History KS3 / GCSE: Buddhism and Shinto in Japan

This short film offers an introduction to Shinto, making reference to the centrality of women within Shinto beliefs.

Dr Amanda Foreman discusses how Shinto merged with Buddhism in Japan and makes particular reference to the centrality of women within Shinto beliefs.

Not only are women able to take practical roles within the rituals of the religion, but the chief deity within Shinto is female.

She contrasts this with beliefs about the role of women in China during the same period.

This short film is from the BBC Two series, The Ascent of Woman.

Teacher Notes

This short film could be used as a starter in a lesson on the impact of a religion having female deities on beliefs about women in society.

After watching the video the class could be split into groups. One group could carry out research into the impact of Shinto beliefs on the role of women in Japan, whilst the other groups could research the impact of the beliefs of other religions on the role of women in other societies.

The groups can feed back and their findings could then be used in a wider discussion on how religion does, or could promote gender equality.

Curriculum Notes

This short film is suitable for teaching history at KS3 and KS4/GCSE in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and Fourth Level and National 4 and 5 in Scotland.

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