Key Terms on Shinto

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Department
Religion
Course
RLGA01H3
Professor
Henry Shiu
Semester
Summer

Description
Key Terms for the Lecture on Shinto: 1. Shinto: The way of the gods. Here, gods refer to Japans spirits (kami). No known person or group as its founder. Its mysterious origins date back to the ancient people of Japan and their stories of how the world came into being. The people of the Japanese islands lived close to nature, and Shinto as a religion reflects that reality in its worship of the spirits who are believed to inhabit the natural world. It is more than a nature religion, however. It also has ethnic and family dimensions. The spirits that are worshipped include the spirits of departed family members, distant ancestors of ones clan, great leaders, and so on. 2. Kami: The spirits that animate all living things, natural phenomenon & natural forces. Shrines were built to accommodate their presence during rituals. Kami are the spirits of the mountains, rivers, seas, islands, forests; deified clan ancestors; deceased emperors, saints, heroes. Kami are thought of almost universally as invisible presences, not to be portrayed. 3. Izanami: Similar to other creation myths, in the beginning there was primeval chaos, which came to be populated by several generations of kami. Two of these kami, Izanami and Izanagi, became the cosmic parents who created the first islands of Japan. They gave birth to additional kami, many of them nature deities. 4. Izanagi: Sim
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