Shinto is an ancient Japanese religion which dates back to about 500BCE. Shinto entails a devotion to spiritual beings and powers (called kami), to shrines and to various rituals. Unlike most other religions, Shinto has no real founder, no written scriptures, no body of religious law, and only a very loosely organised priesthood.
The Shinto religion is able to provide meaning for its adherents' lives by providing a culture which is structured and peaceful to live by. Their strong belief in kami, and that after one's death, their spirit will turn into kami and remain on the earth gives their lives direction and gives a feeling of closure that their life will continue on after death.
The Japanese culture and Shinto are intertwined with one another, as Shinto was formed as the basis of the culture of Japan from the inception of the population. Shinto revolves around performing duties and rituals and visiting shrines in order to be able to communicate with kami (spirits or deities). Kami are not god or gods, they are rather spirits which are concerned with humans and will bestow wealth and prosperity among those who show a devotion and interest to them.
Shinto has no founder and its exact date of formation remains unknown. The first recorded evidence of Shinto dates to the Kojiki- Record of Ancient Matters (the foundation to written Shinto history)- 712 and Nihon Shoki- (Continuing Chronicals of Japan)- 720, although archaeological finds are dated significantly further back in history.
Some writers suggest that Shinto is actually not so much a religion as "the seamless cultural-religious historical backdrop " in front of which the various religious experiences of Japan are played out - "a backdrop which transforms and interprets those religious experiences and imposes on them a continuity that they would otherwise lack".
Many famous Japanese practices have origins rooted in Shinto. The Shinto ideal of harmony with nature underlies such typically...