We know that religion plays an important role in the everyday life that is very important for every country. The average person in Japan follows the religious rituals at ceremonies like birth, weeding, and funerals. There are several major components, that can make the Japanese religious tradition. These components are Shinto, Japan’s earliest religion, Buddhism, and Confucianism. Christianity is a minor movement in Japan. For this reason, the so-called “new religions” that arose in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries are a prominent feature of Japanese religious life today. Shinto and Buddhism are Japan’s two major religions for many years. Shinto is old Japanese culture, while Buddhism was imported from the mainland in the 6th century. There are many Japanese who consider themselves Buddhist, Shintoism, or both.
Survey of Japanese Religion
If you visit a shrine or temple on New Year, you will see participants at local festivals, who have a religious background. According to a poll on religions in Japan in 2018, 37% of respondents follow some form of religion. 33% of people are Buddhism, and 4% are Shinto. There are 61% of people don’t believe in any religion. According to the recent survey of Religion Yearbook by the Agency for Cultural Affairs in Japan, there are believers in each religion was 87,924,097 (48.5%) for Shinto, 83,971,139 (46.3%) for Buddhism, 1,909,858 (1.0%) for Christianity, and 7,403,570 (4.0%) for other various religions.
As statistical surveys are conducted on a declarative basis, religious organizations tend to report a larger number of followers for their won organizations. On the other hand, Christianity and Islam make a clear distinction between believers and non-believers. They attend services regularly and are not treated as believers until they undergo an initiation ceremony.
Shinto began to take form in Japan’s pre-historic period before the sixth century C.E. In this early phase. It was the religion of a pre-literate society that was organized around the central social unit of the clan. No Shinto shrines have been found since the sixth and early seventh centuries CE, so the number of people of this religion is very small. So, the Japanese began to build shrines that housed symbolic representations of the kami and that provided a site for rituals. From 1937 to 1945, Japanese government leaders used Shinto to legitimate Japan’s War. This religion was linked to nature, agriculture, and local communities.
In Buddhism, some followers of other religions or who declare no religious affiliation that is counted as parishioners of the temple. Some of them visit shrines and temples for the first time and are said to be included in the number of believers in some cases. In Japanese society, an individual’s religious affiliation is generally not considered very important. On the other hand, individuals are not very conscious of their own religious beliefs. For this reason, there are protests against the survey methods described above.
It is a form of syncretism that is lasted for a long time in Japan. After the Meiji Restoration, Shintoism and Buddhism were separated. Then the distinction between Shintoism and Buddhism remained ambiguous. There are many households, that enshrine a kamidana and have a Buddhist altar. On the other hand, there are many households, that are both parishioners of a Buddhist temple and clergymen of a Shinto shrine. For this reason, the total number of Shiniest Buddhists is said to exceed 200 million.
In the last step, we can say that the Japanese religions are quite unique. While Japanese people regularly practice some kind of religious rituals whether it be funeral, wedding or visiting shrines to pray for luck, they are part of their daily lives and Japanese people do not even realize that they are related to religions. In fact many Japanese people think that they are not religious while they do all kinds of activities related to religions.