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Shintoism The Shinto religion was started in the Tokugawa period 1600-1868 of Japanese history The Tokugawa Enlightenment inspired a group of people who studied kokugaku which roughly translated means nativism Japanese Studies or Native Studies Kokugakus intent was to recover Japanese character to what it was before the early influences of foreigners especially the Chinese Some of these influences include Confucianism Chinese Taoism Chinese Buddhism Indian and Chinese and Christianity Western European The kokugakushu nativist focused most of their efforts on recovering the Shinto religion the native Japanese religion from fragments of texts and popular religious practices However Shintoism is probably not a native religion of Japan since the Japanese were not the original natives of Japan There really is no one thing that can be called Shinto The name itself is a bit misleading because it is made up of two Chinese words meaning the way of the godsShen spiritual power divinity Tao the way or path The word for this in Japanese is kannagara the way of the kami Many things can be said about Shinto First it was a tribal religion not a state one However even when the tribes were organized into coherent states they still retained their Shinto beliefs Second all Shinto cults believe in Kami the divine Individual clans worshipped a single Kami which was regarded as the principal ancestor of the clan As the clan spread it still worshipped its Kami but when one clan conquered another clan-the defeated clan had to worship the Kami of the victorious clan What the Kami consist of is hard to define Kami refers to the gods of Heaven Earth and the Underworld But Kami also are all those things that have divinity in them to some degree Third all Shinto involve
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