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Shinto

Duration:
45 minutes
First broadcast:
Thursday 22 September 2011

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the Japanese belief system Shinto.

A religion without gods, scriptures or a founder, Shinto is perhaps better described as a system of belief. Central to it is the idea of kami, spirits or deities associated with places, people and things. Shinto shrines are some of the most prominent features of the landscape in Japan, where over 100 million people - most of the population - count themselves as adherents.

Since its emergence as a distinct religion many centuries ago, Shinto has happily coexisted with Buddhism and other religions; in fact, adherents often practise both simultaneously. Although it has changed considerably in the face of political upheaval and international conflict, it remains one of the most significant influences on Japanese culture.

With:

Martin Palmer
Director of the International Consultancy on Religion, Education, and Culture

Richard Bowring
Professor of Japanese Studies at the University of Cambridge

Lucia Dolce
Senior Lecturer in Japanese Religion and Japanese at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.

Producer: Thomas Morris.

  • FURTHER READING

    Reader, Ian, ‘Religion in Contemporary Japan’ (University of Hawaii Press)

    Reader, Ian, ‘Simple Guide to Shinto, The Religion of Japan’ (Global Books Ltd)

    Ono, Sokyo, and William Woodward, ‘Shinto the Kami Way’

    Hartz, Paula R., Joanne O’Brien, and Martin Palmer, ‘Shinto’

    McAlpine, Helen, and William McAlpine, ‘Tales from Japan’ (Oxford Myths and Legends)

    Davis, F. Hadland, ‘Myths and Legends of Japan’

    Blacker, Carmen, ‘The Catalpa Bow’

    Inoue Nobutaka et al, ‘Shinto: A Short History’ (Routledge Curzon, 2003)

    Breen, John, and Mark Teeuwen, ‘A New History of Shinto’ (2010)

    Nelson, John, ‘Enduring Entities: The Guise of Shinto in Contemporary Japan’ (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2000)

    Hardacre, Helen, ‘Shinto and the State, 1868-1988’ (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1989)

    Teeuwen, Mark, and Fabio Rambelli eds., ‘Buddhas and Kami in Japan’ (London: Routledge Curzon, 2003)

    ‘Tracing Shinto in the History of Kami worship’, special issue of ‘Japanese Journal of Religious Studies’, 29:3/4, (2002)

Broadcasts

Featured in...

  • Japan

    A collection of programmes and clips relating to Japan

  • Religion archive

    Discussion of religious movements and the theories and individuals behind them.

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