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Origins of Shintoism and it's impact on pre-modern Japan - Research Paper Example

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Shintoism as a religion, worships spirits called "Kami" which may be anything out of the ordinary, may possess superior power or just anything that may be awe-inspiring. This definition of "kami" or spirits to be worshiped played a vast influence in the set of loyalties that the nation had at the time…
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Download file to see previous pages The followers of Shintoism are expected to follow four affirmations in their everyday lives and in their ways of thinking. These affirmations are to the family, cleanliness, nature worship and matsuri which pertains to fiests and festivals dedicated to the spirits "kami". Ancient Japan is well known for images of geishas, samurais and great battles better known as the Tokugawa period. However, Classical Japan, also known as the Heian era, is more peaceful in comparison. The capital of Japan moved to Heian-Kyo in 796, which translates to the “capital of peace and tranquility” which will later on be known as Kyoto. Emperors were strong during the early parts of this period and had a continuing relationship with China. (1) In 894, the communications between Japan and China ceased to non-existent and Chinese influence to the Japanese nation gravely declined. It is then that the nation truly developed its own culture and society. The Heian era is a period known for the manifestation of great arts and music like “gagaku” which is an imperial court music and poetry. Gagaku was a tradition introduced by China which was then performed during special occasions. (2) The great influence of Shintoism will be seen through the unsparing ritual feasts which have started to take place in temples and have been recorded in various diaries and novels. During this period, Buddhism is also known to spread rapidly among the 1”Insei: abdicated sovereigns in the politics of late Heian Japan”. GC Hurst. 1976. 2”Institution, ritual, and ideology: The twenty-two shrine-temple multiplexes of Heian Japan”. AG Grapard. 1988 people, although it coexisted with Shintoism rather than cause conflicts. With was the slow but sure development of Japan's own concepts of independence from the Chinese influence. The power of the emperor continued to decline over time which eventually, despite the existence of an Emperor during this era, the position was merely of a figurehead ruler without true power. The real power in this period lies with the Fujiwara clan, mostly due to the political haggling. Several problems have arisen during this period which brought about the eventual downfall and end of this era. (3) The effectiveness of the government declined and Taika reforms have failed. Taika reforms is a tax structure which gives heavy taxes to the farmers but none to the shrines and temples which were quite abundant. The income of the state as well as the public's welfare showed a very significant decrease. The dangers of the consequences of this state of the economy have brought on increasing public outrage. Landowners and nobles who have lost their powers alike have felt threatened enough to employ the services of protectors, giving rise to samurais, in order to protect themselves. Provincial governors have become, in general, corrupted and lazy. The welfare of the public was ignored and the aristocracy of the court became decadent and useless. Leading clans by this time were the Minamoto and the Taira families. By this time, even monasteries were maintaining their own military forces. One of the incidents that clearly elaborated this increasing power struggle occurred in 903. Tara-No-Masakado, who was the leader of the Kanto district decided to revolt against the government with his refusal to pay taxes. He established his own kingdom and threw out the nobles and kept the power to himself, although his claim to power to success was short-lived. Another bushi house ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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