Some words about Japanese culture

Monday, September 18, 2006

About Shinto, Japanese domestic religion, part 3

What do Gods like?
Gods of Shinto love, first of all, the purity and don't like the dirtiness. So you need to wash your hand and mouth at Temizu-ya before you go to the main building in shrine. The deed comes from washing one's body in a river or the sea, and washing yourself means washing your "heart". They, in the contrary, don't like the blood because the blood has much to do with the death. So women working in shrine, Miko-san, is usually unmarried.

How does water play in Shinto?
Water plays a very important role in Shinto. Water, washing their body, takes away the wrong-doings from the sinners. In Shinto sinners are not accused. One reason is that yesterday is just yesterday, today is today and done is done. One expression in Japan, used when overlooking one's faults, is "letting the water carry the past away", meaning "forgetting the past and accepting one's apologies".

What is Shinto's teaching?
Shinto has neither holy scripture like the Bible and the Koran, nor teachings, commandment and excommunication. But it has a rule. It is to get on with each other and have no fight. This rule might be connected with the system in Japan. People in Japan mainly used to be very poor and cultivate crops, not hunt some animals, to live in those days. Without each other's corporation, they were able to live. This rule is still now alive, as the "Wa" mind, the sprit of harmony.

Most people, including me, think that they have no religion at all. But Shinto religion has much effect on their thoughts and deeds.


  • At 10/29/2007 9:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    shinto sounds wierd, i like Jesus more

  • At 10/31/2007 11:48 AM, Blogger Princess Haiku said…

    It sounds like a more ecological way to harmony with the world around.

  • At 1/15/2009 2:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    wua ha ha ha !

  • At 3/14/2009 1:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…


    Very interesting blog entry. Thanks for writing it. I just returned from Tokyo and when I was in Ginza, I saw a shop owner walk out to the front of his shop with a pan of water, scoop out some and splash it in front of the whole entrance, and also clap. Could you explain why?

  • At 3/14/2009 6:00 AM, Blogger macky said…

    Thank you for visiting my blog!

    The custom of scooping out and splashing water in front of the entrance is come from the Japanese tea ceremony, one of the essence of Japanese culture. In the tea ceremony, hosts splash water in front of the entrance to let guests know that hosts are ready to do the ceremony and that guests can enter whenever they want.

    So splashing water by shop owners are partly intended to let customers know they are ready to open their shops.

    I hope you enjoyed staying Tokyo!!

  • At 3/29/2011 1:54 PM, Blogger Asobime said…

    Thank you, Macky, for your explanation on this.

    Perhaps the clapping of hands is to dispel kami?

    Just a thought.

    Lady Nyo


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