Essentials Of Shinto

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Shinto is finally receiving the attention it deserves as a fundamental component of Japanese culture. Nevertheless, it remains a remarkably complex and elusive phenomenon to which Western categories of religion do not readily apply. A knowledge of Shinto can only proceed from a basic understanding of Japanese shrines and civilization, for it is closely intermingled with the Japanese way of life and continues to be a vital natural religion. This book is a convenient guide to Shinto thought.

As a reference work, the volume does not offer a detailed critical study of all aspects of Shinto. Instead, it overviews the essential teachings of Shinto and provides the necessary cultural and historical context for understanding Shinto as a dynamic force in Japanese civilization. The book begins with an historical overview of Shinto, followed by a discussion of Japanese myths. The volume then discusses the role of shrines, which are central to Shinto rituals. Other portions of the book discuss the various Shinto sects and the evolution of Shinto from the Heian period to the present. Because Japanese terms are central to Shinto, the work includes a glossary.

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Editorial Reviews

Reference on the essentials of Shinto. The format includes an initial historical overview of key aspects of Shinto to provide a general framework of understanding. Then it addresses the Japanese myths, their content, and controversies about interpretation, including the sensitive issue of the relationship between mythology and politics in modern Japan. Part I concludes with a discussion of Imperial Household Shinto rites as they are still performed. Part II examines Shrine Shinto, the Shinto of local shrine life, festivals, and the priesthood. Part III addresses the various types of Sect Shinto. Part IV offers a reference base on Shinto thought, concluding with some personal observations of comparison and contrast with Western thought. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

Meet the Author

STUART D. B. PICKEN is Professor of Philosophy at International Christian University in Tokyo, where he specializes in ethics and Japanese thought. He is also an adviser on international affairs for the High Priest of the Tsubaki Grand Shrine, and was formerly Director of the Centre for Japanese Studies and Visiting Professor of Japanese Thought at the University of Stirling. He has published more than half a dozen books and some 130 articles and papers.

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Table of Contents

Guide to Romanization of Japanese Words



History And Mythology

Historical Aspects of the Development of Shinto


Imperial Household Shinto

Jinja Shinto

Shrines and Kami

Shrine Buildings (Jinja Shaden)

Rituals, Festivals (Matsuri), Liturgies (Norito), and thue Shinto Priesthood

Shinto Sects

Kyoha (Sect) and Tswzoku (Folk) Shinto

Shinto and the New Religions

Shinto Thought

Academic Shinto

Shinto Ideas and Western Thought

Glossary of Japanese Terms and Expressions

Select Bibliography and Research Resources in English


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