Religion in Japan


As an island country surrounded by the sea, Japan leads the world in economics, technology, and culture. Japan is a multi-religious country, mainly consisting of 3 major religions: Shinto, Buddhism, and Christian and many other small religions. The total number of religious believers in Japan is nearly twice that of the total population of the country. This is because the Japanese can believe in two or more religions at the same time, which is one of the prominent features of Japanese religion.


Shinto in Japan

Shinto in Japan

Shinto is the largest religion in Japan, practiced by nearly 80% of the population, yet only a small percentage of these identify themselves as "Shintoists" in surveys.

In Japanese folk, the Japanese are still used to offering many gods. Due to too many gods, the Japanese people’s ritual activities are also very frequent. Although the gods are different, the scale of the rituals is varied, but in general, the gods are greeted in the human world in some way, worshipped with food, celebrated with songs and dances, and finally fired to say goodbye to gods. The Shinto religion in Japan has actually developed gradually among the many folk religions mentioned above.

Unlike other religions, Shinto has no systematic doctrines, sectarian sects, and missionary rituals. Therefore, Shinto is actually a complex of Japanese various gods. It also includes ceremonies such as the royal court Shinto, shrine Shinto and sect Shinto.


►History of Shinto

After the Meiji Reform in Japan, the rulers used God to strengthen the royal rights. In 1868, they ordered the separation of the god and buddha, declared the Royal court Shinto as the state religion, and implemented the unity of administration and religion. The emperor thus became a tool for the Japanese rulers to control the national and foreign aggression.

After the Second World War, Japan was forced to carry out ethnic reforms, and the separation of administration and religion. The Emperor was forced to abandon his position in Shinto through the publication of the "Human Declaration". The Shinto organization also changed from a state institution to a non-governmental organization.

Nowadays, Japanese nationals still believe in Shintoism. According to statistics, there are more than 180,000 facilities such as shrines and more than 100 million followers in Japan, ranking first in the Japanese religions.


Buddhism in Japan

Buddhism in Japan

The number of people who believe in Buddhism in Japan is also close to 100 million, which is comparable to Shinto. There are so many Japanese believers in Buddhism because Buddhism has a long history in Japan.


►History of Buddhism

In the 6th century AD, Buddhism was introduced to Japan by India through China and the Korean Peninsula. At the beginning of the 7th century, Buddhism and law are vigorously developed. Buddhism began to spread widely, but at the same time there were drawbacks such as excessive Buddhist power and disordered discipline.

In the 8th century AD, Japanese Buddhism was greatly developed. In the process of widespread spread of Buddhism, it is also infiltrated with the inherent Shintoism of Japan, gradually becoming Japanese and secular, in order to be close to the national way of life. Japanese Buddhism actively participated in society’s activities.


Christian in Japan

Christian in Japan

Compared with Shintoism and Buddhism, Christianity was introduced to Japan later, and its influence on Japanese culture was relatively small.


►History of Christianity in Japan

In the 16th century, Christianity of west countries began to be introduced to Japan. Christianity was once permitted by the Japanese rulers, the strength and influence of Christianity quickly expanded in Japan.

By the beginning of the 17th century, the number of Catholics in the country had increased to 750,000, and challenged main religions such as Shinto and Buddhism at the time. Some lower-level believers used the banner of God to launch riots against the feudal lords. But in the Japanese religious world, Christianity has always been subordinate.

After the Second World War, with the occupation and support of the Allies, it was once greatly developed. The number of believers has reached more than 1.5 million, but its scale and influence are smaller than Shintoism and Buddhism.


Religion in Japan daily life

Japanese weddings

Many Japanese weddings are held in shrines, but many people also hold weddings in monasteries and churches. What is more interesting is that about 2% of Japanese people hold weddings at the shrine first, and then go to monasteries and churches to hold weddings.

funeral in Japan

As for the funeral, in Japan, it is also divided into Buddhist funeral, Shinto funeral, and Christian funeral. Which religious ceremony is chosen depends on the organizer.

In the contemporary era, people are no longer controlled by religion as the ancients or succumb to the doctrine of "God", but only obey some preaching that is consistent with social morality and ethics. The actual lack of religious attitudes among adolescents has reached 80%. It can be seen that in modern Japanese society, religion has actually been regarded by most nationals as a tool to satisfy spiritual needs.

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