cult did not in any sense advocate a “nativist” or protonationalist ideology, even though it did serve the purpose of establishing the court as the center of a new political regime. Its focus was squarely on the imperial lineage and its allies; the notion of a Japanese people did not yet exist – let alone that of a Japanese spirit. Finally, the jingi cult did not pursue an antisyncretic or purist ideal, or reject continental influences. It drew heavily on Tang ritual codes and formalized kami worship by adopting Chinese procedures wherever possible (Naumann 2000).

Most shrines are much younger, but even these can be regarded as specimens of a genus that has its roots in ancient Japan: kami shrines. Texts of court mytho-history from the early eighth century, most notably Kojiki (Record of ancient matters; 712) and Nihon shoki (Chronicles of Japan; 720), contain tales about kami that are obviously non-Buddhist in nature. Even though these texts are not free from continental influences, they are in fact less “Chinese” in outlook than one might expect, considering the nature of the court at that time.

Their new function was to protect the village and to secure its prosperity. Shrine rites enhanced village cohesion, gave divine sanction to the village hierarchy and to the decisions of the village elite, and displayed the village’s vigor and pride to outsiders. Also, shrines served to secure communal assets as “property of the kami” (shinmotsu). ” Guild members exerted both political and ritual power over the village as a whole. It is tempting to see at least some structural continuity between the village rites of ancient times and the shrine festivals that developed under this new arrangement.

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