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Founded in 660 BC, was Japan's state religion until 1945.
"Shinto" means "way of the gods" ("kami no michi"), and it is a "cosmic religion", that finds in the beauty and symmetry of nature manifestations of the gods.
- The essence of Shintoism is "kami",
the divine spirit found in all things in heaven and earth, mountains and rivers, sun and moon, plants, animals, and human beings... and very specially at Mount Fuji, the cherry blossoms, bonsai trees, formal gardens, and the Sakaki (the holy tree).
- Every Shintoist would be very happy to be a "Franciscan", loving brother sun, sister mountain, brother dog, sister flower, brother neighbor...
- Shinto accepts the material world as good, while Buddhism view the world as evil, yet both religions are practiced in Japan... and often at the same time: They celebrate weddings in Shinto "shrines", and funerals in Buddhist "temples".
- The main deity is "goddess Amaterasu",
a sun goddess of fertility, reputed to be the founder of the ruler dynasty in Japan, so the Emperor is divine... and Shintoism was the state religion until World War II (1945)... nothing after-death!
- The Number of Shintoists, varies with different sources:
... Encyclopedia Britannica: 1974: 63 million; 1995: 3 million.
... Ministry of Education: 1974: 90 million; 1978: 99 million, with 88 mill. Buddhists, and 1 mill. Christians.
- Sacred Texts:
... "Kojiki", ancient masters (710 AC);
... "Nihon Shoki", chronicles of Japan (720.A.C).
1- Jinga, the state religion until 1945.
2- Kyoko, follows the teachings of a leader.