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#785162 - 09/29/12 10:59 AM Religious Views in Japanese Society (w/ pix)
Tas - Japanese Culture Offline
BellaOnline Editor
Jellyfish

Registered: 06/13/12
Posts: 158
Loc: Japan
Hey folks,
Wassap? This week's been rather tiring, as I had a six-day work week due to the school sports festival held today. But at last it's over! And I get Monday off...

Quick quiz: What is the religion of the common Japanese person? Think about it, and check your answer in this week's article. I wonder how many of you will get it correct...?

Religious Views in Japanese Society


Edited by Tas - Japanese Culture (11/17/12 11:15 AM)
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Japanese Culture

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#785226 - 09/29/12 09:46 PM Re: Religious Views in Japanese Society [Re: Tas - Japanese Culture]
Lori-Dreams Offline
BellaOnline Editor
Chipmunk

Registered: 07/27/12
Posts: 1963
So, is it safe to say that modern Japanese people no longer believe that the emperor is not a direct descendant of God?
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#785256 - 09/30/12 01:28 AM Re: Religious Views in Japanese Society [Re: Lori-Dreams]
Tas - Japanese Culture Offline
BellaOnline Editor
Jellyfish

Registered: 06/13/12
Posts: 158
Loc: Japan
Yes.

The Japanese people I've spoken to don't give a hoot about the emperor. A high school student even told me in jest (or perhaps she was serious) that he's wasting taxpayer's money as he just sits around doing nothing all day. However, the belief about the Emperor's divine lineage has been around for so long that it's considered part of Japan's culture and tradition.

Also, there's a number of right wingers who either really believe in the Emperor's divine lineage, or who don't really believe it, but may use this as part of a political agenda.
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Japanese Culture

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#790916 - 11/03/12 05:03 PM Re: Religious Views in Japanese Society [Re: Tas - Japanese Culture]
Lori-Dreams Offline
BellaOnline Editor
Chipmunk

Registered: 07/27/12
Posts: 1963
Hmmm. Much like the British monarchy, the Japanese emperor may have outlived his usefulness to society, except for cultural heritage.
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#790922 - 11/03/12 05:21 PM Re: Religious Views in Japanese Society [Re: Lori-Dreams]
Francine - German Culture Offline
BellaOnline Editor
Chipmunk

Registered: 09/02/08
Posts: 1289
Loc: Germany/France

Don't know much about the Japanese royal family Lori, except to say I have Japanese friends who could not care less about them, apart from feeling sorry for the crown prince's wife, and horror at the behavior of the Emperor 'in charge' during WWII.

They are all incidentally, just to return to the topic, Shinto's who celebrate Christmas.

However the British royal family is another thing altogether.

The present Queen does have "hidden" influence, which she has been known to use, and she is incredibly popular not only in the UK but throughout Europe.

The Germans would adopt her in a flash if they could, and they certainly make a lot of the fact that there is some German blood in there even if it does go back well over a hundred years.

The same goes for her husband Prince Philip, and William and that rascal wayward Harry, her grandsons. Admired and popular, as people and for what they have achieved and continue to achieve.

Usefulness comes in many forms, and a present day King or Queen does not have to ride into battle or whatever to have a lasting effect that is way beyond that of a figure head.

Not only the British but the majority of Europeans will be very sad indeed when the British queen is no longer with us.

Whether or not one can say that for the Japanese Emperor have only my friends opinions, can't really judge for myself.



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Francine McKenna-Klein - German Culture Editor

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Avatar: HOHENZOLLERNBRUECKE Cologne, the CATHEDRAL and LUDWIG MUSEUM. Photo "Der Wolf im Wald" with Plantu's "European Dove of Peace 2012". Western Europe has enjoyed the longest period of peace in its history, and in 2012 the EU won the Nobel Prize for Peace.


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#790929 - 11/03/12 05:59 PM Re: Religious Views in Japanese Society [Re: Tas - Japanese Culture]
Lori-Dreams Offline
BellaOnline Editor
Chipmunk

Registered: 07/27/12
Posts: 1963
Ah, well. I spoke like an unenlightened American, and I apologize. From the American perspective, the role of the monarchy has changed so drastically, moving away from political leader to figurehead, that is seems like a tremendous unnecessary tax burden.

With that said, I see how different Europe is from America. By comparison, we are such a new nation that we lack deep and long-standing tradition and therefore the same level of respect for it.

In American tradition, there is almost a disdain for merit through nepotism which is how the monarchy is viewed. Although most of the richest in America gained their money through inheritance, there is greater respect for those who are believed to have earned their way from the bottom up. There are no blood blues over here. Why should one be considered better than the next because of his lineage? No one bloodline is any better than the next. They don't care who your father was; who are you and what did *you* do? Americans love a good underdog story!

Why place a crown upon the head of someone just because it was done for centuries? Why bow down to this person? We don't get it. Is it appreciation for the service and protection she provides? Is it respect for...?

Please don't consider my comments as a criticism of the monarchy from me. I'm just passing along the general sentiment from this side of the ocean! From the American viewpoint, there are a lot of antiquated practices in Europe that have outlived their usefulness.

The monarchy, however, still serves cultural purposes and definitely wields influence over the people. And the importance of such cannot be underestimated.

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#790934 - 11/03/12 06:52 PM Re: Religious Views in Japanese Society [Re: Lori-Dreams]
Francine - German Culture Offline
BellaOnline Editor
Chipmunk

Registered: 09/02/08
Posts: 1289
Loc: Germany/France

You weren't speaking like "an unenlightened American" at all Lori, you simply gave your opinion and there is nothing wrong in that. It was great "hearing" it.

There are members of the immediate British royal family who have no support at all in Europe, probably not in the UK either, the Queen's two youngest sons Andrew, famously married to Fergie who I think lives in the US now, and Edward, who couldn't hack even two weeks of army training before giving up but still wears a sackful of medals wherever possible. Both are complete wastes of space.

The British royal family cost 52 pence per tax payer per year, they are one of the most frugal of the royals. It is said that they bring in far more than that in "royal related" tourism.

And there are many "Royal Families" in Europe, and some are as you say simply figure heads. Or non royals who pretend, such as Monaco.

Far worse are the so called "aristocrats", most do nothing but live off their name. And as you probably know some go to the US to do it because of the social cache involved. It opens doors.

Do see your point about royals though, although perhaps more in the Arab countries where they have not only control of the country's money but also try to control minds etc. and also are not particularly bothered about their people's living conditions. There are a few enlightened Arab monarchies, but the emphasis is on a few.

Where the Japanese monarchy would fit in this I don't know, but assume it absolutely benign, and nothing like those of either the past or present Arab world or Europe.

I think we all love a good "underdog" story, and have more admiration for those who have "worked their way" no matter which country we live in, but America is just like everywhere else when you say "most of the richest in America will have gained their money through inheritance".

Both my sons went to International Schools where there were many from the US, and it was surprising how just how many of those whose father's were CEO's of American companies got into Harvard, Yale and Princeton with amazingly low, in fact seriously low, results. These were kids who had not bothered to study. Whereas others, also American who had studied, had higher scores and had contributed in community work over and above that required, did not win places.

Obviously there has to be a reason, and although no thinking person wants to believe or support it am afraid "merit through nepotism", either money or inherited birth line, is alive and well just about everywhere.

Monarchies or not, and it survived, even thrived, under communism.

But it is a brave new world out there and things are changing.





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Francine McKenna-Klein - German Culture Editor

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Avatar: HOHENZOLLERNBRUECKE Cologne, the CATHEDRAL and LUDWIG MUSEUM. Photo "Der Wolf im Wald" with Plantu's "European Dove of Peace 2012". Western Europe has enjoyed the longest period of peace in its history, and in 2012 the EU won the Nobel Prize for Peace.


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#790938 - 11/03/12 08:37 PM Re: Religious Views in Japanese Society [Re: Tas - Japanese Culture]
Francine - German Culture Offline
BellaOnline Editor
Chipmunk

Registered: 09/02/08
Posts: 1289
Loc: Germany/France

Your article was really interesting Tas.

Loved the idea that evolution is studied in a history class, where it does belong logically, instead of in a science class.

Although we all learned of evolution as being a fact both my sons and I studied it in science classes, and we are literally generations apart, so hopefully the Japanese idea of classification will catch on in other parts of the world, and soon.

And your statement:

This seemingly callous attitude towards religions might be frowned upon by devout followers of any religion, but in a world where, as history as shown time and again, religions are a major source of conflict, this might not be such a bad thing after all.

Is sadly true, and unfortunately not only in the past.

_________________________
Francine McKenna-Klein - German Culture Editor

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Avatar: HOHENZOLLERNBRUECKE Cologne, the CATHEDRAL and LUDWIG MUSEUM. Photo "Der Wolf im Wald" with Plantu's "European Dove of Peace 2012". Western Europe has enjoyed the longest period of peace in its history, and in 2012 the EU won the Nobel Prize for Peace.


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#791002 - 11/04/12 05:09 AM Re: Religious Views in Japanese Society [Re: Francine - German Culture]
Tas - Japanese Culture Offline
BellaOnline Editor
Jellyfish

Registered: 06/13/12
Posts: 158
Loc: Japan
Views on the Japanese emperor among the Japanese people took a sharp turn after WW2. They had never thought Japan would be defeated because it was a special nation, led by an emperor of divine status.

The emperor was retained in the aftermath of WW2 because he was still significant in manipulating public thought. In modern times, I think he is no longer useful, and is in fact a liability to the nation. Unfortunately, right wingers will never agree to kick him out.

On Emperor's Birthday and 3rd Jan every year, part of the palace grounds is open to the public. People can see the emperor and his family through a bulletproof glass wall at various times of the day, when he comes out and greets the people.

Thousands of people go there, waving Japanese flags, and there are some zealous ones who shout "Banzai" every now and then. I was there once. It was kinda disturbing, seeing how some people still revere the emperor to this extreme extent.

Still, a few thousand people is just a tiny fraction of the entire Japanese population. Most of the people who go there are right wingers, perhaps even planted by right-wing politicians, just for appearances.

None of the Japanese people I personally know have ever been to see the emperor, and they all looked either amused or nonchalant when I told them that I had.
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Ching Kin Min
Japanese Culture

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#791005 - 11/04/12 05:30 AM Re: Religious Views in Japanese Society [Re: Francine - German Culture]
Tas - Japanese Culture Offline
BellaOnline Editor
Jellyfish

Registered: 06/13/12
Posts: 158
Loc: Japan
Sad that evolution will never be taught in my country, coz we're a multi-religious society. When I was in primary school, I found out about dinosaurs and the Big Bang theory and stuff like that from books in the library.

Though hardcore devotees will wanna lynch me for this, I personally believe all religions are made up by humans for their own self-serving interests, and a divine being of any kind does not exist.
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Ching Kin Min
Japanese Culture

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#791010 - 11/04/12 05:47 AM Re: Religious Views in Japanese Society [Re: Tas - Japanese Culture]
Francine - German Culture Offline
BellaOnline Editor
Chipmunk

Registered: 09/02/08
Posts: 1289
Loc: Germany/France

I loved re-learning evolution through everything the boys were studying at the time. And of course they had far more advanced learning materials than were available when I was a kid, so it made everything come alive.

Checking their homework was both great fun and fascinating.

Interesting to read, if I understood it correctly, that the Japanese Emperor really does do so very little. Amazing in a modern country and for this day and age.

And think quite a few have beliefs along your lines as far as religion goes, even more so when wars and church scandals are factored in, so you are quite safe from lynching.

Over the last years there has been quite a crisis one way or another as far as religion goes in Germany, even though the current Pope is a German.

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Francine McKenna-Klein - German Culture Editor

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Avatar: HOHENZOLLERNBRUECKE Cologne, the CATHEDRAL and LUDWIG MUSEUM. Photo "Der Wolf im Wald" with Plantu's "European Dove of Peace 2012". Western Europe has enjoyed the longest period of peace in its history, and in 2012 the EU won the Nobel Prize for Peace.


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#791012 - 11/04/12 05:53 AM Re: Religious Views in Japanese Society [Re: Tas - Japanese Culture]
Lori-Dreams Offline
BellaOnline Editor
Chipmunk

Registered: 07/27/12
Posts: 1963
Ah, but Tas, we all are divine beings.
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#791015 - 11/04/12 06:10 AM Re: Religious Views in Japanese Society [Re: Francine - German Culture]
Tas - Japanese Culture Offline
BellaOnline Editor
Jellyfish

Registered: 06/13/12
Posts: 158
Loc: Japan
I'm not sure if the emperor actually does ANYTHING besides coming out and greeting the people twice a year. The media never reports about what he does.

News reports related to the royal family include documenting princess Aiko's first day at elementary school, rumors of her being bullied by classmates and such trivial matters. Recently, there had been debates among politicians on whether to allow females to succeed the throne, and to retain their royal status after marriage. This was when the emperor only had a daughter, but no sons. These debates were axed after the empress bore a baby son.

And that's it. No news on anything the emperor actually does or says, even in the aftermath of the 3/11 Great Kanto Earthquake last year.

Wars and conflicts would drop to a historic low if only all religions are eliminated from the face of the earth. Alas, this is not to be.
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Ching Kin Min
Japanese Culture

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#791016 - 11/04/12 07:06 AM Re: Religious Views in Japanese Society [Re: Lori-Dreams]
Tas - Japanese Culture Offline
BellaOnline Editor
Jellyfish

Registered: 06/13/12
Posts: 158
Loc: Japan
LOL
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Ching Kin Min
Japanese Culture

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#791018 - 11/04/12 07:55 AM Re: Religious Views in Japanese Society [Re: Tas - Japanese Culture]
Ninjahedgewych Offline
BellaOnline Editor
Chipmunk

Registered: 08/06/10
Posts: 1456
Loc: Portsmouth, England
I had a great time wandering around the temples and sacred spaces in Japan when I was there 1989-90, particularly the more remote ones. At one point I think I was mistaken for a Kappa or a Tengu by a group of local monks I met one snowy day on a remote mountain pass in the Japanese Alps. Some of my best memories smile
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"We can never obtain peace in the outer world until we make peace with ourselves."

"With realization of one's own potential and self-confidence in one's ability, one can build a better world. "

Dalai Lama

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#792266 - 11/11/12 09:34 AM Re: Religious Views in Japanese Society [Re: Ninjahedgewych]
Tas - Japanese Culture Offline
BellaOnline Editor
Jellyfish

Registered: 06/13/12
Posts: 158
Loc: Japan
Wow, what shrines and temples have you been to?
_________________________
Ching Kin Min
Japanese Culture

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#792267 - 11/11/12 09:48 AM Re: Religious Views in Japanese Society [Re: Tas - Japanese Culture]
Tas - Japanese Culture Offline
BellaOnline Editor
Jellyfish

Registered: 06/13/12
Posts: 158
Loc: Japan
Here're pix of the part of the imperial palace where the public can see the emperor and the empress. There are only 2 days in the entire year where the palace is open for such an occasion.
The 1st pic is before the emperor came out...


And this one is when he finally appeared... I couldn't get a clear shot at the emperor and empress.This is the full-sized pic, but you still can't see 'em clearly.
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Ching Kin Min
Japanese Culture

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#793103 - 11/17/12 08:15 AM Re: Religious Views in Japanese Society [Re: Tas - Japanese Culture]
Ninjahedgewych Offline
BellaOnline Editor
Chipmunk

Registered: 08/06/10
Posts: 1456
Loc: Portsmouth, England
I went to most of the main shrines in Tokyo, finding the temple to the 47 ronin particularly atmospheric and conducive to evocation and invocation. The "Ninja Temple" in Kanazawa (naturally smile ), That huge temple in Nara with the rather aggressive deer who were good for practising my timing and distance with. Also quite a few shrines/small temples out in the wilds of Ueno district,and what used to be the Iga and Koga regions.
_________________________
Ian - Pagan Editor

"We can never obtain peace in the outer world until we make peace with ourselves."

"With realization of one's own potential and self-confidence in one's ability, one can build a better world. "

Dalai Lama

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