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Shinto is the faith of the Japanese people and as old as Japan herself Shinto is the main religion of Japanese people besides Buddhism Shinto is rooted in the beliefs and traditions of Japanese nation Shinto has no script like Christianity has the bible yet it does not have a founder It only has a very loosely-organized priesthood We can not regard Shinto as an ism indeed its only a teaching We can say that its the all-pervading way Kami means God or deity or sometimes soul Shinto implies spontaneous following of the Way of the Gods Shinto gods are called kami They are sacred spirits which take the form of things and concepts important to life such as wind rain mountains trees rivers and fertility Humans become kami after they die and are revered by their families as ancestral kami Shintos most important kami is the Sun Goddess Amaterasu After World War II Shinto and the state were separated Shinto is not adopted by the Japanese State but its a religion of the heart it pervades the life of Japanese people as a natural and real spiritual force It is a creative or formative principle of life The Shinto principle is the background of Japanese culture code of ethics fine arts family and national structure Shinto was the earliest Japanese religion we can date back its beginnings at least to the middle of the first millennium BC Approximately in the sixth century AD the Japanese began a period of rapid adoption of continental civilization Before then it had existed as an amorphous mix of nature worship fertility cults divination techniques hero worship and shamanism After the sixth century the word Shinto or the Way of the kami gods or spirits came into use when the Japanese started efforts to distinguish their own tradition from the foreign religions of Buddhism and Confucianism that they were then encountering Shintos survival therefore have been its deep roots
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