Shinto (Shrine Shinto)
This is a general term for all the rites and other activities
performed by a local community or a kin community mainly
in a building called Jinja (or a shrine). Together with
the Koshitsu Shinto (Shinto of the Imperial House), this
is considered to form the core of the Shinto tradition.
In February 1946, responding to the issuance of so called
the Shinto Directive by the occupation authorities in the
previous year (1945), the world of Shinto Shrines formed
an organization known as the Association of Shinto Shrines
with an aim to uphold the Japanese cultural tradition. Presently
it includes about eighty thousand shrines throughout Japan.
A long tradition worshipping Kami (the deities), however,
it is not, by itself, a religious institution which is organized
by followers under a particular spiritual leader. Each shrine
has an individual historical background for its establishment.
So, it has no fixed doctrine nor holy scriptures. Although
the Association of Shinto Shrines formed as a unifying body
of these shrines putting its base on reverence for the Grand
Shrine of Ise, it has no standardized fixed doctrine but
just the constitution for the organization which describes
its aim and spirit and the 'General Characteristics of a
Life lived in Reverence of Kami (the deities)' which describes
the guidance for Shinto followers. The main points of the
latter is as follows:
(1) To be grateful for the blessings of Kami and the benefits
of the ancestors, and to be diligent in the observance of
the Shinto rites, applying oneself to them with sincerity.
brightness, and purity of heart.
(2) To be helpful to others and in the world at large through
deeds of service without thought of rewards, and to seek
the advancement of the world as one whose life mediates
the will of Kami.
(3) To bind oneself with others in harmonious acknowledgment
of the will of the emperor, praying that the country may
flourish and that other peoples too may live in peace and
The expression, "uprightness, righteousness and purity
of heart", was originally used in the Imperial Edict
of Senmyo in the Nara period (724-780). It describes the
royal mind of people towards the emperor and the state."
The will of Kami" expressed in (2)is understood as
a divine mission for the Japanese to realize what Amaterasu
Ohmikami commanded to her grandchild. According to the Japanese
myth, she sent her grandchild to the land of Japan and blessed
him saying "Do thou, my grandchild, proceed thithe
and accept it. Go! and may prosperity attend thy dynasty,
and may it, with Heaven and Earth, endure for ever."