Shinto or kami-no-michi is the traditional religion of Japan that focuses on ritual practices to be carried out diligently to establish a connection between present-day Japan and its ancient past. Shinto practices were first recorded and codified in the written historical records of the Kojiki and Nihon Shoki in the 8th century. Still, these earliest Japanese writings do not refer to a unified religion, but rather to a collection of native beliefs and mythology. Shinto today is the religion of public shrines devoted to the worship of a multitude of "spirits", "essences" or "gods", suited to various purposes such as war memorials and harvest festivals, applies as well to various sectarian organizations. Practitioners express their diverse beliefs through a standard language and practice, adopting a similar style in dress and ritual, dating from around the time of the Nara and Heian periods; the word Shinto was adopted as Jindō or Shindō, from the written Chinese Shendao, combining two kanji: shin, meaning "spirit" or kami.
The oldest recorded usage of the word Shindo is from the second half of the 6th century. Kami is rendered in English as "spirits", "essences", or "gods", refers to the energy generating the phenomena. Since the Japanese language does not distinguish between singular and plural, kami refers to the singular divinity, or sacred essence, that manifests in multiple forms: rocks, rivers, objects and people can be said to possess the nature of kami. Kami and people are not separate; as much as nearly 80% of the population in Japan participates in Shinto practices or rituals, but only a small percentage of these identify themselves as "Shintoists" in surveys. This is. Most of the Japanese attend Shinto shrines and beseech kami without belonging to an institutional Shinto religion. There are no formal rituals to become a practitioner of "folk Shinto". Thus, "Shinto membership" is estimated counting only those who do join organised Shinto sects. Shinto has about 85,000 priests in the country. According to surveys carried out in 2006 and 2008, less than 40% of the population of Japan identifies with an organised religion: around 35% are Buddhists, 3% to 4% are members of Shinto sects and derived religions.
In 2008, 26% of the participants reported visiting Shinto shrines, while only 16.2% expressed belief in the existence of a god or gods in general. According to Inoue: "In modern scholarship, the term is used with reference to kami worship and related theologies and practices. In these contexts,'Shinto' takes on the meaning of'Japan's traditional religion', as opposed to foreign religions such as Christianity, Islam and so forth." Shinto religious expressions have been distinguished by scholars into a series of categories: Shrine Shinto, the main tradition of Shinto, has always been a part of Japan's history. It consists of taking part in worship events at local shrines. Before the Meiji Restoration, shrines were disorganized institutions attached to Buddhist temples; the current successor to the imperial organization system, the Association of Shinto Shrines, oversees about 80,000 shrines nationwide. Imperial Household Shinto are the religious rites performed by the imperial family at the three shrines on the imperial grounds, including the Ancestral Spirits Sanctuary and the Sanctuary of the Kami.
Folk Shinto includes the numerous folk beliefs in spirits. Practices include divination, spirit possession, shamanic healing; some of their practices come from Buddhism, Taoism or Confucianism, but most come from ancient local traditions. Sect Shinto is a legal designation created in the 1890s to separate government-owned shrines from local organised religious communities; these communities originated in the Edo period. The basic difference between Shrine Shinto and Sect Shinto is that sects are a development and grew self-consciously, they can identify a founder, a formal set of teachings and sacred scriptures. Sect Shinto groups are thirteen, classified under five headings: pure Shinto sects, Confucian sects,mountain worship sects, purification sects, faith-healing sects (Kurozumikyo／黒住教, Konkokyo/金光教 and its branching Omotokyo/大本教 and Tenrikyo／天理教. Koshintō, literally'Old Shinto', is a reconstructed "Shinto from before the time of Buddhism", today based on Ainu religion and Ryukyuan practices.
It continues the restoration movement begun by Hirata Atsutane. Many other sects and schools can be distinguished. Faction Shinto is a grouping of Japanese new religions developed since the second half of the 20th century that have departed from traditional Shinto and are not always regarded as part of it. Kami, shin, or, jin is defined in English as "god", "spirit", or "spiritual essence", all these terms meaning "the energy generating a thing". Since the Japanese language does not distinguish between singular and plural, kami refers to the divinity, or sacred essence, that manifests in multiple forms. Rocks, rivers, objects, places
The sōrin is the vertical shaft which tops a Japanese pagoda, whether made of stone or wood. The sōrin of a wooden pagoda is made of bronze and can be over 10 meters tall; that of a stone pagoda is of stone and less than a meter long. The sōrin is divided in several sections possessing a symbolic meaning and, as a whole, in turn itself represents a pagoda. Although quintessentially Buddhist, in Japan pagodas and their sōrin can be found both at Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines; this is because until the Kami and Buddhas Separation Act of 1868 a Shinto shrine was also a Buddhist temple and vice versa. Itsukushima Shrine for example has one; the sōrin is supported by a long shaft obtained by joining two or three shorter ones, that runs to the base of the edifice. Although it is believed that the pillar at the core of a Japanese pagoda is a device to strengthen it against earthquakes, its sole purpose is to support the long and heavy bronze sōrin. In many cases the central shaft doesn't reach the ground, but has its base somewhere above it within the pagoda, where it is supported by beam or other means.
At Nikkō Tōshōgū, for example, it is suspended with chains from the fourth floor. From its base exits a long tenon which, penetrating a mortise in a base stone, prevents it from oscillating; this structure was adopted not as a measure against earthquakes but because, with aging, the wood of the pagoda, whose grain is horizontal, tends to shrink more than that of the vertical shaft, causing the opening of a gap between the two at the roof. From the gap rain would enter. In other cases, this was done to allow the opening of a room at the ground floor and therefore create some usable space; the sōrin of a wooden pagoda is made of bronze and is divided in several segments called: The Jewel or gem, a spherical or tear-shaped object, shapes sacred to Buddhism. Believed to repel evil and fulfill wishes, it can be found on top of pyramidal temple roofs, of stone lanterns or of tall poles, it can have flames. Those made; the dragon vehicle, the piece below the hōju The water flame, consisting of four decorative sheets of metal set at 90° to each other and installed over the top of the main pillar of a pagoda.
The fūtaku, small bells attached to the edges of a sōrin's rings or of the suien. The nine rings, the largest component of the sōrin. In spite of their name, there can sometimes be only eight or seven of them; the ukebana, a circle of upturned lotus petals eight in number. There can be another circle of petals facing down; the inverted bowl, which sits between the ukebana and the roban. The base or dew basin, on which rests the entire finial; because it covers the top of the roof in order to prevent leaks, it has as many sides as the roof itself. The most important stone pagoda having a finial is the hōkyōintō. Made in stone and metal or wood, hōkyōintō started to be made in their present form during the Kamakura period. Like a gorintō, they are divided in five main sections, its components are, from the top down: Hōju Ukebana Kurin Ukebana Roban. The sōrin sits on the kasa or yane, a stepped pyramid with four wings at the corners called mimikazari or sumikazari; the sōrintō is a type of small pagoda consisting just of a pole and a sōrin
Mon is a generic Japanese term for gate used, either alone or as a suffix, in referring to the many gates used by Buddhist temples, Shinto shrines and traditional-style buildings and castles. Unlike gates of secular buildings, most temple and shrine gates are purely symbolic elements of liminality, as they cannot be closed and just mark the transition between the mundane and the sacred. In many cases, for example that of the sanmon, a temple gate has cleansing properties. Gate size is measured in ken, where a ken is the interval between two pillars of a traditional-style building. A temple's rōmon for example can have dimensions from a maximum of 5x2 ken to a more common 3x2 ken, down to one ken; the word is translated in English as "bay" and is better understood as an indication of proportions than as a unit of measurement. Like the temples they belong to, gates can be in the wayō, daibutsuyō, zen ` setchūyō style, they can be named after: Their location, of the omotemon or the karametemon. The deity they house, as the Niōmon, a gate enshrining two gods called Niō in its outer bays.
Their structure or shape, as the nijūmon and the rōmon. Their function, as the sanmon, the most important gate of a Zen or Jōdo temple. Not all such terms are mutually exclusive and the same gate may be called with different names according to the situation. For example, a Niōmon can be called a nijūmon if it has two stories. Different structurally from the others is the toriimon, a two-legged gate in stone or wood associated with Shinto, but common within Japanese Buddhist temples; as prominent a temple as Osaka's Shitennō-ji, founded in 593 by Shōtoku Taishi and the oldest state-built Buddhist temple in the country, has a torii straddling one of its entrances. The origins of the torii are unknown; because the use of symbolic gates is widespread in Asia—such structures can be found for example in India, Thailand and within Nicobarese and Shompen villages—historians believe it may be an imported tradition. It most symbolically marks the entrance of a Shinto shrine. For this reason, it is never closed.
Hakkyakumon or Yatsuashimon – so called because of its eight secondary pillars, which support four main pillars standing under the gate's ridge. It therefore has twelve pillars altogether. Heijūmon – A gate in a wall consisting in just two square posts. Kabukimon – A gate in a wall formed by two square posts and a horizontal beam. Karamon – A gate characterized by a karahafu, an undulating bargeboard peculiar to Japan. Karamon are used at Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines. Kōraimon – Used at castles and daimyō residences, it consists of a tiled, gabled roof on two pillars, plus two smaller roofs over the secondary pillars on the rear of the gate. Masugata. A defensive structure consisting in a courtyard along the wall of a castle with two gates set at a square angle, one giving access to the castle and one facing the outside; the external gate is a kōraimon, the internal one a yaguramon. The Sakuradamon at Tokyo's Imperial Palace is such a gate. Munamon – A gate formed by two pillars sustaining a gabled roof.
Similar to a kōraimon, but lacking the roofed secondary pillars. Nagayamon lit. nagaya gate – A nagaya a long house, was a row house where low status samurai used to live, the nagayamon was a gate that allowed traffic from one side of the structure to the other. Nijūmon – A two-storied gate with a pent roof between the two stories. Distinguishable from the similar rōmon for having a pent roof between stories. Niōmon – A gate enshrining in its two outer bays the statues of two warden gods, the Niō. Rōmon – A two-storied, single roofed gate where the second story is inaccessible and offers no usable room. Distinguishable from the similar nijūmon for not having a pent roof between stories. Sanmon – The most important gate of a Japanese Zen Buddhist temple. Used by other schools the Jōdo, its importance notwithstanding, the sanmon is not the first gate of the temple, in fact it stands between the sōmon and the butsuden. Sōmon – the gate at the entrance of a temple, it precedes the bigger and more important sanmon.
Torii – This distinctive symbolic gate is associated with Shinto shrines, however it is common at Buddhist temples too, as most have at least one. Uzumimon – Gates opened in a castle wall; because they were used to connect surfaces at different levels, they looked as if they were buried in the ground. Yaguramon – A gate with a yagura on top. Yakuimon – A gate having no pillars under the ridge of its gabled gate, supported by four pillars at its corners. Yakkyakumon or Yotsuashimon – so called because of its four secondary pillars which support two main pillars standing under the gate's ridge, it therefore has six pillars. Media related to Gates in Japan at Wikimedia Commons
The kairō, bu, sōrō or horō is the Japanese version of a cloister, a covered corridor built around the most sacred area of a Buddhist temple, a zone which contained the Kondō and the pagoda. Nowadays it can be found at Shinto shrines and at shinden-zukuri aristocratic residences; the kairō and the rōmon were among the most important among the garan elements which appeared during the Heian period. The first surrounded the holiest part of the garan. Neither was characteristic of Shinto shrines, but in time they came to replace the traditional shrine surrounding fence called tamagaki; the earliest example of a kairō/rōmon complex can be found at Iwashimizu Hachiman-gū, a shrine now but a former shrine-temple. The rōmon is believed to have been built in 886, the kairō at the same time. Itsukushima Jinja is an example of the mature form of the complex. Two types of kairō exist, one 1-bay wide and another 2-bay wide, the bay being the space between two pillars; the first is by far the most common. The 1-bay wide type is supported by just two rows of pillars and is therefore called tanrō.
Typical windows called renjimado let light in. The 2-bay wide type is supported by three rows of pillars, is called fukurō and is divided in two identical corridors by a wall. Although it is known that several existed at major Buddhist temples, for example at Tōdai-ji, none is extant; some fukurō survive however at Shinto shrines
The honden called shinden or sometimes shōden, as in Ise Shrine's case, is the most sacred building at a Shinto shrine, intended purely for the use of the enshrined kami symbolized by a mirror or sometimes by a statue. The building is in the rear of the shrine and closed to the general public. In front of it stands the haiden, or oratory; the haiden is connected to the honden by a heiden, or hall of offerings. Physically, the honden is the heart of the shrine complex, connected to the rest of the shrine but raised above it, protected from public access by a fence called tamagaki, it is small and with a gabled roof. Its doors are kept closed, except at religious festivals. Shinto priests; the rite of opening those doors is itself an important part of the shrine's life. Inside the honden is kept the go-shintai "the sacred body of the kami"; the go-shintai is not divine, but just a temporary repository of the enshrined kami. Important as it is, the honden may sometimes be absent, as for example when the shrine stands on a sacred mountain to which it is dedicated, or when there are nearby himorogi or other yorishiro that serve as a more direct bond to a kami.
Ōmiwa Shrine in Nara, for example, contains no sacred images or objects because it is believed to serve the mountain on which it stands. For the same reason, it has no honden. Another important shrine without a honden is head of the Suwa shrine network; the honden's structure determines the shrine's architectural style. Many exist, but three are of particular importance because they are the only ones believed to predate the arrival of Buddhism, have therefore a special architectural and historical significance, they are exemplified by the honden at Izumo Taisha, Nishina Shinmei Shrine and Sumiyoshi Taisha. German architect Bruno Taut compared the importance of Ise Shrine's honden to that of Greece's Parthenon. For details, see the article Shinto architecture. Main Hall of a temple for the similar concept in Japanese Buddhism Glossary of Shinto for an explanation of terms concerning Shinto, Shinto art, Shinto shrine architecture Holy of Holies in Judeo-Christian traditions Tamura, Yoshiro. "The Birth of the Japanese nation in".
Japanese Buddhism - A Cultural History. Tokyo: Kosei Publishing Company. P. 232 pages. ISBN 4-333-01684-3. "Honden". JAANUS. Retrieved 2008-12-19. Mori, Mizue. "Honden". Encyclopedia of Shinto. Kokugakuin University. Retrieved 2008-12-19. Smyers, Karen Ann; the Fox and the Jewel: Shared and Private Meanings in Contemporary Japanese Inari Worship. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press. ISBN 0-8248-2102-5. OCLC 231775156
East Asian hip-and-gable roof
In East Asian architecture, the hip-and-gable roof consists of a hip roof that slopes down on all four sides and integrates a gable on two opposing sides. It is constructed with two large sloping roof sections in the front and back while each of the two sides is constructed with a smaller roof section; the style has spread across East Asia. The original style and similar styles are found in the traditional architecture of Japan, Vietnam, Tibet, Sri Lanka and Kalmykia, it influenced the style of the bahay na bato of the Philippines. It is known as xiēshān in Chinese, irimoya in Japanese, paljakjibung in Korean. Irimoya arrived from China to Japan in the 6th century; the style was used in the main and lecture halls of a Buddhist temple compound. It started to be used for the honden at shrines during the Japanese Middle Ages, its gable is right above the moya, or core, while the hip covers the hisashi, a veranda-like aisle surrounding the core on one or more sides. It is still in wide use in Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines in Japan, in palaces and folk dwellings.
In the last case, it is called moya-zukuri. In Sri Lanka, a style known as the Kandyan roof bears many similarities to the original East Asian hip-and-gable roof; the Kandyan roof is used for religious, royal buildings. Its roots however lie in the traditions of the "Sri Lankan village". Gablet roof
A katōmado written as, is a style of pointed arch or bell-shaped window found in Japanese architecture. It first arrived in Japan from China together with Zen Buddhism, as an element of Zen style architecture, but from the end of the 16th century it started to be used in temples of other Buddhist sects, Shinto shrines and samurai residences as well; the window was not flared, but its design and shape changed over time: the two vertical frames were widened and curves were added at the bottom. The kanji characters used for its name have changed through the centuries, from the original "fire window" to "flower head window"; the oldest extant example of katōmado can be found in Engaku-ji's Shariden in Kamakura, thought to follow the original style as it was introduced to Japan, with the vertical frames touching the bottom in straight lines. Another well-known example can be found in the room called Genji-no-ma in the Main Hall at Ishiyama-dera, Shiga prefecture. For this reason, katōmado are known as genjimado