Japan: Where Gods Aren’t Gods and Worshipers Aren’t Religious (Shinto Explained)


Hello World. If you’ve ever been to Japan or
watched anime or dramas, You might have come across gates like these. They come in all shapes and sizes, but what are they? They’re torii, which are the entrances to jinja and jinja are sacred spaces and the seats of kami. OK, so those are three new terms to learn. Luckily, our guide today, David Chart happens to write just a little bit about
Shinto traditional practices. And before you start furiously typing in the comments about why I chose to interview some
random British dude about Shinto, Chāto-san is actually a naturalized Japanese, works as the English translator for Jinja Honchō, the Association of Shinto Shrines, and writes extensively about Shinto
on his blog Mimusubi. So like I said, he knows a little bit. OK, so, the torii is the gates that
you see all over the place and for the rest, well, why don’t we go inside and have a look around. That’ll make it easier. Sure, I think one question that viewers might have is can anyone off the street just walk on in? Yeah, you don’t need an appointment to go and visit a jinja and you can just go in as you’re going past. OK, let’s go! three steps later So, the torii marks the outer boundary of the sacred space. So this is a good place to straighten
your tie and get ready to go in. Most people bow slightly before
they pass through the torii. It’s a natural way to express respect for the kami. OK, so now we’re in the sacred space, but I’ve noticed that inside of a torii, there’s a wide variety of settings. Like for example at one, they have a playground where kids are playing. And another one seems to be popular with office space
workers where they go there for their lunch break, eating like onigiri. Right, inside the sacred space you
have to show respect for the kami, but playing and eating are not
necessarily disrespectful. Leaving litter would be, and some larger jinja ask you not
to eat inside to avoid the litter. If you’re at the jinja to pay respects to the kami, You follow the sacred path, sandō in Japanese,
up to the sanctuaries. The custom is to walk along one side,
rather than up the center. Some people say that’s because the center
is reserved for the kami. I’ve actually made a video about how in Japan,
you usually walk on the left-hand side, just like when you’re driving,
you drive on the left-hand side. When you’re at a jinja, does that same general rule apply? No, not really. If the jinja’s not really busy, it doesn’t
really matter which side you walk up. If the jinja is busy, you just follow the flow of people. So… no, no real rule about it. But, as you can see here, the handrail is at the center of the stairs, which makes it natural to walk on one side or the other. So one thing that seems to be a common
feature is climbing up stairs. What’s up with that? It’s true. A lot of jinja are built on higher ground. I think it’s to do with the separation of the kami
and the sacred space. So a lot of jinja do have a flight
of stairs up to the sanctuaries. Fortunately these days, almost all jinja
have another way to get there. At this one, you can go along the road over there,
and come in at the back through the car park. Hmm… OK, that’s good to know. And right here, we’re actually at a water station. So, what’s up with this water station? This is for purifying ourselves. So purification, called “oharai” or “misogi”,
is a very important part of Shinto. And you’re definitely supposed to purify yourself
before you go and pay your respects to the kami. In fact, some priests have told me, that if you don’t purify yourself,
they would prefer you not to come at all. It’s like taking your shoes off before you go into a Japanese home.
You’re not supposed to bring dirt in with you. Now, I wouldn’t like to say that taking your shoes off
before you go into a home is part of Shinto, but they’re definitely related. So, to purify yourself, you take
the ladle in your right hand. Fill it with water. Pour a little over your left hand to rinse it. Over your right hand… Pour a bit into your left hand. Rinse your mouth. Then, rinse your left hand again. And use the remaining water to rinse the ladle,
before you put it back. That’s interesting, because, you did it really nicely. I’ve noticed that not everyone does it
just in the same manner that you did? Right, the official way to do it is a little bit complicated, and not all the Japanese people remember it. As long as your rinse both hands and your mouth,
and you don’t put your mouth to the ladle, that’s good enough to keep the priests happy. – So, another torii, so I normally bow again.
– OK. And you don’t have to do that if there’s
a whole tunnel of torii though. OK, that’s good to know, because I’ve
seen those tunnels of torii, and I always thought, like do you have to bow at each one? – That would be a lot of bowing.
– Yeah. Um… OK, we’ve washed up, what do we do next? Well, next, we go to the prayer hall,
which is just over there to pay our respects to the kami. OK. So, people normally pay their respects
just in front of the prayer hall, where there’s a box for offerings
and often a bell with a rope. You shake the rope to ring the bell,
and you throw your offering into the box. It really doesn’t matter which order you do that in. So, my daughter and I, we used to watch this anime
called Noragami. Which means, as you know, stray kami. So instead of a stray cat, it’s a kami without a home. And one of his things, was that he would grant any wish. [phone ringing] Hello! Thank you for calling! Fast, affordable, and reliable!
Delivery God Yato, at your service! But even though he was desperate for cash,
he was a homeless kami after all, he would do it all for a 5 yen coin. You’re a god, right? Help me! Money. You charge money?! It’ll cost ya this much. 50,000?! 500,000?! I’m a god, remember?! And everyone knows you’re
supposed to offer 5-yen coins to gods! Your wish… … has been heard loud and clear! Right. 5 yen is a really popular offering at a jinja, because the Japanese for 5 yen, goen, sounds exactly like the Japanese
for honourable connection. So it gives you a good link to the kami. The priests really don’t mind what you offer,
as long as it’s not 1 yen coins, because they’re
really annoying to count. OK, so that sounds a bit different than
the Christian churches I’m used to because I remember their offerings being
just a little bit larger. This is largely symbolic. Obviously the priests
don’t mind if you offer more money. But if you’re going to make a larger offering, you’d usually receive an omamori, or just
give the money directly to the priests. The money that you put into the box… … is symoblic. It’s another form of purification. Ringing the bell is the same. They’re both ways of further purifying yourself
before you pay your respects to the kami. Let’s pay our respects. Up to the bell rope. Ring the bell. Put the money into the offering box. Bow twice. Clap twice. Bow once. And we’re done. We should leave this way, so that we don’t
turn our back directly to the kami. And going this way takes us to the jinja office,
where we can get omamori. Omamori are amulets. They’re a way of taking part of the power of
the kami with you, when you leave the jinja. You make an offering of a few hundred yen, a few dollars,
and the priests give you the omamori. Now there are a lot of different kinds of
omamori for different requests. For example, this one is for safe child birth. This one is for pets. This one’s for work. And all the different types of omamori
have an appropriate offering noted. So, you make the offering, receive your omamori, and
take it away with you when you leave the jinja. OK. So you taught me a lot about jinja, but what about kami? Ah, now that’s a big question. We should probably go and sit down to talk about that. finding a place to sit Well, it’s a big question, but actually, it’s a lot less important
than you might think. Shinto is much more about what you
do then about what you believe. This is why the priests really care that you use the correct etiquette when you
come to pay your respects to the kami. That’s why we introduced the etiquette in so much detail. They really don’t care very much about what you believe. They will welcome people of any religion
to come and pay their respects to the kami. Now, a devout Christian might not want to pay their respects
at a jinja because they might think it’s against their religion. But the priests leave that up to the individual. Now, of course, people do believe things about the kami. For example, there are said to be 8 million of them. Wow! It turns out there are a lot of kami. But 8 million? That’s not an exact number. Nobody thinks
there are actually 8 million kami. It just means a large number, a fortunate number, of kami. And if we look at one of the most popular definitions
of kami, we can see why there are so many. “Kami” refers first of all to those kami
mentioned in the ancient legends, and to spirits enshrined at jinja, but also to human beings, and animals, birds, and plants, or seas, mountains, and similar that are unusual
and outside the normal range of such things. This does not just mean the venerable,
virtuous, or beneficial, but also includes things that are remarkable
for being evil or uncanny. All these things are called “kami”. That definition is from Moto’ori Norinaga, a scholar who lived about two hundred years ago. And on that definition, Mt Fuji, the
physical mountain itself, is a kami, and there are some practitioners of Shinto, and some
priests, who follow that definition. Obviously, in this sense at least some kami exist. Similarly, remarkable people are kami, while still being human. There are people today who think that the Tennō,
the Japanese emperor, is a kami, but they also think that he is a human being,
and in that sense just the same as them. If we approach things this way, then “kami” is more
like “big” or “red” than it is like “human” or “dog”. It is a feature that things of many kinds can have,
rather than a kind of thing. However, the practice of Shinto treats kami as invisible
spirits who can hear and respond to prayers. These spirits might be the spirits of natural things,
like mountains or trees, or the spirits of ancestors. They can also be spirits of other types. There is a jinja in Nara, Tamakazura Jinja, where the kami is a fictional character from the Tale of Genji, a novel written about a thousand years ago. OK, we went pretty deep there. Before speaking with you, I never realized
there were so many kami out there. Now, I think onsen are quite spectacular. Are they kami? Yes, they are. Onsen, hot springs, that’s what onsen means. They’re out of the ordinary run of springs
because they come out of the ground hot. People like them, so they’re a blessing, yes, they’re kami. If you take the first view, then the spring itself, is a kami. If you take the second view, then there
is a kami who is the spirit of the spring. You probably noticed when you’ve been
to onsen, that the proper onsen, have a continuous flow of hot water through them. The springs comes out into the pool and then flows out again. But even so, you’re expected to wash
before you get into the onsen. And even when there’s nowhere to actually wash, you’re expected to rinse yourself off with water from the spring before you get in. And, now I’m not sure about this, but I think that may be a sign of purifying yourself before you interact with the kami. It’s a way of showing respect to
the kami of the hot springs. OK, so as long as you wash yourself first
the kami don’t mind you jumping inside of them? That’s right. OK, note taken. Um, but to get serious again. From your explanation, the definition of kami it doesn’t really seem like what I think of as a god. Right. God is a terrible translation of kami,
they’re really very different. Even if you use spirit, that’s a bit too much of the
second definition, which not everyone accepts. So, I just don’t translate the word. – Is there anything that people agree about?
– Oh yes! People agree that you should treat the kami with respect. So, if you visit a jinja, you should pay your respects to the kami first, before you
do your sightseeing and your tourist photography. It shows respect for both the kami and the priests, and the priests at least, definitely notice. OK, so when I was a kid, I used to go to church on most Sundays, that I remember. Do people in Japan visit jinja regularly? Very few people go that often. But about 70% of the population visit
a jinja at New Year for Hatsumōdë. Hatsumōdë, the first visit to a jinja or Buddhist
temple in a year, is a very popular custom. Millions of people line up at jinja across the country
just before midnight on New Year’s Eve, ready to pay their respects, draw a fortune, and maybe receive
amulets or similar to get the kami’s favour for the new year. Meiji Jingū, in Tokyo, is visited by about three million people
over the first three days of the year, every year. Even a local jinja in an urban area,
like the one we visited earlier in this video, can expect well over ten thousand. Out in rural areas, every single person
in the village might attend. Most people also take their children to a
jinja soon after birth for Hatsumiyamairi, and at the ages of three, five, and seven for Shichigosan. I’ve actually done this with my children.
his is what I was told about it. Shichigosan is formally a prayer of thanks
that the child has safely reached their age, and a request for their healthy growth in the future. In practice, it is often a family celebration, with the
children dressed up in spectacular rented kimono. Traditionally, it happened on November 15th,
but these days it happens at weekends, when the whole family has time off work, any time from late October to early December. If you visit a jinja at those times, you have a very
good chance of seeing at least one family. People also go to attend the regular
matsuri at their local jinja. Strictly speaking, a matsuri is any ceremony
held to one of the kami. But for most people, it means the big event
held with maybe portable jinja, maybe dancing, and definitely food stands. Remember I said that eating and playing were
not necessarily disrespectful of the kami? Well, a lot of that goes on at matsuri. A few matsuri are enormous,
and extremely famous. The Gion Matsuri in Kyoto, for example,
lasts for the whole of July, and includes multiple parades, and is listed
by UNESCO as intangible World Heritage. Most local matsuri happen on a single day,
and are only attended by people from the area, but many of them are recognised as being culturally
important by some level of government. The sacred dances at Shirahata Hachiman Daijin,
for example, are registered as important folk customs
by the city of Kawasaki. People also go to jinja with particular requests. They might just make the requests while paying
their respects, like we saw earlier. or they might ask the priests for a more formal prayer, which is conducted inside the prayer hall. For those you normally need to offer at least 5,000 yen. So where are we now? Well, different jinja have reputations
for different sorts of benefits. And right now, we’re at Yushima Tenjin, in Tokyo. This is a Tenjin jinja, and it’s very
famous for academic success. Tenjin jinja are all famous for academic success, but this one is particularly famous because
it’s very close to Tokyo University, the most famous university in Japan. Every year many people, particularly teenagers,
come here to pray for success in examinations. Particularly entrance examinations. They have lots, and lots, and lots of study amulets, including little packs of pencils that you
can use to take your exams with. Upon learning this, I took it upon myself to buy an ema, which is a wooden plaque you can write wishes on. Using my excellent penmanship, I crafted
this incredibly original message. Nihongo ga jōzu ni narimasu yō ni. I wish to get better at Japanese. Okay! There you go! After learning about all the ways that Shinto
is a part of the everyday lives of Japanese, is it fair to say that Japanese are religious? No, we wouldn’t say that. Only 3% of Japanese claim to be Shinto. Only 36% claim to have any religion at all,
and most of them are Buddhist. It’s kind of the opposite of the U.K., where about 70% of
people say they’re Christian and about 3% go to church. In Japan, about 3% say they’re Shinto
and about 70% go to jinja. How does that work? So many Japanese people going to jinja, yet so few stating that they are Shinto? Most people don’t think about the activities
that you do at a jinja as a religion. It’s just part of Japanese culture. In that way it’s quite similar to say,
kabuki, or the tea ceremony. You have to do the right sort of things,
you have to treat it with respect, it’s important, but not necessarily a religion. Even Shinto priests are often quite reluctant
to describe Shinto as a religion. Yeah, I think Westerners would have a hard time
understanding how going to a sacred place and praying for benefits, is not religious. It’s inscrutable. Now obviously, in some senses, Shinto is a religion, but it’s not very similar to the way that
religion is thought of in the West. It’s not an identity. It’s something you do, it’s not something you are. If you’re a Shinto priest, then you
might well do it a lot of the time. But even then, you might also follow another
religion, particularly Buddhism. It just doesn’t work the same way as it does in the West. Oh, OK. So then that’s something
I actually like about Shinto then, that’s it’s judging me based on my actions, not on my faith. It’s nice to know that people, no matter
their beliefs, can participate. Yes, Shinto is possibly the most open and welcoming
part of traditional Japanese culture. Priests at all jinja would be delighted to see foreigners
who came to visit and pay their respects correctly. Especially if they have that 5 yen coin. Ah, quite. OK. I didn’t screw that up after all. – OK, and then it’s just my… plug for you, essentially.
– Yes. – Yes.
– Hahahaha. Yes, gotta get, gotta get that right. Don’t
screw that up, that’s really important. I’d like to give a special thanks to David Chart for
giving us that great beginner’s guide to Shinto. Now he also writes for his own website, called Mimusubi. It’s an excellent resource in English about Shinto. So if you’re interested in Shinto,
I highly recommend going there. Thanks for watching, see you next time, bye!
Where you’re from, what traditional practices do you follow? Tourist snapshots at jinja are fine. However, you should
really get permission for anything commercial or on YouTube, which we received thanks to: Shirahata Hachiman Daijin
Yushima Tenjin At Yushima Tenjin, petting the cow (nade-ushi)
is said to improve your luck. OK, and then I’ll be a really pain in the
butt and say one more time. Oh, proper direction. Oh, kawaii!

100 comments

  1. Special thanks to David Chart for explaining the ins and outs of Shinto. Find out more about Shinto on his blog at https://www.mimusubi.com/ and support his writing on Patreon at https://www.patreon.com/mimusubi. NOTE: David didn't spit back into the purification font (what I called the water station). He spit the water outside of it into the drain. Also, the water is constantly replenished, so it's not standing water.

  2. I am a Christian who pays her respect and I do know Christians (Japanese and foreign living in Japan) who pay their respects when visiting Shinto shrines. It is the respectful thing to do when you are in another person's home.

  3. I thank him for respectfully explaining our culture. As we aren't good speakers of English, it's often hard for us to convey the nuance in the meaning of Kami and our religion.
    Of course, I love ginger as many Japanese do.

  4. i thought i would already have a good image of shinto …. but your video and the excellent explanations gave me totally new view. thank you very much.

    I'm from Germany. to be precise the former GDR. I was raised without a religious background. I do celebrate the Christian major events, but not due to my believe in the relegion. They were and still are national holidays and are celebrated by "everyone".
    Now I'm in my 40's and think about the isolation me and my family experience in the city wherr we are surrounded by strangers. A social connection with people in the neighbourhood or near surrounding is missing. A religion or another kind of action/belive system/habit/…. would be nice to create such bondings. in a society of "me" there is no society… society develops because of people which think of themselfs as "we".
    But as i write this…. there are quite some groups or classes of people that do match these criteria. People with identical political views, people in clubs to perform a hobby or working colleagues. but i think or more precisely feel they are all leaking something … I'm sorry i can't explain it very good.

  5. I love Japan’s practice. I believe in a similar practice. If I try and explain people are off put in America. Just respect each other.

  6. The way Shinto is described in this video, ritual and practice are the gods that Shinto holds the highest worth, in other words what it worships.

  7. This is very insightful. Though you think a god wouldn't need money. Then again I don't know much about Noragami, I've only listened to the openings. But when I wrote one of three historical essays and 6 paragraphs I talked about Shintoism. The book I use mentioned the Izanagi and Amaterasu. And washing before going in an Onsen does make sense in how it's a form of Kami. Although as a Christian I don't agree with the religion, it's nice to see how Shintoism works and religion in general in Japan.

  8. try to visit the branch office of he jehovah's witnesses there in japan. hers the map:
    Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society

    4-7-1 Nakashinden

    EBINA CITY

    KANAGAWA-PREF

    243-0496

    JAPAN

    +81 46-233-0005

  9. Did you notice your views are not that many for this video. Do you know why??? Because you didn't make fun or criticize other countries!

  10. I feel like you and David have a really good rhythm! Loved this.

    I've been carrying around a 5 yen coin in my wallet for about a decade now that I grabbed off eBay as a teenager. I was beginning to be interested in Japanese culture, love coins with holes in them, and heard they were good luck! I think when I finally go to Japan I'll offer it at a Jinja and get a new coin to carry with me. Now I'm pretty excited to visit a Jinja knowing I already have my offering, haha

  11. Could the shinto traditions maybe be compared to for example celebrating Christmas in the west? A lot of people celebrate Christmas even if they're not Christian and it's just seen as a tradition.

  12. Japanese, they celebrate the birth of a child in Shinto's ceremony, married in Christian Church, died in Buddhist way.

  13. I mean it's pretty good and all, but does anyone else the absolute lack of greenery?? Like so many Japanese streets just look downright depressing in my opinion because it's just so artificial, and there's no trees and grass anywhere, if there is, there's only a little bit. Also doesn't help that the overall architecture of buildings is so ugly and depressing and devoid of any style and colour. Just concrete squares. Looks like something out of the Soviet Union. Just a little remark. Anyone else get this??. I mean parts like 40:30 really do stand out to me since the overall layout and planning of this street actually looks VERY NICE, it feels modern, clean, and most of all, NATURAL. I got exhausted from the amount of concrete roads and bland colours in like 10 mins imagine living there, crazy depressing. I don't understand why the Japanese government doesn't plant more trees and create more greenery around the the roads and footpaths, it would honestly make life much less depressing and daily life much more soothing to get through.

  14. my shinto project was due the day before this video posted. very cool to see how much I learned from my research and also this video!

  15. I would love to see more David Chart as a guest in your videos. Very helpful and informative guy just like you 😊

  16. Wow it’s so strange how similar it is to Hinduism especially as it is practiced in South Indian temples. The rules and the purifying rituals are fairly similar but the concept of Kami is very similar to Daivom (badly translated to God in English as well).

  17. oooh i loved this video! id like to know how to identify a shinto shrine etc so i can ensure i do the right thing next time i go to japan

  18. Japanese not religious anymore. They celebrated all types of religious holidays. Haha… Young people not even care, only go to the temple or shrine @ newborn, wedding and funeral New Year is a celebration of a special day! Similar to the Western World, all the temple just co-existed in their life environment not totally devote their life to anyone of it! Really not 'Surprising' at all! A tradition or culture??? Lost the exciting elements? Or just too self-center nowadays!? Need to find its own reason though! :~)

  19. this is nice, this is almost perfect, this is the real peaceful religion (or whatever it is).. so beautiful…. no hate to other religions

  20. Very nice explanation. Clear and concise, but backed up by deep research, facts and numbers. I definitely learned a few things.
    And those drone shots… _

  21. I can understand Shinto. After all, I respect any form of religion that does not push its ideology onto others. In fact, I am inclined to consider Shinto a natural religion, too ancient to have an origin of revelation story, rather than any sort of -ism.

  22. So that part of going for the sake of tradition instead of religion sounds kinda like when I go to church during christmas. Not because of christianity but because of traditions. (Danish)

  23. David Chart is doing a great job! I’m only a few minutes in but I’m learning so much already. How did you find him? Excellent video btw. 🙂

  24. Stuff like this is why I like Japanese tradition/customs and want to learn more and want to learn the Japanese language to visit some day. Thanks for sharing.

  25. I would like to go there just to see how the priests react when a germanic pagan pays his respects with Donars Hammer dangling from his neck 🙂

  26. Ok, small note, since the British guy didn't clarify: 8 million (八百万) is also read "yaoyorozu", in which case you could translate it as "myriad" or "countless". It just means there are a ton of kami.

  27. The problem with not seeing Shinto as a religion is that religion is a secular concept. Christians don't believe that Christianity is a religion. It's just reality. Buddhists don't believe that Buddhism is a religion. It's just reality. So I'd argue that the Japanese are religious and that Shinto is a religion, just like Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, etc. Furthermore, Shinto owes the vast majority of it's ceremonies to Buddhism. Shinto wasn't even recognized as a separate spiritual path until Kukai introduced Japan to Buddhism, and even then, Shinto-Buddhism was fused into a single spiritual path for most of Japanese history. Shinto devotees, just like Christian, Muslim, and other spiritual devotees, deny that they are religious because their religion is their reality.

  28. We would all respect the world around us more innately if the whole world understood and acknowledged the idea of 'things' having energy or a being to them. We would be scared to litter or to pollute. I do hope the idea of kami spreads and that more people understand the philosophy without inherently associating the word with "god". The world is our god, no?

  29. This is a wonderful video. I've recently been thinking a lot about the "Shinto religion" (more than usual lol). I've tried my best to talk with Japanese people online about their views on religion in their country, and this video is very helpful in my personal quest to learn the complexities of the Japanese mindset and culture. You did a wonderful job with this, and your guest is very respectful and very knowledgeable. Honestly, I find myself envying him just a bit. Anyway, thank you so much. I think I'll be coming back to this video from time to time to refresh my knowledge on Shinto.

    It would be fantastic to hear about the other religion of Japan: Buddhism, and how it blends itself with Shinto. I know there are different sects or denominations in Japan, so I imagine it will be difficult to make a video about it.

  30. I feel like there is somewhat of a parallel between paying respect in Shinto by performing certain actions, and paying respect in Judaism/Christianity/Islam by abstaining from certain actions.

  31. I think part of the reason religion is seen so differently is the West is that all major religions (currently) come from the same roots. They are all Abrahamic religions, with the major differences lying in who is seen as the prophet. As a consequence, there are obviously different practices and beliefs depending of what has supposedly been said by each of these prophets, but all in all, they are all monotheistic and rely on this idea of an almighty God being the origin of the world's creation. Then there is also this opposition between them, which takes birth in recognition of the prophet once again; by believing in their prophet, they have to deny the existence of the others.

    Because they share these roots and this history, it makes them very similar in different ways, and makes it all the more different when westerners come across other religions.

    However, I do find there is a lot of similarity in the way that religions in the west and in the east evolve with modern culture and globalisation. It has been said that Japanese often take part in Shinto practices as part of popular culture, through events such as festivals, passage rites, or just in their day to day life. I feel it is very much the same in the west. Religious holidays are not dissimilar to shrine festivals in japan. They are celebratory events, and though religious in essence, people attend them as a means to have fun, and see people. The same can be said for rites of passage, wether it's baptism or sacraments, attending a wedding or funerals; religious in essence, but that's not why people partake in them. As for identifying with a religion, I don't feel like in terms of level of belief it is very different in the west and east. The reason people in the west "associate" with a religion declines from the filiality of religion and how people are defined, in part, and from a young age, by their religion. Baptism (or it's equivalents) sets one's default religion from birth, and from then on adults around them will refer to them as Christian or Catholic or Jew and so on. So when people are asked what their religion is, they tend to just name their filial religion, regardless of their beliefs or whether they practice. I reckon this automatic association is not as present in Asia, though there are obviously exceptions, and I may also be mistaken.

  32. cleanse yourself with this standing water, drink the disgusting biome and put it all over your hands so that you may enter the temple clean.

  33. Shinto seems less a religion, and more like… a kind of reverse shamanism… bringing out the divinity in the everyday.

  34. The only thing you can't do inside is draw out any weapons.

    Also check if the temple your visiting sold some sweets which can be given to children.

  35. Warning: Annoyingly long comment.

    So, basically, i'm an Anglo-Brazilian living in São Paulo. As i grew a bit, i really wanted to find out more about Japan and nowadays, neighbouring Sakhalin. Having watched Studio Ghibli's movies all my life and having a deep love for Japanese food, these days i know more than when i was younger. And tonight, at around 1 am, just out of curiosity, after watching this i decide to look for Jinjas in my area. And lo and behold…
    I found one on the street that i was born in.
    I will visit that place one day. Anyway, thanks to anyone who had the patience to read this, and cheers from Brazil.

  36. They even sexualize their Gods in the form of manga or anime.

    In noragami for example. Bishamonten, ebisu, etc.

    The concept of Shintoism is like the concept of Hinduism. But it's more casual. Like.. They do have traditions and "food for gods", but they're not so strict like hinduism

  37. I'll be honest, when I traveled to Kyoto with my friends to meet up with a japanese friend. We were told the same thing about Torii (bow a bit in front of them).

    Now, what he didn't tell us is about the tunnel of torii (we don't know) like the senbon torii thing, so we ended up bowing up and down for a bit, looking like headbanging chicken, before our japanese friend catches up to us and told us that you just bow once.

  38. I define it as a conscious discipline, bound with honor and respect, practiced as a culture and less of a religion.

  39. 19:23 That's awesome, people consider their religion as an identity, and mostly it divides people. Religion A or Religion B or Religion C usually is not very fond of the other religions or beliefs. Some group even go as far as not allowing their member/follower to greet/congratulate the people from another religion, just ridiculous.

  40. Shinto seems like a very calming and peaceful "religion," if you even were to call it that. I admire how the practices revolve greatly around respect for the nature of the world and have a focus on actions as opposed to faith. As a Christian, I feel like there's a lot more pressure staying loyal to my faith and what I believe in, but Shinto just seems so much more relaxed and free. Idk, thats just my take on it.

  41. I do not really follow any practices really; I prefer people to remove shoes near the entrance but ultimately I believe in being a good host over most other things, although only my mom before was this way I do consider my hospitality to be traditional, that being said I am no where good enough to properly honor her memory although I try.
    I have some self made traditions such as a prayer "Ta Mein, Ta meh-Sey, Ta-E-trei, Ahxess-Empowrei" any actual connection to a real language is not intended. It means with upmost respect to all Spirits listening "Together in mind, Together in Spirit, Together all the way through, Heart Empowered". I use it for my connection to any spirit i wish to honor. This next Prayer of mine I do specifically to Nature and all Great Spirits "Xai Xato, Xai Synn, Xai Xynn-Atoh" or in the most formal form Xai Xato, Hanom, Xai Synn, Kiyasu, Xai Xynn-Atoh, Sa'ludt. They are not names but rather Spirits from my own Pantheon. Xai Xato (Xai meaning something akin to Great and Noble Warrior of all that is good and pure), Was a swordsmen and defender of the just. Xai Synn was an Archer that took down an enemy landing party while they were at sea still using one arrow per ship to sink the invaders. Xai Xynn-Atoh were an inseperable duet one could sing a melody so pure it acted as Siren song making others incapable of rational thought or violence; and her eternal guardian the Knight so good on horse back and in skill people never realized it was the horse singing them into a lull. Hanom, Kiyasu, Sa'ludt are simply imprisoned spirits I helped free on a meditation adventure… do not know much but I do realize that they each Guard great secret knowledge but not what exactly. I honor them as I honor all but as I know them specifically I list them specifically. If wondering Atoh was the horse something akin to a dire Clydesdale.
    Sorry for the randomness but i equate my belief as being attached to Shinto in that my hearing of Shinto inspired my own beliefs.

  42. A moment for First Emperor Jim (I know Jimmu, but I think of him as Jim) and his helping Shinto to become a thing.

  43. IMO, kamii is a deity based on animism that every object in the world have a spirit reside within it. like mountain, rivers, etc. thus make japanese people very respectful towards the environment around them

  44. What I'm curious about is, do most Japanese people believe that kami literally exist or do they treat them as fairy tales or mythology or something? Are those 97% people who say they aren't Shinto sort of like Christians who say they don't believe the Bible 100% but believe there is a God? Or is it something else?

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