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Christianity in Japan

berean_315

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Hello,

I know the population of Christians in Japan is very, very small (less than 1% I think). I would like to hear any experiences from Japanese Christians living in Japan.

ツ、ツ「ツ、テェツ、ツャツ、テ按、ツヲツ。ツ」

ツ・ツクツ・ツァツ・テゥツ・テォツ・テ
 

thomas

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Me too! I've devoured most of Shusaku Endo's books, now I just started to read Ikuo Higashibaba's "Christianity in Early Modern Japan - Kirishitan Belief & Practice" published by Brill in Leiden. I would really like to know more about modern practice.
 

Sekabin

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christian japanese

I'm no expert on this (although I am a sociologist researching religion :sick: ), so I'd like to know more too. Still, I have noticed that many of the Japanese who study at my university here in the UK are Christians... not sure if that's purely subjective or not. I was wondering if there's any link between religion and education - as education is so important in Japan...
 

thomas

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Originally posted by Sekabin
I was wondering if there's any link between religion and education - as education is so important in Japan...

You are touching on an interesting topic here.

I would like to know how many of them are recent converts and how many belong to the "endemic" kirishitan community. Also, in the first case what's their motivation to convert?

Just found this page that partly answers my question:

Among Christians in Japan, it was estimated that there were 440,000 Catholics and around 1 million Protestants as of the end of 1994.

=> http://www.jinjapan.org/today/culture/culture1.html

I assume that the relatively high number of protestants can be accounted to active evangelical missionizing after WWII.

A Japanese perspective:

Why are there very few Christians in Japan?

Japanese is not familiar with the idea of unique God who creates the world itself. In fact, Hakuseki Arai who is famous scholar in Edo period pointed out it is very strange that western people believe in God who created the world though they had much knowledge about world. For western people it may natural to image God to create the world as the cause of it itself but for Japanese it is very strange, because for them the world should grow by itself.

And also Japanese dislike the God who excludes other gods because this exclusionism will cause trouble among people. Japanese people respect the spirit of WA (harmony) which avoids trouble. I guess it is the most important reason why Christianity is not accepted in Japan. Many Japanese people considered the cause of civil wars found in our world is the difference of religions as well as that of race. I do not think the idea of God is not the cause of civil wars but think, on the other hand, Christian people as well as Muslim should be more tolerant to others.

=> http://www.oct-net.ne.jp/~iwatanrk/e-WHYre.htm
 

Maciamo

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Last December, some fundamentalist-proselytist-sect-like Christian group was delivering some message in loudspeakers in Japanese about Jesus being (re)born in the streets of Ginza. I found that they were disturbing the usually peaceful astmosphere and the way they spoke, like indoctrinated machines repeating endlessly the same message during hours and standing with people carrying loudspeakers at every street corner, was spooky !

The scary things with Japanese Christians is that they are mostly new converts and thus more fanatics than most Western Christian, who are Christian by tradition or just because of their family rather than by choice. I don't know any Japanese Xian, but I know a few Koreans who are (both catholics and protestants). I was flabbergatsed to hear that they didn't want to enter a traditional temple of their country because it was Buddhist and they were Christians. It's rather alarming that these young people should be so intolerant just because they were so indocrinated by missionaries (my friends weren't born Christian, but converted in their teens or early twenties).
 

kirei_na_me

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Yikes. That is scary. I can't believe that they are blasting about Jesus through loudspeakers in Japan. Gah, that is just plain weird. I guess it's just because I can't really see Japanese doing something like that...

Anyway, one of my Japanese friends is a Christian and she goes to a Baptist church there in her town in Japan. I'm thinking, "BAPTISTS?! In Japan?!" Anyway, when I was asking her about her thoughts on Buddhism, she told me I was crazy for wanting to know about it, because it was stupid. I was again shocked by that type of response.
 

berean_315

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I have noticed that many of the Japanese who study at my university here in the UK are Christians...

I wonder how they would define Christian? I know a while back (maybe now as well) I read it was fashionable for Japanese to have a "Christian" style wedding (even though they weren't Christian), and many times they would also have a Buddhist or Shinto ceremony. So I don't know if becoming a Christian also has some type of "fad" appeal, or is a true conversion.

Last December, some fundamentalist-proselytist-sect-like Christian group was delivering some message in loudspeakers in Japanese about Jesus being (re)born in the streets of Ginza. I found that they were disturbing the usually peaceful astmosphere and the way they spoke, like indoctrinated machines repeating endlessly the same message during hours and standing with people carrying loudspeakers at every street corner, was spooky !

I am a Christian, but personally do not like this type of activity. If someone from another religious faith was doing the same thing it wouldn't appeal to me.

Just curious, are other religious groups visible in Japan (Buddhist, Muslims, etc) preaching, passing out literature, etc. in public?

Thanks,

Gerald
 

Maciamo

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Originally posted by berean_315
I wonder how they would define Christian? I know a while back (maybe now as well) I read it was fashionable for Japanese to have a "Christian" style wedding (even though they weren't Christian), and many times they would also have a Buddhist or Shinto ceremony. So I don't know if becoming a Christian also has some type of "fad" appeal, or is a true conversion.


Most Japanese people want to get married in front of a Western-looking priest in a (hotel) chapel. It's pure fashion and they don't care that the priest is comlpetely fake or what he is saying. It's for the "romantic feeling" it gives, the "like-in-Hollywood-movies" mentality. Of course, these Japanese aren't and son't pretend to be Christian at all. They probably don't even know that Jesus died on a cross or who Abraham is, to give an idea of their knowledge about this religion. Let's say that Japanese women/girls associate the white wedding dress with a church (and the kimono with the shrine).

Just curious, are other religious groups visible in Japan (Buddhist, Muslims, etc) preaching, passing out literature, etc. in public?

Not really. Anyway Buddhism and Shinto don't make proselytism. Most Japanese consider themselves both Buddhist and Shinto or "religion-less", which is about the same for them, given that they know less about "their" religion than the average tourist to Japan having read their guidebook in the plane. I was amazed that people living around a temple or shrine couldn't even tell if it was Buddhist or Shinto (it's very easy to tell, the shrine have a "torii" gate and other distinctive symbols, then it's in the name itself. See my article about temples and shrines for more info).

Muslims are very few and far between in Japan. I believethat most of them are non Japanese (Pakistani, Turkish, Indonesian, etc.). If there are Japanese muslims, they must have got married to foreigner who were Muslim themselves.

I sometimes think I am hearing the muezzin call to prayer, but that's the gyoza-vendor shouting "gyooozaaa, gyoooozaaaah... gyoozaaa, gyoooozaahh". It does sound very similar. :p
 

thomas

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Originally posted by Maciamo
Most Japanese people want to get married in front of a Western-looking priest in a (hotel) chapel. It's pure fashion and they don't care that the priest is comlpetely fake or what he is saying. It's for the "romantic feeling" it gives, the "like-in-Hollywood-movies" mentality. Of course, these Japanese aren't and son't pretend to be Christian at all. They probably don't even know that Jesus died on a cross or who Abraham is, to give an idea of their knowledge about this religion. Let's say that Japanese women/girls associate the white wedding dress with a church (and the kimono with the shrine).

I have an Austrian acquaintance living in Gunma. He makes a good living from acting as wedding pastor, lol.

Here's the latest feature of Captain Japan, right on topic.

Assembly Line Gospel: Japan's Foreign Wedding Pastors

=> http://www.bigempire.com/sake/wedding_pastor.html
 

Sekabin

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Originally posted by thomas
I have an Austrian acquaintance living in Gunma. He makes a good living from acting as wedding pastor, lol.

Here's the latest feature of Captain Japan, right on topic.

Assembly Line Gospel: Japan's Foreign Wedding Pastors

=> http://www.bigempire.com/sake/wedding_pastor.html

LOL that's funny. Maybe if I need extra money I can do Christian style weddings (joke!).
 

Sekabin

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Originally posted by Maciamo
The scary things with Japanese Christians is that they are mostly new converts and thus more fanatics than most Western Christian, who are Christian by tradition or just because of their family rather than by choice.

I think this is true of any converts to any religion - those new Evangelical converts I know in the UK are extremely fanatical! Japan seems to have its fair share of new religious movements, and an evangelical-style Christianity would fit in quite well into this sort of environment.

I think it's interesting now however, that there's the possibility of post-WW2 second-generation Christians. Many of the Japanese Christians I have met abroad have been like this, and are quite similar in their religious behaviour to the sort of moderate Christianity found in the UK.

I'd really be interested to find out about the link with education though - whether some sort of religious ethic fits in with a study/work ethic...
 

NANGI

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Konnichiwa Minasan!

I think it is very difficult to understand Japanese religious faith. Because Japanese religious faith is very different from foreigner's.
An instance, the Japanese celebrate a newborn baby's birthday in Shinto shrine, and hold a wedding in church, and hold a funeral in Buddhist temple. But most of all Japanese say "I don't believe in God" or "I have not religious faith".
Are the Japanese an unprincipled people? Atheist? Complete rationalist? All of them are NO! The Japanese has deeply religious and most of all Japanese believe in God. If the Japanese are an atheist, all Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples already die out. But there are a lot of Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples now.
Why dose Japanese say "I don't believe in God" or "I have not religious faith"? Because Japanese religious system is quite different from foreigner's, and most of all Japanese can not explain their own religious faith to foreigner. If you are a Christian, you can say "Please read the book, and you can understand Christianity". But Japanese have not any kind of book, and Japanese religious system is made from some religions and ideas. It is very complicated.
I can not explain the Japanese religious system in my poor English. But I can say about the relation between the Japanese and religion now. The Japanese think that religion is a tool. The Japanese keep Christmas, see the old year out in Buddhist temple and greet the New Year in Shinto shrine. But the Japanese use religious event for the purpose of enjoy. The aim is a enjoy event, and religion is a step to enjoy. Religious event has not religious tinged in Japan. And all Japanese can not understand why people make a war by reason of difference of religion. Because the Japanese think that religion is only a tool.
Of course I know why people make a war by reason of difference of religion. But most of all Japanese can not understand. But it is not caused by ignorance of the Japanese. It is caused by difference of thinking about religion.
I visit my family's grave in Buddhist temple, but I'm not a Buddhist. I greet the New Year in Shinto shrine, but I'm not a Shintoist. I have the book, but I'm not a Christian. I want to read the Koran, but I'm not a Muslim. I like the Hindu myths, I'm not a Hindu. I know Tao, the Greek, the Norse ,the Inca mythology and etc... but I have not specific religion. Who am I? I am a Japanese!:D

NANGI
 

berean_315

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Nangi,

Thanks for sharing your input!

ツ・ツクツ・ツァツ・テゥツ・テォツ・テ
 

Maciamo

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Originally posted by NANGI
Konnichiwa Minasan!

I think it is very difficult to understand Japanese religious faith. Because Japanese religious faith is very different from foreigner's.


That's a comparison I don't like to hear, because the word "foreigner" encompass to many, radically different people in the world. I personnally think it's a bad habit to compare "Japanese Vs rest of the world". Don't be offended Nangi, that works for 99,99% of the Japanese people anyway (even those having lived abroad). 窶堋オ窶堙・窶堋、窶堋ェ窶堙遺?堋「窶堙仰。:p


Are the Japanese an unprincipled people? Atheist? Complete rationalist? All of them are NO! The Japanese has deeply religious and most of all Japanese believe in God. If the Japanese are an atheist, all Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples already die out. But there are a lot of Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples now.

First of all, please don't mix up "unprincipled" and "atheist" for it is as different as "terrorist" and "Muslim" or "Japanese" and "kamikaze".

Japanese not atheist ? I would be bitterly disappointed if it were true. Fortunately, the hundred or so Japanese with whom I've talked about this seem to be atheist, don7t careabout religion or animist (believing in "kami", but that's more a sign of superstition than religiousness) . In this respect, Japanese are very similar to Chinese, who can be Taoist, Buddhist and Confucianist (not a religion, though) at the same time. That already contradict your first statement above ("Because Japanese religious faith is very different from foreigner's", but aren't Chinese foreigners to you ?)

Why dose Japanese say "I don't believe in God" or "I have not religious faith"? Because Japanese religious system is quite different from foreigner's, and most of all Japanese can not explain their own religious faith to foreigner. If you are a Christian, you can say "Please read the book, and you can understand Christianity". But Japanese have not any kind of book, and Japanese religious system is made from some religions and ideas. It is very complicated.

Why is it complicated ? Most Westerners nowadays (especially among the young) aren't exactly sure what they are or what to believe in. It's often embarassing for a European to say if they are really Christian or not, as most people don't attend church, never read the Bible and are even persuaded most of it is rubbish, but still feel a need to believe in some kind of God... when they are in difficulty. That's very similar to the Japanese throwing a coin at the temple before the exams or a job interview. But of course some people are really religious and others convinced atheist.

The Japanese think that religion is a tool. The Japanese keep Christmas, see the old year out in Buddhist temple and greet the New Year in Shinto shrine. But the Japanese use religious event for the purpose of enjoy. The aim is a enjoy event, and religion is a step to enjoy. Religious event has not religious tinged in Japan. And all Japanese can not understand why people make a war by reason of difference of religion. Because the Japanese think that religion is only a tool.
Of course I know why people make a war by reason of difference of religion. But most of all Japanese can not understand. But it is not caused by ignorance of the Japanese. It is caused by difference of thinking about religion.
I visit my family's grave in Buddhist temple, but I'm not a Buddhist. I greet the New Year in Shinto shrine, but I'm not a Shintoist. I have the book, but I'm not a Christian. I want to read the Koran, but I'm not a Muslim. I like the Hindu myths, I'm not a Hindu. I know Tao, the Greek, the Norse ,the Inca mythology and etc... but I have not specific religion. Who am I? I am a Japanese!

I am a convinced atheist (and the more I study about diffferent religion, the stronger I feel so), but in Japan, I often go to the Shinto shrine and Buddhist temples near my house just because I like it (I live in shitamachi, that helps :p ). I visit churches, mosques, Hindu or Buddhist temples every time I travel somewhere. I am interested in Greek, Norse or Inca mythology too. That may sound funny from an Atheist to visit religious places and even learn about each religion, but I am exactly like you or most Japanese people. That seems to confirm that Japanese are usually Atheists. Whereas religious people just believe in their religion and usually tend to reject others, Atheist justly see religion as a tool (to control people's mind, what they don't want). So Atheist can think more freely about each religion, get married in both a Shinto temple and a church, choose whether they'll be burnt or burried when they die, etc. But there is no need for them to believe in God, paradise, hell, reincarnation and all these things, neither do they have to follow one rigid set of rules inadapted to modern life style because they were made 5000 or 2000 years ago.
 

Mandylion

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Great discussion guys! All I know is that those Morman missionaries have got some divine being on their side. They ride bikes around all day in the middle of summer and never seem to sweat! If converting could do that for me, I would sign up in an instant.

Maciamo said everything I was going to say, so I will end with this; I think Japanese religion, like all others, is only difficult to understand if you look at it through closed eyes.
 

NANGI

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Konnichiwa Maciamo-san!

Japanese not atheist ? I would be bitterly disappointed if it were true. Fortunately, the hundred or so Japanese with whom I've talked about this seem to be atheist, don't care about religion or animist (believing in "kami", but that's more a sign of superstition than religiousness) . In this respect, Japanese are very similar to Chinese, who can be Taoist, Buddhist and Confucianist (not a religion, though) at the same time. That already contradict your first statement above ("Because Japanese religious faith is very different from foreigner's", but aren't Chinese foreigners to you ?).

You noticed a good point. You could not understand Japanese religious faith if you cling to monotheism. Yes, Chinese religious faith is very similar to Japanese. But it is a comparative analogy.
If you believe that you can classify the people in the world simply, an instance the European is a Christian, the Arabian is a Muslim, the Indian is a Hindu and etc, it is a serious mistake. Christianity has a lot of denominations and each denominations are different from various ways. And it is the same as other religions. Each religions has a lot of denominations, and each denominations are different from various ways. Of course religious faith is different from each religions, denominations, countries and people.
I said "Japanese religious faith is very different from foreigner's", because all people has own religious faith. I don't believe that Japanese religious faith is the same as Chinese one. The Japanese has own original religious faith and the other countries are the same. All people(foreigner) has own religious faith and it is different from Japanese.

Why is it complicated? Most Westerners nowadays (especially among the young) aren't exactly sure what they are or what to believe in. It's often embarassing for a European to say if they are really Christian or not, as most people don't attend church, never read the Bible and are even persuaded most of it is rubbish, but still feel a need to believe in some kind of God... when they are in difficulty. That's very similar to the Japanese throwing a coin at the temple before the exams or a job interview. But of course some people are really religious and others convinced atheist.

Why is it complicated? I ask you, have you ever thought hard about a religion? What is a religion? Why people cause a war by reason of difference in religion?
Attending church, reading the Bible, praying to God and almsgiving, all of them are a religious act, it is a right. But their are not a religion.
It is not a reason of war, the difference of the Sabbath Day, how to call a sacred edifice, what kind of sacred book is the best or one's taste for food.
The word "religion" means "the bonds between the God and man" in Latin. But the bonds between the God and man is not only a church and the Bible. It is a serious mistake that understanding religion by the doctrine and religious formality.

Religion and religious faith have a close relation. And religion has a great depth. It is the same depth as racial history. I can not talk about Japanese history easily.

Can you explain the difference of all Christian denominations easily? I think it is a very complicated problem.

Sorry, I don't talk about Japanese religious faith because I can not good explain in my poor English. But if you notice the truth of religion, you can find Japanese religious faith. Religion has a great depth.🙂

NANGI
 

Maciamo

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I really don't know why you think that I classify people simply based on their ethny, that I confuse religious acts and religion or any other thing you've said above.

I have thought a lot about the principle of religion and its influence on human societies. I still don't know why you could understand most of the world religion yourself, but refuse that I understand Japanese religious faith just because I am not Japanese. What's more you are not all the Japanese people and don't know more than me how 99,99% of Japanese people really feel about religion, because you haven't met them and discussed it with them.

I know European people who say they are Buddhist or even Shinto, or that these are the nearest religion to their way of thinking. I know some people who are sure they are Christian but behave in a completely un-Christian way. So what makes that someone belong to a religion or not ? There is no test to become Christian, Shinto or Buddhist. If you feel you something, then maybe you are, even if you don't really understand that religion. Most Japanese people I've met have very little knowledge of either shinto or buddhism, and often can't even make the difference. That's why I consider them as atheist, even if they would sometimes say they are not.
It's impossible to become Hindu if we weren't born of Hindu parents, even being Indian, born and raised in India with Hindu friends and acting like them. Is it the same with Japanese belief system, completely closed to outsiders ? (it's not a real question, since I kind of know what your answer is going to be)
 

kirei_na_me

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Really enjoying reading these posts, guys.

Maciamo, I completely agree with you that it seems most Japanese people can't really explain what Buddhism or Shinto is and the difference between the two. I have my own ideas about them being atheist and their religious practices, but I guess I will not say anything, because I don't make sense most of the time.

This does bring me to one question that I have yet to be answered. Why is it not normal to have a wedding in a temple?! I mean, I know shrines are used for weddings and temples for funerals as a rule, but why is it like this? Buddhism is not only good for death, right?! I have yet to find anyone--who's Japanese--that can answer this for me.
 

Squareboy

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Religion need not be a concern, if you are a major christian, do not go to japan, you will only feel left out, let everyone believe what they want to believe, I do not believe in wars over religion because dosen't that defeat the whole point? Japan is Just like Amarica and Europe, you can believe whatever you want as long as it does not lead to violence, I am English and was baptised Catholic, but I would never follow it, a religion that tells me all my friends are going to go to hell because they are buddist makes me mad beyond my witts.
 

NANGI

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Konnichiwa Maciamo-san! Kirei_na_me-san!

I really don't know why you think that I classify people simply based on their ethny, that I confuse religious acts and religion or any other thing you've said above.

Don't misread, Maciamo-san. I never said that you classify people simply, the Japanese is special and I understand most of the world religion. And there are unimportant details.
to return to our subject.;)

Japanese not atheist? I would be bitterly disappointed if it were true. Fortunately, the hundred or so Japanese with whom I've talked about this seem to be atheist, don't careabout religion or animist (believing in "kami", but that's more a sign of superstition than religiousness).

What do you think about the Japanese and religion? Is the Japanese an atheist? Well, the Japanese seem to an atheist. And I had thought that the Japanese is an atheist in the past.
Because the Japanese is not interested in religion. And most of all Japanese can not say their religion or religious faith.

But what is a religion? and what is an atheist?
Is atheist a realist? Science adorer? Anti religion man? The Japanese is not a realist, science adorer and anti religion man.
What is a religion? Buddhism? Shinto? Christianity? Of course there are a religion but are only classification of religions. And classification of religions is useless to know Japanese religion. Because Japanese religion can not class with any other existing religions.

If you(or someone) ask a Japanese "What is your religion? Buddhism? or Shinto?", I think a lot of Japanese reply "I have not a religion" or something so. Because Japanese religion can not class with any other existing religions, and the Japanese can not reply to you want. What is more, they can not explain their religion to the others.
But it dose not means an atheist that the Japanese can not reply their religion.

It's impossible to become Hindu if we weren't born of Hindu parents, even being Indian, born and raised in India with Hindu friends and acting like them. Is it the same with Japanese belief system, completely closed to outsiders ? (it's not a real question, since I kind of know what your answer is going to be)

Yes, you are right! Hindu(believer in Hindu) don't become a Hindu by study. Hindu grow up into a Hindu in Hindu living environment, Hindu parents, Hindu friends, Hindu teacher, Hindu society, Hindu custom, Hindu common sense and etc...
It is the same as Japanese. The Japanese has own original religion from ancient times. And Japanese grow up into a Japanese in Japanese living environment. Japanes don't become a Japanese(believer in Japanese original religion) by study. Japanese grow up into a Japanese.
Hindu has the name "Hindu" to their religion. And they can say "I am a Hindu". But Japanese has not the name to their original religion. And the Japanese can not say their religion.
Can you say "the Japanese is an atheist" by reason of the Japanese can not explain their religion?

We associate religion with believing in God. It is not a mistake but is not a all.
In ancient of prehistoric times, ancient people were full of fears and hopes for Nature. Because Nature bring about the disasters and blessings. Ancient people want to know Nature, and they created(or sensed) gods, spirits or something like that. They want to know the world, and they created a myth. They want to control Nature, and they created a ceremony. This is the beginning of religion. And it is not only a religion but also a science, custom, morality, common sense, thought and etc. All of them had closely integrated with religion and ancient people's life. And we call it "culture" now.
All people, nations, races had their own original culture(religion). And their culture is still in their deep mind and society, even the Japanese.

Now, we think that religion is a "religion". And we associate religion with believing in God. But it is a part of religion. Religion related to people's life deeply from ancient of prehistoric times. And it is the same even now.
If you want to understand one's religion, you must understand one's culture. Because it is impossible to divide religion from culture(of course "culture" include language, history, law, thought and all national things).

I said "I can not explain the Japanese religious system", because "it is very complicated". Can you explain Japanese culture easily? It is very difficult and complicated with me to explain Japanese custom, morality, common sense, thought, religion, history, law and etc.
You can know easily what kind of religion people believe. But you can not understand religion easily.

All people, nations, races have their own original culture(religion). And all of them are different with each other. There is not the same culture with Japan in the world.

I recommend a folklore to you if you want to know Japanese religion(and religious faith). You can not understand Japanese religion without Japanese folklore. Of course you should learn Japanese culture too.

Maciamo, I completely agree with you that it seems most Japanese people can't really explain what Buddhism or Shinto is and the difference between the two.

Why do you divide Buddhism and Shinto? Of course Buddhism and Shinto are difference religion. But both religions are unity religion to the Japanese and the Japanese can not divide Buddhism and Shinto from Japanese life. Buddhism and Shinto have very close relationship in Japan. And it is not only Buddhism and Shinto, a lot of religions and thoughts have close relationship to the Japanese.

Why is it not normal to have a wedding in a temple?!

At first, there was not Shinto's wedding ceremony in old times. Shinto's wedding ceremony was mimicry of Western wedding ceremony and was made in the Meiji era. Now, wedding ceremony is common custom in Japan and most of all Japanese believe that Shinto's wedding ceremony is Japanese original culture. But it is not right. The Japanese assimilate every culture.
And why is it not normal to have a wedding in a temple? Do you know that there is not a god in Buddhism. Shinto's wedding ceremony was mimicry of Western wedding ceremony but there is not a god in Buddhism. And I think that you can understand why Shinto wedding but not Buddhism if you learn Shinto myth.

I mean, I know shrines are used for weddings and temples for funerals as a rule, but why is it like this? Buddhism is not only good for death, right?!

The Japanese had has original funeral in old times. But Buddhist priest accepted Japanese original funeral to Buddhism for the sake of spreading Buddhism. Originally, the Japanese had has original marriage and funeral in old times and they were not related to Shinto and Buddhism.

You can know Japanese marriage and funeral more minutely if you learn Japanese folklore.

Most of all Japanese don't know this truth. But it is not important to the Japanese because Japanese culture evolve every year. The Japanese don't persist in old things and the Japanese accept every good things, even the other culture.

Now, distinction of Shinto and Buddhism is not make sense. Because Shinto and Buddhism are one(united) culture to the Japanese. And if go back to the past, both of present Shinto and Buddhism are not Japanese original culture.

I say again, I can not explain the Japanese religious system because it is very complicated. If you want to know Japanese religion(and Japanese religious system), please learn not only Shinto and Buddhism but also Japanese folklore.

Learning religion, folklore, custom, language, history and all things are fun!

NANGI
 
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kirei_na_me

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Thank you, NANGI, for your response. I get that since Buddhism doesn't have a god(yes, I knew that), and since the Japanese were trying to follow Western wedding practices, that it was better to start having a Shinto wedding ceremony where you could "swear to god" just as the Westerners also swore to their god. Thanks to you, I am now somewhat satisfied as far as that subject goes.

I was told that one of the reasons for not having a wedding in a temple was also because they didn't want to mix the happy(wedding) with the sad(death). You know, just like scissors at a wedding is bad luck, or the number 4 is bad luck. Which brings me to a comment you made in your post:

The Japanese don't persist in old things

I think that the Japanese do, in fact, persist in old things. I think on the surface, the Japanese are moving right along in many ways. They give an outside appearance that they are a very ultra-modern society, but in actuality and deep down, they are still clinging to very old and backward beliefs, such as the superstitions about scissors and the number 4 and many others. In fact, I was quite surprised that the Japanese have many superstitious beliefs. Long ago, I had the idea that since Japan was such a high-tech and seemingly modern and scientific society, that surely they would be realists and would've put any kind of superstitious beliefs behind them. I was hoping that the Japanese would be far superior than the US in this respect, but I wound up being kind of disillusioned. I now realize that a country as old as Japan with a history of a few thousand years, that things aren't going to change overnight.

Now, for another question. As I understand it from my other sources, something like the fertility shrines and other shrines such as that are not Shinto, right? Are these shrines symbols of the Japanese folklore that you are speaking of? The god of fertility, the god of the sun, the god of the water, etc., etc., which reminds me a lot of Native American religion/folklore?
 

Maciamo

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Superstittion is the basis of Shinto.

That surprises me that Japanese would swear in front of god in a shinto wedding, since they are millions of Shinto gods and the 2 most popular are Hachiman, god of war and ex-emperor, and Inari, goddess of rice. Is there a particular wedding god in shinto ? I don't think so as they also perform wedding ceremony at the Hachiman-gu near my house ("we swear by the god of war eternal love..." humm...).

What's more, Shinto wedding are extremely rare nowadays. I know at least 20 Japanese people who got married in Japan since I've been here and none had a shinto wedding. Half of them went to a Christian chapel without being Christian. The other half (including my wife and me) just had a ceremony/party in a hotel without shrine or chapel.
 

NANGI

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Konnichiwa Kirei_na_me-san!

I think that the Japanese do, in fact, persist in old things. I think on the surface, the Japanese are moving right along in many ways.

Yes, you are right! The Japanese don't persist in old(unimportant) things and the Japanese change in various ways. But it is only the surface.
The Japanese do persist in old(important) things in deep mind, an instance religion. The Japanese don't mind about Shinto wedding ceremony or Christ. Because it is unimportant.
Japanese culture change in various ways but the most important and deep point is invariable. The Japanese life seem to Western, but the Japanese is a Japanese.

Now, for another question. As I understand it from my other sources, something like the fertility shrines and other shrines such as that are not Shinto, right? Are these shrines symbols of the Japanese folklore that you are speaking of? The god of fertility, the god of the sun, the god of the water, etc., etc., which reminds me a lot of Native American religion/folklore?

Yes, you are right! Originally, the Japanese religion was a elemental worship(natural religion? believing in spirits? sorry, I don't know in English correctly) but not Shinto and Buddhism. And there is not gods as Shinto at first. (Native American religion is a elemental worship too.)
You can know the relationship between gods and spirits in Japan by Japanese folklore.

NANGI
 

NANGI

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Konnichiwa Maciamo-san

Is there a particular wedding god in shinto ? I don't think so as they also perform wedding ceremony at the Hachiman-gu near my house ("we swear by the god of war eternal love..." humm...).

There is a wedding gods in shinto, Izanagi and Izanami. Those two gods are very famous gods in Shinto.

Originally, Hachiman is not the god of war. But it is not important to wedding ceremony, the god of war or not. The wedding ceremony at the Hachiman-gu perform by the another reason.

What's more, Shinto wedding are extremely rare nowadays. I know at least 20 Japanese people who got married in Japan since I've been here and none had a shinto wedding. Half of them went to a Christian chapel without being Christian. The other half (including my wife and me) just had a ceremony/party in a hotel without shrine or chapel.

I agree with you that most of all Japanese hold a wedding ceremony in hotel or Christian chapel without being Christian. In fact, my sister hold a wedding ceremony in hotel that has Christian chapel without being Christian. Of course my sister is not Christian.
But it is unimportant to the Japanese, Shinto wedding ceremony or Christ. The Japanese don't mind formalities in wedding.

NANGI
 

Mandylion

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Greetings! As it has been bouncing around this board a bit, could someone explain to me the statement that there is no god in Buddhism? Without descending into a debate on semantics here, sure, there is no Judeo-Christian sense of god, though Dainichi and a few others come rrrreeeaaaallllllllyyyyyyy close, but many of the functions and roles westerners attribute to God can be found in bodhisattvas. Amida certainly fulfills a savior role (Jodo-shu and Jodo-shinshu), Kannon as well, and I would Shakyamuni, Daruma and others have achieved deity-status was well. Sure, we may be hard pressed to find doctrinal support for such claims in a few cases, but function application of Japanese religious belief (something else this thread is also focusing on) sees many personalities in Japanese Buddhism as being on par with any other Japanese conceptions of god. Also interesting is the ascension of text and words to deity levels (Nichiren-shu, Soka Gakkai) but that is for another day... As far as weddings go, getting married in a chapel can also be cheaper than at a shrine. Not dismissing personal choice, but economics also figures in from time to time.
 
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