Japan: Where Gods Aren’t Gods and Worshipers Aren’t Religious (Shinto Explained)

Japan: Where Gods Aren’t Gods and Worshipers Aren’t Religious (Shinto Explained)

Hello World. If you’ve ever been to Japan or
watched anime or dramas, You might have come across gates like these. They come in all shapes and sizes, but what are they? They’re torii, which are the entrances to jinja and jinja are sacred spaces and the seats of kami. OK, so those are three new terms to learn. Luckily, our guide today, David Chart happens to write just a little bit about
Shinto traditional practices. And before you start furiously typing in the comments about why I chose to interview some
random British dude about Shinto, Chāto-san is actually a naturalized Japanese, works as the English translator for Jinja Honchō, the Association of Shinto Shrines, and writes extensively about Shinto
on his blog Mimusubi. So like I said, he knows a little bit. OK, so, the torii is the gates that
you see all over the place and for the rest, well, why don’t we go inside and have a look around. That’ll make it easier. Sure, I think one question that viewers might have is can anyone off the street just walk on in? Yeah, you don’t need an appointment to go and visit a jinja and you can just go in as you’re going past. OK, let’s go! three steps later So, the torii marks the outer boundary of the sacred space. So this is a good place to straighten
your tie and get ready to go in. Most people bow slightly before
they pass through the torii. It’s a natural way to express respect for the kami. OK, so now we’re in the sacred space, but I’ve noticed that inside of a torii, there’s a wide variety of settings. Like for example at one, they have a playground where kids are playing. And another one seems to be popular with office space
workers where they go there for their lunch break, eating like onigiri. Right, inside the sacred space you
have to show respect for the kami, but playing and eating are not
necessarily disrespectful. Leaving litter would be, and some larger jinja ask you not
to eat inside to avoid the litter. If you’re at the jinja to pay respects to the kami, You follow the sacred path, sandō in Japanese,
up to the sanctuaries. The custom is to walk along one side,
rather than up the center. Some people say that’s because the center
is reserved for the kami. I’ve actually made a video about how in Japan,
you usually walk on the left-hand side, just like when you’re driving,
you drive on the left-hand side. When you’re at a jinja, does that same general rule apply? No, not really. If the jinja’s not really busy, it doesn’t
really matter which side you walk up. If the jinja is busy, you just follow the flow of people. So… no, no real rule about it. But, as you can see here, the handrail is at the center of the stairs, which makes it natural to walk on one side or the other. So one thing that seems to be a common
feature is climbing up stairs. What’s up with that? It’s true. A lot of jinja are built on higher ground. I think it’s to do with the separation of the kami
and the sacred space. So a lot of jinja do have a flight
of stairs up to the sanctuaries. Fortunately these days, almost all jinja
have another way to get there. At this one, you can go along the road over there,
and come in at the back through the car park. Hmm… OK, that’s good to know. And right here, we’re actually at a water station. So, what’s up with this water station? This is for purifying ourselves. So purification, called “oharai” or “misogi”,
is a very important part of Shinto. And you’re definitely supposed to purify yourself
before you go and pay your respects to the kami. In fact, some priests have told me, that if you don’t purify yourself,
they would prefer you not to come at all. It’s like taking your shoes off before you go into a Japanese home.
You’re not supposed to bring dirt in with you. Now, I wouldn’t like to say that taking your shoes off
before you go into a home is part of Shinto, but they’re definitely related. So, to purify yourself, you take
the ladle in your right hand. Fill it with water. Pour a little over your left hand to rinse it. Over your right hand… Pour a bit into your left hand. Rinse your mouth. Then, rinse your left hand again. And use the remaining water to rinse the ladle,
before you put it back. That’s interesting, because, you did it really nicely. I’ve noticed that not everyone does it
just in the same manner that you did? Right, the official way to do it is a little bit complicated, and not all the Japanese people remember it. As long as your rinse both hands and your mouth,
and you don’t put your mouth to the ladle, that’s good enough to keep the priests happy. – So, another torii, so I normally bow again.
– OK. And you don’t have to do that if there’s
a whole tunnel of torii though. OK, that’s good to know, because I’ve
seen those tunnels of torii, and I always thought, like do you have to bow at each one? – That would be a lot of bowing.
– Yeah. Um… OK, we’ve washed up, what do we do next? Well, next, we go to the prayer hall,
which is just over there to pay our respects to the kami. OK. So, people normally pay their respects
just in front of the prayer hall, where there’s a box for offerings
and often a bell with a rope. You shake the rope to ring the bell,
and you throw your offering into the box. It really doesn’t matter which order you do that in. So, my daughter and I, we used to watch this anime
called Noragami. Which means, as you know, stray kami. So instead of a stray cat, it’s a kami without a home. And one of his things, was that he would grant any wish. [phone ringing] Hello! Thank you for calling! Fast, affordable, and reliable!
Delivery God Yato, at your service! But even though he was desperate for cash,
he was a homeless kami after all, he would do it all for a 5 yen coin. You’re a god, right? Help me! Money. You charge money?! It’ll cost ya this much. 50,000?! 500,000?! I’m a god, remember?! And everyone knows you’re
supposed to offer 5-yen coins to gods! Your wish… … has been heard loud and clear! Right. 5 yen is a really popular offering at a jinja, because the Japanese for 5 yen, goen, sounds exactly like the Japanese
for honourable connection. So it gives you a good link to the kami. The priests really don’t mind what you offer,
as long as it’s not 1 yen coins, because they’re
really annoying to count. OK, so that sounds a bit different than
the Christian churches I’m used to because I remember their offerings being
just a little bit larger. This is largely symbolic. Obviously the priests
don’t mind if you offer more money. But if you’re going to make a larger offering, you’d usually receive an omamori, or just
give the money directly to the priests. The money that you put into the box… … is symoblic. It’s another form of purification. Ringing the bell is the same. They’re both ways of further purifying yourself
before you pay your respects to the kami. Let’s pay our respects. Up to the bell rope. Ring the bell. Put the money into the offering box. Bow twice. Clap twice. Bow once. And we’re done. We should leave this way, so that we don’t
turn our back directly to the kami. And going this way takes us to the jinja office,
where we can get omamori. Omamori are amulets. They’re a way of taking part of the power of
the kami with you, when you leave the jinja. You make an offering of a few hundred yen, a few dollars,
and the priests give you the omamori. Now there are a lot of different kinds of
omamori for different requests. For example, this one is for safe child birth. This one is for pets. This one’s for work. And all the different types of omamori
have an appropriate offering noted. So, you make the offering, receive your omamori, and
take it away with you when you leave the jinja. OK. So you taught me a lot about jinja, but what about kami? Ah, now that’s a big question. We should probably go and sit down to talk about that. finding a place to sit Well, it’s a big question, but actually, it’s a lot less important
than you might think. Shinto is much more about what you
do then about what you believe. This is why the priests really care that you use the correct etiquette when you
come to pay your respects to the kami. That’s why we introduced the etiquette in so much detail. They really don’t care very much about what you believe. They will welcome people of any religion
to come and pay their respects to the kami. Now, a devout Christian might not want to pay their respects
at a jinja because they might think it’s against their religion. But the priests leave that up to the individual. Now, of course, people do believe things about the kami. For example, there are said to be 8 million of them. Wow! It turns out there are a lot of kami. But 8 million? That’s not an exact number. Nobody thinks
there are actually 8 million kami. It just means a large number, a fortunate number, of kami. And if we look at one of the most popular definitions
of kami, we can see why there are so many. “Kami” refers first of all to those kami
mentioned in the ancient legends, and to spirits enshrined at jinja, but also to human beings, and animals, birds, and plants, or seas, mountains, and similar that are unusual
and outside the normal range of such things. This does not just mean the venerable,
virtuous, or beneficial, but also includes things that are remarkable
for being evil or uncanny. All these things are called “kami”. That definition is from Moto’ori Norinaga, a scholar who lived about two hundred years ago. And on that definition, Mt Fuji, the
physical mountain itself, is a kami, and there are some practitioners of Shinto, and some
priests, who follow that definition. Obviously, in this sense at least some kami exist. Similarly, remarkable people are kami, while still being human. There are people today who think that the Tennō,
the Japanese emperor, is a kami, but they also think that he is a human being,
and in that sense just the same as them. If we approach things this way, then “kami” is more
like “big” or “red” than it is like “human” or “dog”. It is a feature that things of many kinds can have,
rather than a kind of thing. However, the practice of Shinto treats kami as invisible
spirits who can hear and respond to prayers. These spirits might be the spirits of natural things,
like mountains or trees, or the spirits of ancestors. They can also be spirits of other types. There is a jinja in Nara, Tamakazura Jinja, where the kami is a fictional character from the Tale of Genji, a novel written about a thousand years ago. OK, we went pretty deep there. Before speaking with you, I never realized
there were so many kami out there. Now, I think onsen are quite spectacular. Are they kami? Yes, they are. Onsen, hot springs, that’s what onsen means. They’re out of the ordinary run of springs
because they come out of the ground hot. People like them, so they’re a blessing, yes, they’re kami. If you take the first view, then the spring itself, is a kami. If you take the second view, then there
is a kami who is the spirit of the spring. You probably noticed when you’ve been
to onsen, that the proper onsen, have a continuous flow of hot water through them. The springs comes out into the pool and then flows out again. But even so, you’re expected to wash
before you get into the onsen. And even when there’s nowhere to actually wash, you’re expected to rinse yourself off with water from the spring before you get in. And, now I’m not sure about this, but I think that may be a sign of purifying yourself before you interact with the kami. It’s a way of showing respect to
the kami of the hot springs. OK, so as long as you wash yourself first
the kami don’t mind you jumping inside of them? That’s right. OK, note taken. Um, but to get serious again. From your explanation, the definition of kami it doesn’t really seem like what I think of as a god. Right. God is a terrible translation of kami,
they’re really very different. Even if you use spirit, that’s a bit too much of the
second definition, which not everyone accepts. So, I just don’t translate the word. – Is there anything that people agree about?
– Oh yes! People agree that you should treat the kami with respect. So, if you visit a jinja, you should pay your respects to the kami first, before you
do your sightseeing and your tourist photography. It shows respect for both the kami and the priests, and the priests at least, definitely notice. OK, so when I was a kid, I used to go to church on most Sundays, that I remember. Do people in Japan visit jinja regularly? Very few people go that often. But about 70% of the population visit
a jinja at New Year for Hatsumōdë. Hatsumōdë, the first visit to a jinja or Buddhist
temple in a year, is a very popular custom. Millions of people line up at jinja across the country
just before midnight on New Year’s Eve, ready to pay their respects, draw a fortune, and maybe receive
amulets or similar to get the kami’s favour for the new year. Meiji Jingū, in Tokyo, is visited by about three million people
over the first three days of the year, every year. Even a local jinja in an urban area,
like the one we visited earlier in this video, can expect well over ten thousand. Out in rural areas, every single person
in the village might attend. Most people also take their children to a
jinja soon after birth for Hatsumiyamairi, and at the ages of three, five, and seven for Shichigosan. I’ve actually done this with my children.
his is what I was told about it. Shichigosan is formally a prayer of thanks
that the child has safely reached their age, and a request for their healthy growth in the future. In practice, it is often a family celebration, with the
children dressed up in spectacular rented kimono. Traditionally, it happened on November 15th,
but these days it happens at weekends, when the whole family has time off work, any time from late October to early December. If you visit a jinja at those times, you have a very
good chance of seeing at least one family. People also go to attend the regular
matsuri at their local jinja. Strictly speaking, a matsuri is any ceremony
held to one of the kami. But for most people, it means the big event
held with maybe portable jinja, maybe dancing, and definitely food stands. Remember I said that eating and playing were
not necessarily disrespectful of the kami? Well, a lot of that goes on at matsuri. A few matsuri are enormous,
and extremely famous. The Gion Matsuri in Kyoto, for example,
lasts for the whole of July, and includes multiple parades, and is listed
by UNESCO as intangible World Heritage. Most local matsuri happen on a single day,
and are only attended by people from the area, but many of them are recognised as being culturally
important by some level of government. The sacred dances at Shirahata Hachiman Daijin,
for example, are registered as important folk customs
by the city of Kawasaki. People also go to jinja with particular requests. They might just make the requests while paying
their respects, like we saw earlier. or they might ask the priests for a more formal prayer, which is conducted inside the prayer hall. For those you normally need to offer at least 5,000 yen. So where are we now? Well, different jinja have reputations
for different sorts of benefits. And right now, we’re at Yushima Tenjin, in Tokyo. This is a Tenjin jinja, and it’s very
famous for academic success. Tenjin jinja are all famous for academic success, but this one is particularly famous because
it’s very close to Tokyo University, the most famous university in Japan. Every year many people, particularly teenagers,
come here to pray for success in examinations. Particularly entrance examinations. They have lots, and lots, and lots of study amulets, including little packs of pencils that you
can use to take your exams with. Upon learning this, I took it upon myself to buy an ema, which is a wooden plaque you can write wishes on. Using my excellent penmanship, I crafted
this incredibly original message. Nihongo ga jōzu ni narimasu yō ni. I wish to get better at Japanese. Okay! There you go! After learning about all the ways that Shinto
is a part of the everyday lives of Japanese, is it fair to say that Japanese are religious? No, we wouldn’t say that. Only 3% of Japanese claim to be Shinto. Only 36% claim to have any religion at all,
and most of them are Buddhist. It’s kind of the opposite of the U.K., where about 70% of
people say they’re Christian and about 3% go to church. In Japan, about 3% say they’re Shinto
and about 70% go to jinja. How does that work? So many Japanese people going to jinja, yet so few stating that they are Shinto? Most people don’t think about the activities
that you do at a jinja as a religion. It’s just part of Japanese culture. In that way it’s quite similar to say,
kabuki, or the tea ceremony. You have to do the right sort of things,
you have to treat it with respect, it’s important, but not necessarily a religion. Even Shinto priests are often quite reluctant
to describe Shinto as a religion. Yeah, I think Westerners would have a hard time
understanding how going to a sacred place and praying for benefits, is not religious. It’s inscrutable. Now obviously, in some senses, Shinto is a religion, but it’s not very similar to the way that
religion is thought of in the West. It’s not an identity. It’s something you do, it’s not something you are. If you’re a Shinto priest, then you
might well do it a lot of the time. But even then, you might also follow another
religion, particularly Buddhism. It just doesn’t work the same way as it does in the West. Oh, OK. So then that’s something
I actually like about Shinto then, that’s it’s judging me based on my actions, not on my faith. It’s nice to know that people, no matter
their beliefs, can participate. Yes, Shinto is possibly the most open and welcoming
part of traditional Japanese culture. Priests at all jinja would be delighted to see foreigners
who came to visit and pay their respects correctly. Especially if they have that 5 yen coin. Ah, quite. OK. I didn’t screw that up after all. – OK, and then it’s just my… plug for you, essentially.
– Yes. – Yes.
– Hahahaha. Yes, gotta get, gotta get that right. Don’t
screw that up, that’s really important. I’d like to give a special thanks to David Chart for
giving us that great beginner’s guide to Shinto. Now he also writes for his own website, called Mimusubi. It’s an excellent resource in English about Shinto. So if you’re interested in Shinto,
I highly recommend going there. Thanks for watching, see you next time, bye!
Where you’re from, what traditional practices do you follow? Tourist snapshots at jinja are fine. However, you should
really get permission for anything commercial or on YouTube, which we received thanks to: Shirahata Hachiman Daijin
Yushima Tenjin At Yushima Tenjin, petting the cow (nade-ushi)
is said to improve your luck. OK, and then I’ll be a really pain in the
butt and say one more time. Oh, proper direction. Oh, kawaii!

About the author


  1. Special thanks to David Chart for explaining the ins and outs of Shinto. Find out more about Shinto on his blog at https://www.mimusubi.com/ and support his writing on Patreon at https://www.patreon.com/mimusubi. NOTE: David didn't spit back into the purification font (what I called the water station). He spit the water outside of it into the drain. Also, the water is constantly replenished, so it's not standing water.

  2. Ok so kami are not Gods (I kind of got that before) but I often hear the term kami-sama, this does actually mean God right? Also when I hear kami-sama so often in anime for example, does that mean that some non-christian Japanese believe in a kind of monotheistic God? Or is it more like a figure of speech? I guess it's more the latter.

  3. I'm an American Christian. When I get into unspoiled nature I have a gut level response to it. It is a feeling of wonder, peace, joy, and gratitude, mixed in differing proportions depending on the thing that brought it on. Simple domestic things like clean sheets and a pillow case can stir up a response in me as well. My religious beliefs lead me to believe that I am responding to various types of blessings provided by the one and only God who is spoken of in the bible. I agree with the Japanese that there are things that touch us internally that are more than the tangible things we associate them with. Most cultures recognize these emotional responses and have some type of formal, or semi-formal system to honor them. Christianity does not address many of these specific things, but we can see in the bible how past believers spoke about being blessed by objects that made their lives more comfortable. For instance, Elijah was touched by the room that a woman set up for him to stay in when he passed through her town. I would not honor the clean sheets, or the beautiful view, but I would thank God for them, and try to protect the view, and to do my laundry more often.

  4. Japan will continually sink into oblivion until they become believers of the only real Faith that means life. Jesus Christ is the only way

  5. Shinto is deep in the hearts of Japanese people.
    What is eight million gods (yaoyorozu no kami)?
    God dwells in everything, even the stones on the roadside. Such an idea.

    When you try to violate people or things,
    Good because no one is watching. Not.
    Otentosama (god of the sun) is looking at you.
    It is a commandment for yourself.

    There is such a way of thinking in Shinto.

  6. Still it's too superstitious for me. I mean whatever floats their boat, but I will stick with methodological naturalism. Much much better than Islam or Christianity but still a lie.

  7. This was very informative. I'm going to Japan for the first time in 5 weeks and I hesitated about doing those things at a jinja, I didn't want to seem disrespectful or just doing it for the likes. Thank you!

  8. The purification of the shinto looks like the wudhu in islam. Islam do the wudhu before entering the mosque and before the praying.

  9. Seems like "fairy" would be the closest English analogue of "kame".

    … is his tie tucked into his pants? Is that something people do?

  10. he didn't get japanese instead of british dude just to explain about shinto because japanese discard some english vowels in their hiragana, katakana and kanji languages. Which in term makes it easy to understand in english language.

  11. but you must obey left hand rule as per buddhisam left circle in clock wise diraection around stupa or mountain is authenticate or allowed.

  12. I noticed when I was in Narita airport walking on the left side wasn’t practiced very much either LOL.
    But I love Japan and the people there , I’ve never felt more welcome. Everyone I talked to and asked questions and directions from went above and beyond what I expected from them. I can’t wait to go back , and I definitely plan on going back this year.

  13. Take your shoes off because that’s what good hygiene calls for. Do you know what you step on outside? No but it’s gross. And you bring that where you live? Ew

  14. In Christianity church buildings are only to accommodate humans to give them a place to worship God. Then a church is not a building but a community or an assembly of believers see.

    Acts 17:v24 The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by hands.
    25 Nor is He served by human hands, as if He needed anything, since He Himself gives to everyone life and breath and all things. 26 From one He made every nation of men to live on the face of the earth, having set appointed times and the boundaries of their territory. 27 They were to search for Him, and perhaps grope around for Him and find Him. Yet He is not far from each one of us,

    Then in Judaism the Levites were given a tenth because all the other tribes inherited land, but the Levites they were priest their inheritance was the priesthood so they were not given land. Then offerings were not made for a prayer, but for sin , purification, burnt, and annual offerings. Though none of this was for a prayer, you could just pray anywhere at anytime no matter where it would be granted. In fact praying in public places so to be seen of man(to appear devout) is not encouraged but Yeshua says go pray into a closet where you can't be seen. Then in Judaism there were feastivals in some offerings were just feast people gathered to and they would eat their own offerings at a holy designated place. Now Gentile forms of Christianity split off from a more Messainic Judaism so they created their own holy days and things. The Jewish Temple of course is not like pagan Temples it was the place where the offerings were offered and where God spoke through the Ark of the Covenant but God didn't live in the Ark. a holy instrument.

  15. Thank you for the very informative video. I've had the pleasure of visiting JAPAN a few times. I'm sure this video will be very helpful on my next trip. Now I will be able to under stand the proper etiquette when visiting Shinto Shrines (Jinja)

  16. ⛩ Torii ⛩
    The remarkable elements of Nature, Kami, hence kamikaze, a remarkable wind.
    Wishing Wells and Wishing Trees. 💚🇷🇴 Where there are witches 🧙‍♀️

  17. I think a good example in the West of sort of "religious" activity that one doesn't necessarily have to be religious to participate in, is the celebration of holidays like Christmas, Easter and Halloween.

  18. Corrections and additional information. I'm Japanese and an atheist but I have enough knowledge about Shinto/Jinja cuz I've been get used to it.

    * You have to mention about Shinto/Jinja and cannabis/hemp. it's still used in Jinja and Shinto related writings, but after WW2 and during the Allied Force Occupation, GHQ stigmatized it for the US cigarette industry.

    * 1 Yen or not offering coin is okay but the tourists from outside community should do more, especially at such small Jinja., 5 Yen or whatever you can offer.

    * Ringing the bell is said to be to wake up Kami.

    * The manners "bow twice, clap twice and bow once" were decided in Meiji to Shouwa(pre WW2) time, so it's a very recent thing. In most Jinja, it's okay in that manners, but some other Jinja, clap three times or four times is considered to be proper manners. Ise grand Shrine, the priest claps 8 times, and Izumo Grand Shrine, even the ordinal prayer claps 4 times. And There are some Jinja you shouldn't clap remain.
    * Yaoyorozu is literally 8 million but it actually means countless or myriad in English. It's similar to Spinoza's pantheism and ubiquitism. In other words the concept can be "natural law".
    * I agree God is terrible translation of Kami. And also, Emperor is confusing translation of Tennou 🙂
    * And one more thing: this might be disturbing but Jinja Honchou (the group David belongs) has caused some troubles. search yourself if you're interested.
    * Oh, one more last thing: We Japanese hate to be pressed religion you believe, especially if it has exclusive doctrine like if you don't believe God, you go to hell lol

  19. Similar to atheists, they claim to be Christian but don't go to Church nor do they follow any of Christian teachings. They do however follow atheistic teachings and worship it yet don't claim to be atheists. It's their actions, not what they are? What you are is defined by your actions.

  20. 3:45 oharai/ misogi – so……. you f*cking spit into the water where everyone ladels water from to wash their hands and rinse their mouth?
    jesus f*cking christ…

  21. Just here to say because I haven't seen anyone else. You don't need to live in Japan to believe in shintoism or worship kami. Anyone can including myself.

  22. What kind of Japanese bird has two eye?

    …. Torii

    Yes that is bad but not as bad as this one…

    Where did the two birds buy there furniture?

    ….. NITORI

  23. I find Shintoism very similar to the worship of "Nat" in my country, Myanmar. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nat_(spirit)

  24. I am place called Perth, small regional city. As Australia call it regional apparently. I believe in anything(s) like GOD, BUDDHA, Japanese religious beliefs like Shinto, Islam, Muslim, Christian, 7 day Adventist, Sincncetology and other man/women religious beliefs or man made. I don't believe in any GODs higher or lower than that or BUDDHAs. Everyone can and will attain wisdom plus enlightened one or awaken one. There are many GODS but there are many more Buddha's. Buddha means enlightened one or awake one or awake one. Buddha will have like unlimited times unlimited. GODs will have unlimited times nearly unlimited. People can call unlimited/infinity/countless/limitless/never-ending and/or others examples.

    Thank you for your service and understand ing and videos. I have made plenty of mistakes in the comments. Man we are not perfect all. We are all learning from our past mistakes, don't forget that and people will forget. I am just a human living on Earth. But will say this world is not permanent. Japan, China, Korea, Taiwan, Burma formally known (Myanmar currently known), Tibet formally known (China currently known), Sri Lanka, Part of India, Nepal, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and other nations with a few Buddhism religious beliefs. The reason why I stated these is just an example of Buddhism. People can believe in any beliefs but can be anything or anyone or believe in yourself or believe in GODS or believe in awaken one or enlightened one or nothing.

    I want to travel the world for harmony and peace globally.

    But that is almost impossible to do and complete. But when there is hell or hellish or people know it but hides the truth this person will cause more suffering than good and we must have our inner peace or no more negative thoughts, actions, speech, words and karma (known as cause and effect globally such as when a person breaks the cup accidentally look the good side and never look the bad, unles you need to know the truth of life then view it. Liberate this attachments forever, nothing last forever in this world or next. We need to focus the time now, not dwell the past or future.

  25. It really is hard to wrap your brain around the fact that Shinto isn't a religion. It's so ingrained in me in the west to think this way… but I personally hate organized religion so I'm happy to learn this. Great video! Very informative.

  26. The Torii gates are truly gateways that lead to a sacred space, but there's more to it than that. This other sacred space is on another dimensional plane of existence. It truly leads to the land of the Gods/Kami. It is a pristine space of nature untouched by man.

  27. I think this could be classified as religious practice and if not religious, then it falls into the category of cultural tradition. It really has to be one of those two. It is most likely up to the individual to decide which they are doing by participating. To say it has no rules is a bit of a paradox as it at least has one, the rule that there are no rules. One may be able to argue that this is a type of superstition, like walking under a ladder is bad luck, or a four leaf clover brings good luck. I would still say that this involves a belief that is not a theory and is not based on evidence which therefor falls into the category of spirituality/religion or culture. For example, lets say you avoid walking under a ladder due to the well known superstition. You do so for one of two reason. You do it because it is what you grew up observing others either saying or doing so you do it too. It's your culture. The other option is that you believe that walking under this ladder will bring you misfortune. It's your belief thus it falls into the category of spiritually/religion. Maybe this is too simple an explanation but I believe it to be a better explanation of what they are practicing here.

  28. From what I understand, the issue is that the Japanese idea of "religion" is specific to the west—an organized faith with a strong insistence on faith and loyalty to the faith. The closest thing to that in Japan is Buddhism, hence why only Buddhists consider themselves as part of a religion, while Shintoists don't.

  29. The official forgotten way to purify is Ghusl(BATH) and WUDU(Washing face hand mouth headmsg washing feet) as we muslims do in Islam

  30. So what comes to my mind is the difference in "Orthopraxy" and "Orthodoxy" – the first one is all about the rites, they have to be done correctly in order to "work" – the ancient Romans also committed Orthopraxy. While e.g. Christianity is essentially about what you believe, it's Orthodoxy. The belief and intention has to be right in order for a prayer to be valid.
    I am a Christian but I really admire the beauty, respect and calmness that seems to accompany the jinja. I am also a big fan of traditional Japanese Architecture.

  31. Thank you. I always enjoy your video. Did you know Buddhism and Shinto were merged for over 1,000 years in Japan? Check out the concept of Shinbutsu-shugo. A Shinto shrine was found on a Buddhist temple ground and vice verse. Only at the time of Meiji restoration, the two religions were separated by law. Shinto is very open as you said. But so is Buddhism. Within Buddhism many foreign religious deities have been incorporated through out 2600 years of its history, like Hindu gods and the sacred being in Taoism. So the two merged in Japan after Buddhism arrived in Japan. As a result, so many sacred being have been celebrated in Japan at either Buddhist temple or Shinto shrine. Many many Matsuri!!

  32. god of Bathroom
    god of Headphones
    god of Smartphone
    god of The Internet
    god of Clothing
    god of Shoes
    god of glasses
    That is the idea.

  33. Yao Yorozu no kami 八百万の神
    The forgiving idea that god is abundant in everything in nature
    god is all over the world

  34. Of course the interpretation that kami have real spirits associated to it is false because…

    …jinjas have no soul.

    (Sorry, I tried to resist for a long time, I swear.)

  35. The title of the video makes sense, religion is man made and any god's that you cannot have a mutual relationship with are clearly false gods.

  36. It is certainly strange to understand Shinto especially when approaching it from a religious frame of mind. Just another one of those things which makes Japanese culture so awesome. I can also say many of my Protestant friends would have no qualms in performing Shinto rituals, as there is nothing about it which would contradict their religious beliefs. Very cool.

  37. Traditional practices in America? Well it's considered proper etiquette to make an "arm pump" motion, when farting. Unless it's in your friends face. Then you use the palm to grab the back of their head and place it into your grundle.

  38. Where I'm from in Australia, religion isn't very important to daily life. Traditions associated with Christianity like Easter and Christmas are participated in by most Australians – but as with Japan, observing these occasions is more about cultural tradition than it is about religion.
    Slightly more than 50% of Australians identified as Christian in the last national census, but the numbers of people expressing no religion was 30% and rising quite rapidly.

  39. Hi. I'm a Christian, and I've learned so much from this comments section. Thank you so much, everyone of all faiths and traditions who commented. You've taught me a lot (more than most of Youtube has). I would like to share, in this discussion, about the fascinating phenomenon of the Celtic Christians. Christian missionaries came to the Celtic people and proselytized. However, they did it how perhaps few if none in history had ever done before. They first took time to understand their traditions and culture, and THEN shared the truths and teaching about Jesus. As a result, they did become Christian, but they preserved their culture, traditions, way of life, and their holidays. I think that's beautiful. As a Christian, personally, I want you, the stranger, to know the truth about Jesus and potentially follow him, however, I want nothing to do with destroying your culture or traditions, wherever you may be from. And as it is, God teaches me in the Bible that it is not my job to make you follow Jesus or become a Christian. My job is to tell you who he is, how great he is, how he can save you, and how you can get to know him and experience life and life abundant (that means here on earth as well as heaven). Beyond that, I'm told to unconditionally love you and be your friend.

  40. One of the best 'everyday' Japanese culture channels out there. You're making such a definite impact on other humans around the world, inspiring them in ways you can't even imagine whilst teaching and entertaining them. Can't ask for more than that in life, can you? Thank you again.

  41. if almost as if buddha never claimed to be a deity and that people shouldn't worship him, but you know them silly humans. silly dumb humans.

  42. You can understand sh into without being Japanese, there's these things called books, internet, and courses that teach religious history.

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