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Because ritual rather than belief is at the heart of Shinto, Japanese people don't usually think of Shinto specifically as a religion
BBC - Religions - Shinto: Is Shinto a religion?
Constitution article 20 Despite the loss of official status Shinto still remains a very significant player in Japanese spirituality and everyday life.
which they seem to have regarded as either a government-run cult, or a religion that had been converted into a military and nationalist ideology.
which they se
seem to have regarded as either a government-run cult, or a religion that had been converted into a military and nationalist ideology.
certainly the orders issued by the occupying forces were very hostile to Shinto
One academic has written that the American Occupation Forces "undoubtedly wished to crush and destroy Shinto"
Shinto was disestablished in 1946, when the Emperor lost his divine status as part of the Allied reformation of Japan.
Buddhist priests were stripped of their status, and new Shinto priests were often appointed to shrines with a tacit mission to purify them.
Shrines were cleaned of every trace of Buddhist imagery
One result of this reformation was that it was no longer acceptable for kami to be identified with Buddhist deities,
However, this financial aid was short-lived, and by the 1890s most Shinto shrines were once again supported by those who worshipped at them.
Shinto became the official state religion of Japan, and many shrines were supported by state funding.
but as the high priest of Shinto.
not only as ruler, but as the high priest of Shinto.
was brought to centre stage and used to validate the role of the Emperor
nd brought within the structure of the state administration
Shinto was reorganised, completely separated from Buddhism,
The 17th century was dominated by Buddhism - but a Buddhism heavily laden with Shinto - partly because an anti-Christian measure forced every Japanese person to register at a Buddhist temple and to pay for the privilege of being a Buddhist.
Religion became something of a hot potato when missionaries arrived in Japan during this period and started converting people from Shinto and Buddhism. Christianity was seen as a political threat and was ruthlessly stamped out.
Over the next few centuries the Buddhist influence in government grew steadily stronger,
Buddhism began to expand significantly, and was given a role in supporting the growing influence of central government.
Buddhist temples were built, and Buddhist ideas were explored.
Some Shinto shrines became Buddhist temples, existed within Buddhist temples, or had Buddhist priests in charge.
From then on Shinto faiths and traditions took on Buddhist elements, and later, Confucian ones.
Shintoisms were the only religions in Japan until the arrival of Buddhism in the 6th century CE.
From the 6th century CE the beliefs that are now known as Shinto were greatly altered by the addition of other ingredients.
These religions were highly localised, and not organised into a single faith.
Japanese developed rituals and stories which enabled them to make sense of their universe,
found in plants and animals, mountains and seas, storms and earthquakes, sand and all significant natural phenomena
In their case these were the Kami
Like many prehistoric people, the first inhabitants of Japan were probably animists; devoted to the spirits of nature.
During this period there was no formal Shinto religion, but many local cults that are nowadays grouped under the name Shinto.
BBC - Religions - Shinto: Shinto history