Glossary of Shinto
This is the glossary of Shinto, including major terms the casual reader might find useful in understanding articles on the subject. Words followed by an asterisk are illustrated by an image in one of the photo galleries. Within definitions, words set in boldface are defined elsewhere in the glossary. Aku - Evil; the term's meaning is however not limited to moral evil, includes misfortune and unhappiness. Amaterasu Ōmikami - The Sun Goddess, tutelary kami and ancestor of the Emperor, enshrined at Ise Shrine. An* - a small table or platform used during Shinto ceremonies to bear offerings, it may have eight or sixteen legs. Anzen - Safety safety at work requested from a kami, in fact corporations have a tutelary shrine to ensure their business prospers. Aramitama - The rough and violent side of a spirit. Bekkū or betsugū - Subsidiary shrine next to the honden, which may however enshrine an important kami. Benzaiten - Originally a Vedic goddess Sarasvati, now a syncretic goddess member of the seven lucky gods.
Her Shinto name is Ichikishima-hime-no-mikoto. Bettō - before the shinbutsu bunri, when the Meiji period law forbade the mixing of Shinto and Buddhism, a bettō was a monk who performed Buddhist rites at a Shinto shrine. Bishamonten - Syncretic deity of Buddhist origin part of the Seven Lucky Gods. A symbol of authority, he protects warriors. Bon Matsuri - a festival celebrated around July 15 in order to console the spirits of the dead. In theory a Buddhist in practice an ancestor and family festival part of Shinto. Bosatsu - Bodhisattva. Term of Buddhist origin which however was and is used for deities of mixed Buddhist/Shinto ancestry like Benzaiten and Jizō, kami like Hachiman and deified human beings like Tokugawa Ieyasu. Buden - see kaguraden. Bunrei - process of division of a kami producing two complete copies of the original, one of, transferred to a new shrine through a process called kanjō. Bunsha - Shrine part of a network headed by a famous shrine, from whence its kami was transferred through an operation called kanjō.
Butsudan - Buddhist altar found in Japanese homes enshrining a family's ancestors. Chigi* - Forked decorations common at the ends of the roof of shrines. Chinju - the tutelary kami or tutelary shrine of a certain area or Buddhist temple. Chinjusha* - a small shrine dedicated to the tutelary kami of an area or building. Chōchin - paper lanterns always present at Shinto festivals chōzuya - see temizuya. Daijōsai - Ceremony marking the beginning of an Emperor's reign in which he offers first fruits to ancestors, including Amaterasu; the Emperor shares a meal with the goddess. Dai-gongen - see gongen. Daikokuten - syncretic god part of the seven lucky gods fusing Buddhist god Mahakala and kami Ōkuninushi. Dōsojin - group of kami and Buddhist gods protectors of roads and other places of transition. Ebisu - god of prosperity found at both temples and shrines. One of the Seven Lucky Gods. ema* - small wooden plaques on which worshipers at shrines, as well as Buddhist temples, write their prayers or wishes.
Fox - See kitsune. Fuji - The most famous among Japan's sacred mountains, it is inhabited by a kami called Konohanasakuya-hime. Fukkō Shintō - name synonymous with kokugaku. Go-hei* - called onbe or heisoku. A wooden wand decorated with two shide and used in Shinto rituals as a yorishiro. Gongen A Buddhist god that chooses to appear as a Japanese kami to take the Japanese to spiritual salvation. Name sometimes used for shrines before the shinbutsu bunri. Gongen-zukuri - a shrine structure in which the haiden, the heiden and the honden are interconnected under the same roof in the shape of an H.* Goryō - A soul, angry for having died violently or unhappy, which needs to be pacified through Buddhist rites or enshrinement, like Sugawara no Michizane. Goshintai - see shintai. Gozu-tennō - Buddhist name of kami Susanoo, considered an avatar of Yakushi Nyorai. -gū - suffix of certain shrine names indicating it enshrines a member of the imperial family. Hachiman-gū shrines, for instance, enshrine Emperor Ojin.
Hachiman - Popular syncretic kami tutelary god of the warrior class. First enshrined at Usa Hachiman-gū, it consists of three separate figures, Emperor Ōjin, his mother and his wife Himegami. Hachiman-zukuri - Shinto architectural style in which two parallel structures with gabled roofs are interconnected on the non-gabled side forming a single building which, when seen from the side, gives the impression of two. Haibutsu kishaku - Literally "Destroy Buddha, kill Shakyamuni", it was the slogan of a Meiji period anti-Buddhist movement responsible for the destruction of thousands of Buddhist temples. Haiden* - "hall of prayer". A shrine building dedicated to prayer, the only one of a shrine open to laity. Hakusan - collective name given to three mountains worshiped as kami and sacred to the Shugendō. Hakusan shrines are common all over Japan. Hamaya - Literally "evil breaking arrow". Arrows kept at home all year. Han-honji suijaku - theory initiated by Yoshida Kanetomo which reversed the standard honji suijaku theory, asserting Buddhist gods were just avatars of Japanese kami. haraegushi - an ōnusa having an hexagonal or octagonal wand. harae - general term for rituals of purification in Shinto.
Hassoku-an - See an. Hatsumōde - the first shrine visit of the New Year; some shrines, for example Meiji Shrine in Harajuku, see millions of visitors in just a few days. Heiden - a section of a shrine where offerings are presented to the gods. Heihaku - see
Kanji are the adopted logographic Chinese characters that are used in the Japanese writing system. They are used alongside katakana; the Japanese term kanji for the Chinese characters means "Han characters". It is written with the same characters in the Chinese language to refer to the character writing system, hanzi. Chinese characters first came to Japan on official seals, swords, coins and other decorative items imported from China; the earliest known instance of such an import was the King of Na gold seal given by Emperor Guangwu of Han to a Yamato emissary in 57 AD. Chinese coins from the first century AD have been found in Yayoi period archaeological sites. However, the Japanese of that era had no comprehension of the script, would remain illiterate until the fifth century AD. According to the Nihon Shoki and Kojiki, a semi-legendary scholar called Wani was dispatched to Japan by the Kingdom of Baekje during the reign of Emperor Ōjin in the early fifth century, bringing with him knowledge of Confucianism and Chinese characters.
The earliest Japanese documents were written by bilingual Chinese or Korean officials employed at the Yamato court. For example, the diplomatic correspondence from King Bu of Wa to Emperor Shun of Liu Song in 478 has been praised for its skillful use of allusion. Groups of people called fuhito were organized under the monarch to read and write Classical Chinese. During the reign of Empress Suiko, the Yamato court began sending full-scale diplomatic missions to China, which resulted in a large increase in Chinese literacy at the Japanese court. In ancient times paper was so rare that people stenciled kanji onto thin, rectangular strips of wood; these wooden boards were used for communication between government offices, tags for goods transported between various countries, the practice of writing. The oldest written kanji in Japan discovered so far was written in ink on wood as a wooden strip dated to the 7th century, it is a record of trading for salt. The Japanese language had no written form at the time Chinese characters were introduced, texts were written and read only in Chinese.
During the Heian period, however, a system known as kanbun emerged, which involved using Chinese text with diacritical marks to allow Japanese speakers to restructure and read Chinese sentences, by changing word order and adding particles and verb endings, in accordance with the rules of Japanese grammar. Chinese characters came to be used to write Japanese words, resulting in the modern kana syllabaries. Around 650 AD, a writing system called man'yōgana evolved that used a number of Chinese characters for their sound, rather than for their meaning. Man'yōgana written in cursive style evolved into hiragana, or onna-de, that is, "ladies' hand," a writing system, accessible to women. Major works of Heian-era literature by women were written in hiragana. Katakana emerged via a parallel path: monastery students simplified man'yōgana to a single constituent element, thus the two other writing systems and katakana, referred to collectively as kana, are descended from kanji. In comparison to kana kanji are called mana.
In modern Japanese, kanji are used to write parts of the language such as nouns, adjective stems, verb stems, while hiragana are used to write inflected verb and adjective endings and as phonetic complements to disambiguate readings and miscellaneous words which have no kanji or whose kanji is considered obscure or too difficult to read or remember. Katakana are used for representing onomatopoeia, non-Japanese loanwords, the names of plants and animals, for emphasis on certain words. In 1946, after World War II and under the Allied Occupation of Japan, the Japanese government, guided by the Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers, instituted a series of orthographic reforms, to help children learn and to simplify kanji use in literature and periodicals; the number of characters in circulation was reduced, formal lists of characters to be learned during each grade of school were established. Some characters were given simplified glyphs, called shinjitai. Many variant forms of characters and obscure alternatives for common characters were discouraged.
These are guidelines, so many characters outside these standards are still known and used. The kyōiku kanji are 1,006 characters; the list only contained 881 characters. This was expanded to 996 characters in 1977, it was not until 1982 the list was expanded to its current size. The grade-level breakdown of these kanji is known as the gakunen-betsu kanji haitōhyō, or the gakushū kanji; the jōyō kanji are 2,136 characters consisting of all the Kyōiku kanji, plus 1,130 additional kanji taught in junior high and high school. In publishing, characters outside this category are given furigana; the jōyō kanji were introduced in 1981, replacing an older list of 1,850 characters known as the tōyō kanji, introduced in 1946. Numbering 1,945 characters, the jōyō kanji list was extended to 2,136 in 2010; some of the new characters were Jinmeiyō kanji. Since September 27, 2004, the jinmeiyō k
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
Kamo no Chōmei
Kamo no Chōmei was a Japanese author and essayist. He witnessed a series of natural and social disasters, having lost his political backing, was passed over for promotion within the Shinto shrine associated with his family, he decided to turn his back on society, took Buddhist vows, became a hermit, living outside the capital. This was somewhat unusual for the time, when those who turned their backs on the world joined monasteries. Along with the poet-priest Saigyō he is representative of the literary recluses of his time, his celebrated essay Hōjōki is representative of the genre known as "recluse literature". Born with the name Kamo no Nagaakira, he was the second son of Kamo no Nagatsugu, sho-negi or superintendent, of the Lower Kamo shrine, he was known by the title Kikudaifu. The exact year of his birth is unknown, but thought to be either 1153 or 1155, with 1155 being the accepted date. From an early age, he studied music in a comfortable environment. At the time, the Upper and Lower Kamo Shrines owned large amounts of property around the Kamo River, northeast of the Heian capital, holding great power and prestige among the aristocracy.
The Kamo Festival, occurring in the middle of the fourth month, was considered the most important Shinto event and is vividly depicted in literature of the time, most notably in Chapter Nine of The Tale of Genji. Chōmei was raised under these religious and material conditions. In 1160, his father was promoted to junior fourth rank, lower grade, which led the seven-year-old Chōmei to being promoted to fifth rank, junior grade. Ill health and political maneuvering led his father to retire in 1169, in the early 1170s he died. Expecting to fill the vacant role left by his father, Chōmei in his late teens, was passed over, instead his cousin was promoted to this position. In poems in Kamo no Chōmei-shū, Chōmei lamented this development; when Chōmei was in his twenties, he moved to his paternal grandmother's house. Disinheritance may have been the reason. Since Chōmei's father had been the youngest in the family, he inherited his mother's residence. In his thirties, Chōmei states in Hōjōki that after losing “backing” in his paternal grandmother's house, he was forced out, built a small house near the Kamo River.
Chōmei would live here. In Hōjōki, Chōmei states that he was able to leave the world behind because he was not attached to society by marriage or offspring; the Hōjōki is Chōmei's notebook. "His work contains, as well as an first-hand description of Fukuwara, a striking account of material conditions in the capital in the years from 1177 to 1182." After his father's death, Chōmei became more interested in poetry, three poets were influential to his literary growth. His mentor Shōmyō was of the Rokujō school, which did not receive much recognition because of a lack of patrons from the Imperial household; as his mentor, Shōmyō taught Chōmei the finer styles of court poetry. Kamo no Shigeyasu, the head Shinto priest of the Upper Kamo Shrine, was instrumental in developing Chōmei's skill as a poet, inviting him to his poetry contests. Through Shigeyasu's influence and support, Chōmei completed a book of poems called Kamo no Chōmei-shū in 1181. Another important figure in the development of Chōmei's poetry was the poet priest Shun'e.
Through his poetry circle, known as Karin'en, an amalgam of people, including Shinto and Buddhist Priests, low- to mid-ranking courtiers, women in the court who shared their writings. The tales from these meetings filled a large part of Chōmei's Mumyōshō. Music played a significant role throughout Chōmei's life, his musical mentor, Nakahara Ariyasu, was instrumental in his development, Chōmei, known as Kikudaifu by his audience, was noted for his skill. According to an account by Minamoto no Ienaga, Chōmei's love for music was revealed in the sorrow he felt when he had to return a biwa called Tenari to the emperor. In his thirties, Chōmei enjoyed moderate success in poetry contests and inclusion into anthologies, such as the Senzaishū. With inventive phrasing to describe nature, such as "semi no ogawa" to describe the Kamo river, Chōmei caused a bit of controversy. Entering the poem, with this phrase, into the Kamo Shrine's official poetry contest, he lost because the judge thought he was writing about a river that did not exist.
Chōmei insisted, that the phrase had been used before and was included in the records of the shrine. Chōmei seems to have offended his cousin; this episode shows. To rub in the embarrassment, the poem with this phrase was included in the Shin Kokinshū. Chōmei reached a turning point in his mid-forties, his patron, the cloistered emperor Go-Toba, supported his poetry writing. To create an anthology to rival the Kokinshū, Go-Toba organized the Imperial Poetry Office, filled with numerous elite courtiers and literati, among whom Chōmei was assigned as a lower level member; as a member of this organization, Chōmei enjoyed benefits that would otherwise not have been given to him, including visits to the Imperial Garden to view the cherry blossoms in bloom. Chōmei worked for the Imperial Poetry Office until he decided to become a recluse in 1204. Chōmei's specific reasons for becoming a recluse are unclear, but a string of bad luck the death of his father and his
Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto (Kyoto, Uji and Otsu Cities)
The UNESCO World Heritage Site Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto encompasses 17 locations in Japan within the city of Kyoto and its immediate vicinity. The locations are in three cities: Uji in Kyoto Prefecture. Of the monuments, 13 are Buddhist temples, three are Shinto shrines, one is a castle; the properties include 38 buildings designated by the Japanese government as National Treasures, 160 properties designated as Important Cultural Properties, eight gardens designated as Special Places of Scenic Beauty, four designated as Places of Scenic Beauty. UNESCO listed the site as World Heritage in 1994. Kyoto has a substantial number of historic buildings, unlike other Japanese cities that lost buildings to foreign invasions and war. Although ravaged by wars and earthquakes during its eleven centuries as the imperial capital, Kyoto was spared from much of the destruction and danger of World War II, it was saved from the nearly universal firebombing of large cities in Japan in part to preserve it as the primary atomic bomb target.
It was removed from the atomic bomb target list by the personal intervention of Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson, as Stimson wanted to save this cultural center which he knew from his honeymoon and diplomatic visits; as a result, Nagasaki was added as a target. The 17 properties of the World Heritage Site originate from a period between the 10th century and the 19th century, each is representative of the period in which it was built; the historical importance of the Kyoto region was taken into account by the UNESCO in the selection process. The table lists information about each of the 17 listed properties of the World Heritage Site listing: Name: in English and Japanese Type: Purpose of the site; the list includes 13 Buddhist temples, 3 Shinto shrines, one castle. Period: time period of significance of construction Location: the site's location and by geographic coordinates Description: brief description of the site List of World Heritage Sites in Japan Tourism in Japan Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto - UNESCO World Heritage Centre World Heritage Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto Welcome to Kyoto - World Heritage Map
Tadasu no Mori
Tadasu no Mori, which means "Forest of Correction," is a sacred grove associated with an important Shinto sanctuary complex known in Japanese as the Kamo-jinja, situated near the banks of the Kamo River just north of where the Takano River joins the Kamo River in northeast Kyoto city, Japan. The term Kamo-jinja in Japanese is a general reference to Shimogamo Shrine and Kamigamo Shrine, the traditionally linked Kamo shrines of Kyoto; the Kamo-jinja serve the function of protecting Kyoto from malign influences. The forest encompasses 12.4 hectares, which are preserved as a national historical site. It is today the last remnant of a primeval forest, reputed to have never been burned down; the forest has, in fact, suffered some damage over the centuries when all of Kyoto was burned during successive revolts and wars, but the forest growth has rebounded again and again. The forest is left to grow in its natural state, it is neither pruned. The forest in ancient times comprised 4,950,000 square meters of virgin forest.
Due to wars during the Middle Ages and an edict in the 4th year of the Meiji era, it was reduced to its present area of 124,000 square meters. The wooded area, called by the name Tadasu-no-mori today lies on the grounds of Shimogamo Shrine, one of the seventeen historical sites in and around Kyoto which in 1994 were designated by UNESCO as Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto. GoJapanGo.com: Shimogamo Shrine Nelson, John K.. Enduring Identities: The Guise of Shinto in Contemporary Japan. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press. ISBN 978-0-8248-2259-0 Terry, Thomas Philip.. Terry's Japanese empire: including Korea and Formosa, with chapters on Manchuria, the Trans-Siberian railway, the chief ocean routes to Japan. New York: Houghton Mifflin. OCLC 2832259 Shimogamo Shrine website