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Jinja 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 prosperity.

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."


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