Encyclopedia of Shinto Kokugakuin University
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Basic Concepts

Concepts of Emperor and the State

The origins of Japan as a nation, the imperial system (tennō-sei ) and rice culture are inseparable and date back to the Yayoi period. The term tennō (emperor) first appears in the Chinese Tang Period classic Gaosong-ji , but was first used in Japanese texts to refer to the first Emperor...

Concepts of History (rekishikan)

How Shinto views the origins of this world, which includes human beings, and the changes that occur with the passage of time, is best evidenced in the myths contained in the Kojiki, and this view grounded Shinto beliefs through history.The beginning of time       These myths beg...

Concepts of Humanity (Ningenkan)

The word jinkan (ʹ֡means the world, and in Japanese, when read as ningen it is used to indicate a person. The term ningen indicates that a human being is a physical space inhabited by a spirit. The Kojiki and Nihon shoki (kikishinwa) mythology is almost mute on the topic of the birth of the fi...

Concepts of the Spirit (reikonkan)

The diversity of theories concerning the concept of spirit in Shinto makes it impossible to propose any single definition. From a Shintō perspective, there is no agreement on where people's spirits go after they die. These difficulties notwithstanding, if one agrees that the kami of Shinto are...


The concept (kan) of the universe (uchū) originated in Taoism and the philosophy of Laozi and Zhuangzi. and is written with two graphs. The first character refers to the spatial dimension 'Heaven and Earth' and the 'Four Directions;' while the second character has the meaning of temporal dimen...


The term sekai-kan (worldview) is used with all kinds of meanings; here it will be defined as the unique ways in which specific ethnic or regional groups view their environment and their own position within it, in the context of the reciprocal relations they maintain with the transcendental beings ...

Shinto Edification

Contemporary Shintō may be roughly divided into Shrine Shintō, Sect Shintō (Kyōha Shintō), Shintō-affiliated new religions (Shintō-kei shin-shūkyō), and Folk Shintō; the following discussion will focus on edification (kyōka) in Shrine Shint!...

View of the other world (takaikan)

This term refers, in general, to the notion of a space that is different from this real world.It is difficult to clearly distinguish a Shinto view of the Other World from that held by Japanese religions at large. The world of everyday life is called 'present world', 'village', or 'on the earth.' ...

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