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Japanese Religion and Culture

Japanese Culture

Japan has a wide variety of culture that has continued from the ancient ages up to now. In particular, the following points are unique to Japanese culture:

1.Railway punctuality

Trains are always punctual in Japan. Generally, it is considered important for Japanese to keep on punctuality. Japanese people have been told not to waste the time from their childhood. They focus on the issue of punctuality until it becomes a culture of everyday life.

For example, they have been told to come to the meeting place five minutes earlier than the meeting time.

2.Take off shoes before entering home

According to Japanese culture, people take off their shoes before they enter the houses. It is said that Japanese people have a custom of taking off their shoes because they like to keep their rooms clean, especially, in the rainy season.

3.Japanese Kimono

Kimono is well known as an element of the Japanese culture, but most Japanese people don’t wear kimono, because it takes a longer time and more effort to wear kimono than Western clothing. It has gradually become common to them to wear Western clothing. However, they sometime wear it on special occasions such as wedding ceremony or festival.

4.Manga

Manga are one of Japanese culture, because there are many kinds of manga published for various generations. In these days, Japanese manga are read throughout the world.

5.Sashimi

Sashimi is raw fish served without being cooked. It is one of Japanese culture dish styles. The fresh ingredients are served without being cooked so that their flavors can be enjoyed. In these days, tuna sashimi is enjoyed not only in Japan but also all over the world.

6.Sushi

Sushi is one of Japanese dishes currently loved and eaten by many people throughout the world. “Shari” of sashimi is the rice seasoned with vinegar. Originally, vinegar was used for cooking to prevent food from deteriorating and such dish has been developed into current sushi.

7.Chopsticks Culture

The Japanese people use chopsticks to eat. Chopsticks are said to have been introduced from China. Nowadays, it is one of Japanese culture. At home, chopsticks are used to eat with Japanese-style dishes and sometimes to eat with Western-style dishes.

8.Mount Fuji

Mount Fuji is a world-famous mountain and considered as a symbol of Japan. This is one of Japanese culture because it is the highest mountain in Japan and its appearance is unique and very beautiful. Mount Fuji was registered as a World Heritage site in 2013.

9.Japanese Bow

Japanese bow is one of Japanese culture for greetings. The Japanese frequently bow because they have been told to show respect to others from their childhood. For example, bowing is a part of actions of Japanese martial arts such as  karate or kendo.

As described above, there are many unique aspects in Japanese culture which are changing with time.

Difference of religion faiths in Japan

Japanese people celebrate Christmas, listen to New Year’s Bell, and visit shrines on the first day of a year. Their religion faiths are frequently questioned by people in other countries. Their religion view has changed with time and, at present, the “freedom of religion” is assured. Japanese people have accepted various cultures, religions and traditions so that they are often considered to be non-religious.

Is it true that most of Japanese people do not have any religion?

When asked about “religion,” many Japanese people would answer that they are “non-religions.” Although there are many shrines and temples in Japan, not many people believe in a specific religion.

Japanese people visit shrines at the beginning of a new year, celebrate Christmas (the birthday of Jesus Christ) in a large-scale and hold funerals according to Buddhist rites… To non-Japanese people, they may seem to unscrupulously follow various religions.

Why do not the Japanese have a specific religion?

First, to be “non-religious” means  the thought and stance of having no specific religious belief or no religion. It is said that the Japanese take this stance because they unconsciously practice religious rituals.

They calmly live their daily lives, and treasure connection with others, and try to get along with nature as same as  they followed a religious doctrine. The Japanese have been practicing the way of living from ancient times.

Furthermore, since people in Japan were given “freedom of belief,” the number of “non-religious” people has been increasing, so that they can now accept any types of cultures.

Japanese Religion

Japan is a mysterious country. With respect to Japanese religion, there are 105 million Shinto and 95 million Buddhists. However, if there are questions about their religion. More than half of them will answer that they are “non-religious”

* The Japanese population is about 120 million.

Nowadays, Japanese people decorate Christmas trees in the Christmas season, visit shrines in the new year season and hold wedding ceremony at the church, and when they have passed away, Buddhist monks take funeral procedures, not Shinto priests.

These are commonly accepted in Japan as the typical Japanese way of living.

The following are descriptions of “Shinto” and “Buddhism.” It is said that there are many believers of these religions in Japan.

What is Shinto?

Shinto is one of main religions in Japan, which have been developed based on the Japanese culture.

Shinto was generated from the ancient Japanese custom of worship of nature. It is a unique faith that distinguishes from other religions that can accept nature as a whole without worship, scripture, creator, or any other religious believer.

What is Buddhism?

Buddhism is said to be the third largest religion following Islam and Christianity. It is said that it was founded by Buddha in  BC 500 and introduced in Japan in Asuka Period around AD 600.

Buddhism is “teachings of Buddha,”  the doctrine of which says that “The life of man is painful, it lasts forever as long as it is alive. To escape from that suffering, you have to leave worldly desires.” This means Buddhism is a religion that pursues complete freedom from desires.

As described above, there are many “non-religious” Japanese in Japan. For more information visit here: http://si-ta.com/en/irreligion